|By Carmelo Turdo|
As in previous years, Mount Vernon Outland Airport held an open house on Saturday prior to the race. The day's activities included the gathering of the AirVenture Cup Racers and Young Eagle flights. Another special part of the day was when AirVenture Cup Racer (Vintage Class) Dick Keyt flew local World War II veteran Everett Atkinson in his Ryan PT-22 trainer much like the one Atkinson soloed during his basic pilot training. Atkinson went on to be a fighter pilot instructor and later fly the B-17 and B-29 bombers during the war, later touring with the Commemorative Air Force of which he is a life member. His roots remain, though, in Jefferson County, IL where he was raised and worked in agriculture and construction trades. He can be regularly found at Mount Vernon Outland Airport and at the local historic village where he gives talks on his over ninety years of life experience in the area.
The Aero Experience salutes Everett Atkinson and those from The Greatest Generation. We also thank pilot Dick Keyt, also a former military pilot, and his crew for providing this flight opportunity. Here are some views of his flight on Saturday: