From Staff Reports
Corsicana Daily Sun
The Coyote Squadron is excited to share that the 2013 Annual Corsicana AirSho on May 11, will feature the historic Warbird, The Black. The Black is a Cessna 0-2 Skymaster flown by Karen Brinkley of Grand Prairie.
The plane’s history is fascinating. It was delivered to NKP, Thailand, in September of 1967 and flew as a Nail night bird until 1971. It was then transferred to Bien Hoa, SVN and flew day and night missions there until 1974. At that time, it was sent to Battle Creek, Mich., where it was flown until 1980. It went into storage from 1980 to 1996 when it was restored in Florida to the paint scheme it had in Thailand.
The 0-2 Skymaster’s pilot, Brinkley, is as special as the plane itself. Brinkley was brought up in a family that enabled her to be around flying and pilots all her life. Her dad was a 30 year Army Aviator who flew L-Birds in World War II and the Korean Conflict and Army fixed wing planes for many years thereafter. His career enabled Brinkley to grow up all over the world and be exposed to flying, many aircraft types, and wonderful pilots during that time.
While working in the investment field, she secured her pilot license. Not long after getting her license, her instructor encouraged her to start working toward becoming a Commemorative Air Force pilot. He also taught her to do her own maintenance. She then bought and restored the CAF YO-55 Lil Yellow Rose. When she finished the restoration, she was “blessed” by the staff at the CAF to fly the Lil Rose to many airshows in Texas and all the surrounding states for many years. In 2001 she bought the Black 0-2 from a friend and fellow CAF member.
Brinkley’s background in aviation seems to have provided the perfect foundation for the preservation of the history of The Black and the people who flew this aircraft. She got involved with the Forward Air Controller Association and has been in contact with all 19 men that flew her airplane. She participates in reunion activities for these groups.
“It is a labor of love and respect that I feel for them,” she said. They in turn are very appreciative of her efforts to insure that their history is told at the AirSho. She also has much support from the CAF and war bird community which allows her to bring the plane to shows in many parts of the country.
“This is my tribute to my dad to all those that serve this country in our military and especially the guys from the Vietnam Era,” Brinkley said.
Karen Brinkley and her Black 0-2 will be joined at the Corsicana AirSho on May 11 by Mark Howard from Edmond, Okla., flying a Fairchild PT-26, a World War II fighter from the Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addison, the T-6 from the Flight of the Phoenix Museum in Gilmer, and many more War birds. In addition there will be performing precision flight teams such as the Falcon Flight, a team of certified RV-6’s and the Texas V-Tails, a certified team of Bonanzas, and classic tail draggers and various modern civilian aircraft.
For more information about the acts and airplanes coming to the Corsicana AirSho please visit http://www.coyotesquadron.org/.