World War-II era plane flyover in Arkansas will salute COVID-19 frontline responders

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 9,813 views 

A team of pilots, including Steuart Walton, chairman of the Arkansas Economic Recovery Task Force, will embark on a one-day, 15-city flyover of the state Saturday (May 9) with a fleet of World War II-era aircraft to pay respect to those who died from COVID-19 and to show support for frontline heroes in healthcare and first responders.

The flyover tour, touted as the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Arkansas Flyover, will originate from Northwest Arkansas on Saturday starting at 7 a.m. at Thaden Field at Bentonville Municipal Airport. Additional details and the cities included in the flight path are expected to be announced Friday in Little Rock during Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s daily coronavirus press briefing.

The four-plane fleet will align into aerial formations above each city and will consist of a Goodyear F2G Super Corsair 1944 and three North American P-51 Mustangs.

The flyover is similar to the tribute organized by the U.S Navy’s Blue Angels, who are conducting a series of multi-city flyovers as part of its America Strong tour to salute doctors, nurses and other essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Hutchinson named Walton chairman of the Arkansas Economic Recovery Task Force on April 18. He is the co-founder of Runway Group, a Bentonville holding company that invests in real estate, hospitality and other businesses in Northwest Arkansas. He serves on the board of directors of Walmart, Flipkart, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Walton, a grandson of Walmart Inc. founders Sam and Helen Walton, is also the founder and chairman of Game Composites, a company that designs and builds small composite aircraft. Walton and a business partner, Philipp Steinbach, started the company in Great Britain in 2013. The company relocated to Bentonville’s municipal airport in 2016.