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Commemorative flight arrives in EcuadorCommemorative flight arrives in Ecuador

Commemorative flight arrives in Ecuador

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Ecuador III is met in Quito with a military honor guard.

A Pilatus PC-12 named Ecuador III touched down at 10:52 a.m., March 31, in Quito, Ecuador. That was right on schedule for AOPA member Ambassador Theodore Gildred Jr. and his crew, comprising his two sons and another AOPA member, Erik Lindbergh, grandson of Charles Lindbergh.

That landing was 75 years to the day from the date Gildred's father landed a Ryan B-5 Brougham in Quito on a goodwill flight inspired by Charles Lindbergh's transatlantic flight. (Ryan aircraft also built Lindbergh's plane, the Spirit of St. Louis.)

The current flight covered 4,200 miles and took seven days, as the ambassador and his team visited officials in major cities throughout Latin America to commemorate the original flight and rekindle the spirit of goodwill that served as its mission.

Gildred Jr. celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of his father's flight in 1981 by flying a Stinson Reliant from San Diego to Ecuador. He left the aircraft there with permission of its owner, the San Diego Aerospace Museum, where Gildred Jr. was a board member, to start a new aviation museum in Ecuador.

Gildred Jr.'s sons have pledged to repeat the flight in 2031 on the flight's 100th anniversary.

April 3, 2006

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