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Check Six – 1984: Leroy Perry’s Fini Flight

April 30, 2022

Leroy “Stringer” Perry completed his fini flight on April 30, 1997. Stringer flew F-102 Delta Daggers, F-4D Phantoms and F-15 Eagles with the 199th Fighter Squadron. As usual, there were many Hawaii Air National Guard members and retirees present for post-flight activities.

HIANG members and retirees in the photographs include: Walter Kaneakua, Jeffrey “Spreadmo” Weidner, James “Bat” Drake, Kenneth “Dusty” Sussell, Christopher “Frenchy” Faurot, Michael “Boss” Tice, Daniel “Stoney” Stone, Joseph “Primo Joe” Ah New, James “Gooch” Haruguchi.

Fini Flight – A pilot’s last flight in the aircraft before they leave a squadron, a wing, or retires.

“Fini” flights are the symbolic end of an aviator’s flying career. The final flight usually coincides with a retirement but sometimes the individual is moving to a non-flying position.  For the aviator, it is an emotional day shared with family, friends, and squadron mates.

It’s assumed that the tradition of fini flights came from the U.S. Army Air Force days of the World War II era.

They were designed to accompany milestones in the career of the entire aircrew, respected individuals of rank or repute, or a commander’s departure to another command or retirement.

The tradition was first officially noted in Vietnam, when the aircrew commemorated the completion of 100 missions. While the 100th safe last-landing was a reason to celebrate, it is now usually a separate flight altogether marking the final activity before departure.

The celebration has evolved and now includes champagne or similar, a toast and dowsing with water from a fire truck for the aircraft and aircrew. Usually, family or families of the departing aircrew or personnel also meet them on the hardstand and douse them with water.

From → History

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