Honoring veterans: Falcon War Birds prepare for Memorial Day flights

This Memorial Day weekend, a special group will be flying over eight different ceremonies throughout the valley, honoring fallen soldiers.

They're known as the Falcon War Birds.

Preps are underway at the Falcon Warbirds hanger at Falcon Field in Mesa. A small group of pilots are making adjustments before they take several important flights on Memorial Day.

"We do a tremendous amount of fly-by's, like Monday we will be flying past eight different cemeteries," said a Falcon War Birds member.

They group is comprised of retired military, civilian pilots, and their vintage war planes.

"We have a total of ten aircraft in here, a total of nine members," said a member of the group.

Cell phone video taken during a recent event posted on YouTube shows how powerful and emotional a fly-by is.

"It not only hits the pilots that are flying, because they know what is going on, it really hits the people on the ground," said Brigadier General Dick Stitch.

Retired Brigadier General Dick Stitch says the Falcon Warbirds started as a way for the group to keep a passion for flight alive, but now serves a much greater purpose in helping pay respects to fallen heroes and their families.

"They could request from the local Air Force Base normally and they could get a fly by of jets, that doesn't happen anymore because of money restraints, the military won't do it, so we have taken over that program and we do a lot of them," said Stitch.

The requests for fly-by's especially on Memorial Day have gotten bigger. The Falcon Warbirds are honored to answer the call of duty. 

The organizations only charge for fuel, and if families cannot afford it they pick up the cost themselves. They often hold pancake breakfasts to help raise some money.

For more information on the group visit: www.falconwarbirds.com
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