Coming up, we travel to Normandy with the D-Day squadron to mark 75 years since the fateful day. Plus, if you wanna rent an extra, we’ll show you how. And the Young Aviators fly in is coming up. AOPA Live This Week begins in just a moment. (rock music) (light music) This is AOPA Live This Week with Tom Hanies and Melissa Rudinger. It’s been 75 years since the largest amphibious invasion in world history. This week, thousands travel to Normandy to remember D-Day. Our own Tom Haines and Warren Morningstar are there. Well, thanks Melissa. It has been quite a week. We started the week in Duxford, England Came across the English Channel yesterday on a DC-3 and here we are on Normandy. We’re actually on Sword Beach which was one of the beaches where he British came on shore 75 years ago. June 6th, 1944. It was about 7:30 in the morning when they came ashore here. They fought their way through mines that the Germans had put out in the water and on the beach. And within a few hours they brought some 21 tanks ashore. And all up and down the beach at the same time there was all sorts of activity as thousands and thousands of soldiers came on shore and parachuted from airplanes on that day. Of course, the American beaches are further up the beach from where we are. Utah and Omaha. And the American troops had a much harder time coming ashore than the other allied troops. They did. Omaha Beach was heavily defended and there were incredible casualties up there where now, overlooking the bluff, where that occurred, of course if the American cemetery which is a really remarkable place to be.
(somber trumpet playing) Which is where the ceremony was earlier today with President Trump and President Macron. Of course, the security was insane around that. So a lot of people who wanted to see that couldn’t get in to see it. Including us. Including us, right. But we are here in Normandy and everywhere you look there are reminders of D-Day. There are monuments almost every block. There are signs telling you about what happened on those days after June 6th. And it’s the invasion, the liberation, rather, is still very much in the minds of the French people. It is. It’s incredible. And the light poles are all over this whole region. They have pictures and the names of veterans from World War Two. We’ve seen American flags, British flags, Canadian flags and lots of flags from other allies who were involved particularly on D-Day. It is incredible to see the outpouring of friendship and welcome that the French have for those who helped liberate them. Beginning of the end of World War Two as they called D-Day back in 1944. And of course, all up and down the beach and through the rest of Normandy today there have been ceremonies, special honors for veterans. We saw school children coming up and thanking veterans. We did. And we saw many more memorial services in multiple languages going on as you say, almost on every block it felt like. In fact there’s a service going on for the British Royal Marines and the Merchant Marines just about 100 yards from us. Right.
(light music) It’s incredible to see. It is, indeed. (military trumpet music) We had a chance to talk with the grandson of one of those royal marines who came ashore during D-Day. It’s different. It’s humbling. I’ve been here before a couple of times just on various visits but I’ve never come on the actual anniversary of D-Day. And it’s humbling just looking around. So many people come from so many places. Of course, all around there have been reenactors. There have been reenactors. And that was one of the funnier things I think is saw here in what is otherwise sort of a somber and thoughtful kind of day. We saw some French citizens dressed up as Americans in American uniforms from the period. And driving around in a beautifully restored jeep. Okay? Okay, c’mon. But of course, there are also a lot of Americans and Brits and Australians and Canadians. All of the allied forces are represented today with people who come in honor and to commemorate what our fathers and grandfathers did 75 years ago. Right, right. Of course we started the day, or started yesterday on the other side of the Channel. And was interesting to see the preparations it took to get some 21 DC-3’s and C-47’s across the pond. And 300 and some paratroopers who were coming over and jumping in honor of those who came over on that day and jumped as well. We had a chance to talk to some of those paratroopers as they were signing and getting all the things prepared. An unusual group of people in today’s jumpers. It was unusual. We managed to discover in this room, this hanger, that had this 300 and some men in it, we found a half a dozen women who were parachutists. And we got to talk to them and hear what it was like for them. Well, it is a lot about overcoming things you didn’t think you could do. When I jumped for my refresher