Howie Keefe's 90th Birthday Stearman Ride
Tailwheels Etc. Flight School was lucky enough to help aviation legend Howie Keefe celebrate his 90th birthday by taking him up in our 1940 Stearman Kaydet.
Howie's Stearman Ride
Jonathan Amundsen, the flight instructor who took Howie Keefe up in the vintage Stearman said, "Mr. Keefe handled the controls like he had flown just yesterday, rather than over 20 years ago."
Tailwheels Etc., a Lakeland, Florida based flight school, took the 90 year-old former race pilot up in their 1940 Stearman Kaydet, a WW2 vintage aircraft for a trip down memory lane.
The Stearman was one of the aircraft used, by the Military, to train new pilots.
Howie Keefe - The Legend
Howie Keefe started his flying career at age 20 as a student at Hamilton College in 1941, flying a Piper J-3 Cub while in the Civilian Pilot Training (CPT) program. After college he completed his instructor rating.
After the Navy gave him a pair of gold wings, he spent the next several years as a Navy flight instructor, at NAS Pensacola.
Howie Keefe developed a third alternative to Jeppesen and NOS charts...Howie Keefe's Air Chart Systems - a Topographic atlas of WAC charts, an atlas of IFR charts, and the Sky Prints charts.
In addition to his aviation charts, Keefe set some flying records.
After retiring from military service, Howie found a surplus North American P-51 Mustang (a World War II fighter plane) and highly modified it - then flew it to victory at the air races under the name "Miss America." The airplane became an icon within racing circles and today her home is at the Oklahoma Museum of Flying.
Over the next 12 years, Keefe raced "Miss America" in 21 pylon races and set a cross-country record of six hours and 21 minutes from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. in 1972. The trip included one refueling stop and averaged 412 miles per hour.
Howie Keefe holds the records for flight between Los Angeles and Washington, DC plus the greatest number of consecutive air races around pylons in the Platinum Years of Air Racing, during the 1970's.
Howie Keefe Continues To soar
In 2000, Keefe wrote the book titled, "Galloping On Wings with the P-51." (Mr. Keefe was kind enough to give us autographed copies of his book, while he was here for his Stearman ride.)
At the age of 89, not being able to stand retirement, Howie introduced TRI-NAV. These bound charts include the best elements of IFR, VFR and GPS charts, hence the "tri" name, and are broken into three sections for the U.S.-West, North and South.
We were honored to be able to help make Howie's birthday special and hope that he celebrates future birthdays with us!
Howie Keefe's Stearman Ride Photos courtesy of Ken White
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