Flying High at 101 in a P-51 Mustang

Recently, I had the pleasure of recording 101-year-old Sun City resident Al Blaschke as he was treated to a ride in a vintage 1940s P-51 Mustang piloted by Cowden Ward of Burnet, Texas.   Blaschke proves the saying “age is only a number.”   Last year, to celebrate his 100th birthday, Blaschke went skydiving with his good friend Betty Schleder, also of Sun City.  That’s Betty in some of these photos.   This time around, Blaschke and Ward left Georgetown Municipal Airport, flying over Dell Diamond for the opening game of the Round Rock Express baseball team.   During the flight, Ward did not one, but two barrel rolls!  Although the P-51 is capable of reaching over 400 miles per hour, Ward kept it down to no more than about 350mph.  That’s one swift bird.    The flight was funded by John Burkhardt of Austin, a member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.  During World War II, Blaschke tried to enlist three times, but was turned down because the country considered his work with Pratt and Whitney, which supplied aircraft materials for the United States, was a more important service.   Indeed, he is a member of the Greatest Generation.   “It was the most fantastic experience of my life,” he exclaimed after the flight.   Mr. Blaschke is one very cool fellow!

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