July 4 parade flyovers planned in Latrobe, Brentwood with WWII-era planes
An added level of excitement can be found in the skies above two area Fourth of July parades.
Weather permitting, David Kahley of Greensburg and fellow pilot Dr. James Koch of Virginia plan to fly in close formation above parades in Brentwood and Latrobe. Each will pilot a restored World War II-era T-6G plane.
According to Kahley, who flies his vintage single-engine plane out of Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Unity, the pair agreed to perform a 10 a.m. flyover of the 100-year-old Brentwood festivities at the start of the parade along Brownsville Road.
When Kahley learned from Gabe Monzo, airport authority executive director at the Unity airport, that neighboring Latrobe will be holding its 50th-annual Fourth of July parade this year, the pilots agreed to fly over that procession as well.
The Latrobe parade is set to begin at 10:30 a.m., moving north on Ligonier Street from Irving Avenue. According to Kahley, the pair should arrive overhead between then and 10:45 a.m. on their return trip to the Palmer airport.
“The airport is part of the community,” Kahley said. “I thought I’d support the local community, with Gabe’s suggestion to fly over the Latrobe parade. It seems fitting to add to the celebration.”
An aerobatic pilot, Kahley has been flying T-6 planes for about seven years and acquired his current aircraft three years ago.
“They made 18,000 of them,” he said, explaining the T-6 was a training plane inherited by the Air Force when it was created from the Army Air Corps. “There are about 300 that are still actively flying.”
In recent years, Kahley has taken part in commemorative flights over Arlington National Cemetery and Frederick, Md., and New York City’s Hudson River to mark the 75th anniversary of the Allied D-Day invasion of occupied France.
On Thursday, he’ll make his first flights over parades.
“We’re legally required to be 1,000 feet above the crowd,” he said. “It’s a safe distance, but people on the ground will definitely see us and hear us.”
To make their flight more visible, he and Koch will release smoke trails created by injecting paraffin into the exhaust system. “It burns and turns into a white smoke,” he said. “Depending on the angle of the sun, sometimes it will look light gray.”
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .