December 1, 2011 – Next Wednesday, December 7, marks the 70th anniversary of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor and a special flight will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada, to commemorate the date that lives on “in infamy.” The Texas Flying Legends Museum and brothers Kent and Warren Pietsch will fly two unique aircraft in reenactment flights scheduled for 7:48 a.m. and 9:48 a.m. local. The airplanes: a noteworthy Interstate Cadet and the world’s only flying Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero fighter.
As recounted by the Texas Flying Museum: “At 7:48 a.m. on December 7, 1941, 23-year-old flight instructor Cornelia Fort was giving a flight lesson to a student in a small, high-wing Interstate Cadet (N37266, serial number 109) when she almost collided with one of the Japanese Zero carrier-based planes on its way to attack the U.S. Pacific Fleet anchored in Pearl Harbor.
“Fort grabbed the stick and climbed steeply to avoid a mid-air collision, saving herself and her student. After one Zero took a shot at the unarmed Cadet, Fort descended quickly and landed at nearby John Rodgers civilian airport, where her plane was strafed on the runway.”
Air show pilot Kent Pietsch purchased the disassembled pieces of that very same Cadet several years ago and restored the aircraft to original condition. Next Wednesday’s special flight will take place at Jean Airport (OL7), Jean, Nevada, located on Interstate 15 just south of Las Vegas. It will take place at the precise time Fort saved her plane 70 years ago. Kent Pietsch will be at the controls and Dudley Fort Jr., Cornelia Fort’s nephew, on board. Warren will pilot the world’s only flying Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero fighter, owned by the Texas Flying Museum.
The commemorative flight is sponsored by the Texas Flying Legends Museum, Kent Pietsch, and the International Council of Air Shows, which holds its annual convention in Las Vegas beginning Sunday, December 4.
The world’s only flying Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero fighter
Cornelia Fort’s Interstate Cadet, N37266.