jump to come do this I had not jumped out of an airplane in 25 years. And yeah, there was a moment there and it took me right back to airborne school. And jumping out of airplane, I realized there’s really not much you can’t do if you don’t. You just have to face it. You just have to say, that’s something I wanna do and put yourself in that position and do it. A lot of people have asked me, the Army never did anything for me. And I tell ’em, what’d you ask it to do? I asked to go to airborne school and they said yes. And it led to an entire career. I’m still on inactive duty reserve. I have 30 years in the military and I’ve not stopped yet. Check your equipment. Check your equipment. The fact that at least one of those women was the jump master because we saw that team practicing before they got on board the airplane. Yes we did. And it was interesting to see them. All they have to go through is they’re in the airplane equipment checks and that sort of thing. And then all of those troopers were carrying the packs like they carried in World War Two. And those things are heavy. They were in period uniforms and they were all jumping with round chutes, which was a requirement to participate. So while they were more modern than the round chutes they used during the war, they still are not as maneuverable and steerable as the ones that the troops use today that are square or rectangular and rather maneuverable. So Tom, my wife and I came across, through the Channel, to be here when the dropped the troops. But you stayed in England and flew with the DC-3 across the Channel. What was that like? It was incredible. I gotta say. We came across with Miss Virginia. Which she’s owned by Dynamic Aviation down in Virginia. And beautiful airplane. Incredibly restored. In a US Air Force paint scheme. And so it was really interesting to be aboard that airplane. She wasn’t a D-Day veteran. But we did have several D-Day veterans in the fleet. We did. In fact, the most famous one would have to be That’s All Brother who led the invasion 75 years ago. And led the formation again today. Yes. We had a chance to fly on That’s All Brother and had a chance to then fly in formation with another veteran of D-Day. D-Day Doll. Right, we did. And that was incredible to get a chance to fly in That’s All Brother. Doug Rozendaal, from the Commemorative Air Force, which is the owner of the airplane, was piloting that day and it was interesting to hear his thoughts where he talked about flying alongside the rivets and all the parts of this airplane that were with it June 6th, 1944 when they made the original crossing 75 years ago. Pretty incredible. And sitting in that aircraft, looking at those hard seats, man, I was imaging those 17, 18, 19 year olds who were in that dark, drafty cabin crossing in the early morning hours, jumping into what was literally hell. Right. They didn’t know what they were in for. It was dark. But the pathfinders had been out ahead of them and were marking the jump zones. We of course, told you about one of the Pathfinders, David Hamilton, a couple of weeks ago on our show. Well, we ran into him again here. He was in England yesterday and he was drawing quite a crowd. He had folks come up wanting him to sign things and getting pictures taken. It was fun to see him there. He is one of the really amazing veterans. And there were some others too. There were at least three of that I know of that jumped again with the paratroopers. Of course, they did tandem jumps with the modern chutes. But even so, 97, 98 years old and jumping again? Yeah, pretty incredible. That’s quite a feat. And where I saw them land was in outside Sannerville which was called Drop Zone K. And that’s where they did the largest reenactment and I’m tellin’ you, we were standing there with a group of several thousand of our closest friends waiting for it to come. And then off in the distance you hear that distinctive rumble. And then we saw this formation of Dakotas come across. And then just one by one by one by one they came out of the aircraft. These chutes spread out across the sky. It was impressive. Right. I’m sure it was. I’m sorry to have missed that but I’ve gotta say, I had a great time, really thoughtful time, coming over on the DC-3 and one of the incredible things we saw was all the people stopped along the highways. Both in England and France the route had been published so people knew where to go. And all along the highways, cars were stopped. People were out of their cars gawking up at these sights of these 21 DC-3’s coming across the Channel. A sight and a sound that probably hasn’t been heard since the war. It was pretty incredible. And what we noticed here in Normandy as the Dakota’s flew along the beach, everyone stopped, went quiet, parents told their children to be quiet, and watched those aircraft with reverence. It was. They flew up and down the beach here several times today. The airspace was very locked down because of the dignitaries who were around, but they did manage to get authorization to fly a flight up the beach, over the cemetery, and make a couple of passes. And it was really remarkable to see and also see the response as you say, to crowds who saw it stopped and were very quiet and reverent. And I think one of the things that has struck me about being here is how welcoming and thankful the French people still are from that great sacrifice that our fathers and grandfathers made. Right. It’s my second trip here, last time I managed to go up to the American cemetery and the young woman who was the guide at the cemetery was French. And she was incredible. Just the way she was so welcoming and grateful for what it is that the Allies did to protect her town from the tyranny of the Nazis. It was pretty something to see. And of course the American cemetery there is not the only one. There are American cemeteries all across Normandy and the rest of France and they are all treated with great respect and great reverence. They really are. We were also in one earlier in the week in England. There’s a beautiful cemetery as well. The one here there are some 10,000 Americans buried in that cemetery. It’s on the cliffs overlooking Omaha beach. And there are another 15 hundred names on the wall there of missing, most say lost at sea, and many of them were from D-Day. Guys who got off the ships, in the landing craft, and never made it to shore. They either were gunned down before they got to shore or drowned and so again, it really gives you pause to think about what happened on the sand here as we look down the beach today and see families are out enjoying a beautiful day. Children playing on the beaches and that sort of thing. And it’s all because of the freedom that we have as a result of the sacrifices those guys made on this beach 75 years ago. And in fact, even on this beach, there are reminders, bulges in sand, of those folks who died coming to shore here. Yeah. It’s very moving to be here today and to witness all of that. And as we think back to it, and you think back to the words of Eisenhower and Roosevelt as they sent those troops on their way, we’re reminded that it was an Allied effort. It was all of these nations getting together to fight a great evil and put everything they had into it. And there’s a lesson for us today there, I think. I think there is. It was a great alliance. People working together and putting aside their differences to be able to accomplish a great goal. And if only we can keep that peace, and keep that same goal and create the same sort of alliances where nations can communicate well and be thoughtful with one another and be tolerant of other points of view. And of course, there’s so much more that we saw, that we did an we just couldn’t put all of that video in one show. So we’ll be showing folks some more through the weeks that come. And so from Normandy, I think we turn it back to you, Melissa. You can read more about the event in an upcoming edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine. Also, check out AOPA social media pages for some of the action behind the scenes. AOPA is yet again standing up for veterans. A bill to cap their flight training passed the US House on May 21st. AOPA and 13 industry groups cosigned a letter to House leadership strongly opposing House Bill 1947. In the past, a minority of flight schools exploited loop holes in the system to artificially increase the cost of flight training. The solution is to fix the loopholes and provide better oversight rather than artificial caps. Meanwhile, the majority of schools have not taken advantage of the system. The city of Santa Monica continues to destroy their national treasure. Destruction of pavement left over after the city cut the runway at Santa Monica Airport to 35 hundred feet is taking place this summer. The airport will close during each phase of the project. The city says it will begin June 16th. Make sure you check you NOTAM’s if you’re heading to SMO. The popular EFB app, ForeFlight, just keeps getting better. We talked to ForeFlight’s CEO Tyson Weihs about the latest feature. We can now, inside of ForeFlight, compute takeoff and landing distances and takeoff and landing speeds for hundreds of airplanes. And this has been an effort to provide pilots the ability to do all the important calculations they need very quickly and simply from their iPhone or their iPad. It’s a big step in providing pilots an easy way to do calculations that are sometimes overlooked. The performance calculations can also account for weather, wind, and runway condition. The app will also display a warning if there isn’t enough runway length. One word of caution. ForeFlight’s performance numbers are based on manufacturer data from test pilots, which