Aero Club to Hear About ‘Grounded No More’

More than 520 veterans have received flights free of charge in Amazing Grace, the 1943 Fairchild PT-26 World War II trainer shown here. The flights are provided by Grounded No More, an organization founded by Tony Anger. (Photo courtesy of Grounded No More)

Gary Vacin

A unique organization that provides airplane rides free of charge for veterans will be the topic of a presentation at the Sun Lakes Aero Club gathering on Monday, Feb. 20. The event begins at 7 p.m. at the Sun Lakes Country Club Navajo Room and is open to the public.

The speaker will be Tony Anger, owner and founder of the non-profit known as Grounded No More. Based at Falcon Field in Mesa, the organization has taken more than 520 veterans for flights in Amazing Grace, a bright-yellow 1943 Fairchild PT-26 World War II trainer. The flights are free of charge, with support from donations.

The 500th rider was a 100-year-old veteran who served as an aircraft mechanic and gunner on a Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo bomber. So far, the organization has provided flights for 18 World War II veterans and four centenarians.

Anger said one thing he noticed about these veterans, especially the older ones, is they get up in that airplane and they’re slow getting in. But when they jump out, they’ve gone from 100 years old back to an 18-year-old.

The organization’s newest aircraft is a Cold War fighter/bomber trainer from Romania. This is used for a solemn mission to take Gold Star Families (up to three people at a time) for a scenic flight around the Superstition Mountains to give them a special memorial to their fallen hero.

Anger started his flying career with his dad doing an airshow act with the flying circus aerodrome in Virginia. After flying in airshows for 16 years, he flew for several airlines, retiring with American Airlines after 32 years.

He then founded Grounded No More, a Christian-oriented organization and fittingly dubbed his Fairchild aircraft Amazing Grace.

Anger’s presentation will be the second in a series of aviation-related topics given at the Aero Club’s monthly gatherings the third Monday of each month, November through April. The public is invited to all presentations.

For additional information on the organization, contact Cannon Hill at 509-539-7857 or Gary Vacin at 480-298-7017.