Flying For Fun

On the flight deck in a Boeing 767, Captain Jerry Tate began his aviation career as a purser for Piedmont Airlines, working in the cabin.

When Jerry’s not working with the band, he continues his pursuit of flying with Captain George Lancaster, retired Piedmont/USAir pilot, on George’s World War II era Douglas A-26 Invader, twin engine attack bomber. Based in Wilmington at ILM, it has carried hundreds of thrilled enthusiasts for high speed tours of the beaches, and entertained thousands at airshows across the area. 


“I’ve been flying co-pilot since he bought it. We went down to Texas and picked it up in June, 2000.

“I started flying back in 1950. Soloed in 1953, on my 16th birthday. I got a job with the airlines after working with another company, Western Electric. I went to the airlines in 1961. Went on as co-pilot in 1964, checked out as captain in 1969 and flew until I retired in 1993.

“I was with Piedmont, and then US Air. My first equipment was the Martin 404. Flying the 404 we had basically the same engines as this (the A-26), so we had a little knowledge as we started into this airplane. It was a fun airplane, all hand-flown, like this aircraft, no autopilot. It was a great airplane, easy to fly. This one’s harder. It’s a handful. It’s pretty straight forward landing, about 140 turning final and let it bleed off.”