One of the shiniest—and maybe the prettiest—warbird on display at Sun ’n Fun 2021 is the TP-40 American Dream, the flagship of Warbird Adventures, a flight school in Kissimmee, Fla., that has long given pilots and enthusiasts a chance to take wing for a different sort of flying than most flight schools offer. Thom Richard will perform in the air show twice this week in the Warhawk, which is the product of a magnificent restoration that is a story unto itself.
Warbird Adventures, an operation that has been in Kissimmee for ages, plans to pull up the stakes this summer and move to South Carolina. Richard and company will trade their location at Kissimmee airport—a towered municipal field, for a grass airstrip near the small town of Ninety Six. The location will offer a more centralized location to reach air shows up and down the coast, and also will give the operation room to expand. “We’ll be growing and able to offer more, in an environment where we’ll have a little more freedom. Besides,” Richard said, gesturing to the V-12 powered taildragger, “these belong on grass.”
For the moment, Warbird Adventures does not offer instruction in the P-40 as they progress through a legal challenge over flight instruction in limited category aircraft. In the meantime, they do offer flight instruction in a Citabria, Super Decathlon and the AT-6, offering everything from basic tailwheel instruction through a full Texan checkout. Richard anticipates that in the future they will offer Warhawk training to pilots who are rated for single-engine land aircraft.
In the meantime, we’ll be on the flightline dreaming of looking down that long, shiny nose with the canopy rolled back, just like the rest of you.