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Pilots commemorating flight to EcuadorPilots commemorating flight to Ecuador

Pilots commemorating flight to Ecuador

Click for larger image
Ambassador Theodore Gildred (center) and
his sons Stephen (left) and Ted III are
recreating Theodore Gildred Sr.'s historic
1931 San Diego to Quito, Ecuador, flight.
Click for larger image
Erik Lindbergh, grandson of Charles Lindbergh, is aboard representing the Lindbergh Foundation. Charles Lindbergh's solo flight across the
Atlantic inspired Gildred Sr. to make his flight.

A flight that literally inspired generations 75 years ago is now being celebrated as AOPA member Theodore Gildred Jr., ambassador to Argentina during the Reagan administration, is recreating his father's 1931 flight from Lindbergh Field in San Diego to Ecuador. Inspired by Charles Lindbergh's flight to Paris, his father made the jaunt in a Ryan B-5 Brougham. Consequently, Lindbergh's grandson Erik Lindbergh, who flew the Atlantic himself, is aboard to represent the Lindbergh Foundation. They've already completed half of the trip, lifting off Monday from Mexico City bound for San Jose, Costa Rica. They're scheduled to arrive in Quito, Ecuador, March 31.

Gildred Jr., who will use his Pilatus PC-12, celebrated the fiftieth anniversary 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 will fly with their father and have pledged to repeat the flight in 2031 on the flight's 100th anniversary. Stops along the way include Mexico City; Guatemala City; Managua, Nicaragua; San Jose, Costa Rica; and Panama City.

March 27, 2006

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