tends to be optimistic. So beware the lack of any fudge factor in the calculations. The new feature is now available for ForeFlight’s performance plus and business performance subscribers. When we come back, meet the new boss at Cirrus and get a check out in an Extra a Livermore. The people of AOPA’s Legal Service Plan work to help protect your certificates. And they love to fly as much as you do. The AOPA Legal Service Plan is offered as part of our Pilot Protection Services. It’s a members only benefit provided to thousands of pilots like you. Welcome back. Cirrus aircraft has a new leader. Zean Nielsen is the new CEO. He takes over for company co-founder Dale Klapmeier. Nielsen has a background in luxury electronics and served as a senior marketing director for Tesla Motors. Dale Klapmeier announced late last year that he was seeking to transition from the role of executive to advisor. It’s the end of the road for us US Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida. After 15 years the show’s been cancelled. It was conceived as a way to highlight the, then new, light sport category. That segment failed to provide the success many had hoped and in recent years the expo had become more focused on youth events. And those will continue. The DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase remains a venue for LSA’s and other sport aviation. It will be held November 14th through the 16th. And speaking of youth events, the second annual Younger Aviator’s Fly-in is coming up at the Triple Tree Aerodome in South Carolina. It’s taking place June 21st through the 23rd. The weekend will be full of activities like camping, career presentations, a scavenger hunt, movies, and most importantly, spending time with other aviator’s around Triple Tree’s beautiful grass runway. To find out more and register, visit the Triple Tree website. And the same weekend as Young Aviator’s, but out on the west coast we’ll be hosting our fly-in to Livermore, California. The area boasts beautiful scenery and an abundance of VFR days. All of that desirable weather makes Livermore the ideal place for flight school unlike any other. AOPA Live’s Josh Cochran has the story about XL Aviation, where your dreams about flying aerobatics can come true. (light pop music) XL Aviation, Livermore California is all about teaching the exciting side of aviation in tail wheel aircraft. We train pilots how to be better pilots. We have Citabria, Super Decathlon Pitts, and Extras. So we both give training for tail wind endorsement as well as aerobatic training at all levels. Upset, onset recovery and we’re doing air combat. This training isn’t just about having fun. It’s about improving flying skills. Flying upside down, and doing hammerheads and all that kind of stuff in the air really teaches you stick in rudder skills that are critical for all pilots. so onset recovery training pilots how to, not only get out of bad situations but to avoid them is critical. It’s becoming important to insurance companies as well as just standard pilots. The training is done by experienced instructors. We have some of the best military CFI’s. Some of ’em have direct experience with F-18’s, ex marine pilots. We have an ex U2, lieutenant colonel from the Air Force. The culmination of XL’s aerobatic training is an aerial combat maneuver. Aerial combat maneuvering. All aerobatic maneuvers were derived through combat. What it really is, it’s a culmination of all your aerobatic skills. So when you’re in the air, fighting another plane. Your aerobatic skills become almost secondary. You’re trying to get behind the other plane. So now you’re actually using what aerobatics, and aerobatic competition, demonstrates but you’re using it for the very purpose that it was derived for and there’s no other experience like chasing another plane in the air. And we do that very safely with folks that have done this professionally for as many as 10-20 thousand hours. XL also gives pilots a chance to take what they have learned and fly solo in these incredible aircraft. We’re the only place in the world that both teaches all forms of aerobatics in this range of planes and allows solo flight. So we’re renting the aircraft to folks that are qualified and checked out. If you come to Livermore, look for XL Aircraft out on the ramp. They’ll be offering instruction during the fly in. Josh Cochran, AOPA Live. You can find out more about the fly-in to Livermore on our website. And that’s it for this week. Join us back again next time. Until then, if you’re watching on YouTube, give us a thumbs up and don’t forget to subscribe. (upbeat music) Purchasing your own aircraft is an exciting experience. AOPA finance simplifies the process. Saving you money with lower interest rates and hassle free loans so you get into your new aircraft sooner. AOPA finance. The right approach to buying an aircraft.