St. Landry pilots join salute to care workers, virus victims

Thursday, May 07, 2020

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Private pilots from across St. Landry Parish joined with those from across the state in flyovers to salute health care workers and coronavirus victims. 

On Friday, May 1, B-52 bomber pilots flew over medical centers in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, and in St. Landry the flyover was led by a World War II vintage T-6 Texan, an advanced trainer aircraft used by American and British pilots into the 1970s.

The Texan and three other private planes flew in formation over Opelousas General Hospital and then continued in formation to Eunice to fly over the Acadian Medical Center in the “St. Landry Salutes” event. 

The flyovers were “an opportunity for local pilots and aviation workers to honor our families and friends who have lost a loved one to coronavirus,” according to David Allen, manager of the parish airport.  The event was meant to honor “our doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, hospital workers, janitors, health care workers and all essential workers that have kept supply chains open and essential services running,” he said

planeAllen said that local pilots are “super-generous people” and responded quickly when he approached them with the idea.

“I was just thinking about all that is going on and wanted to do something to brighten things up a little bit,” he said.

Planes in the St. Landry event took off from Ahart Field, the St. Landry airport, and flew over Opelousas to the hospital before following U.S.Hwy.190 west to Eunice. Hospital and health care workers were able to view the planes from the hospital parking lots, “of course observing social distancing and other safe practices,” Allen said. 

Ryan Eliot, who led the planes in his T-6. Said he was “honored to be a part of St. Landry Salutes” and that he and the other pilots wanted to “show our hometown health care workers that the Louisiana aviation community is behind them’” 

Three things to know about this story:

  • Pilots flew over parish health care centers “to salute our health care workers and honor coronavirus victims.”
  • The flyover included several different types of aircraft, including a World War II vintage T-6 Texan.
  • Also on May 1, B-52 bomber pilots flew over medical centers in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

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