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Stinson Reliant Celebrates 80th Birthday!

Stinson Reliant N69745 operated by Navy Wings celebrated her 80th birthday this week with a celebratory flypast in formation with the Charity’s Chipmunk.

“Built in 1943 by the Stinson Aircraft Company in Detroit, her first flight was in June of that year, 80 years ago almost exactly to the day!” said Chief Pilot Andy Davis.

The aircraft was one of 500 military Gull Wing versions of the Stinson Reliant that were transferred to the Royal Navy under Lend-Lease arrangements during WW2. The aircraft type was used extensively by the Fleet Air Arm between 1943 and 1946 for navigational training and as a communications aircraft for many second line units.

The aircraft is privately owned by Paul Kehoe CBE, longstanding Chief of Birmingham Airport and latterly Chief Executive of the Gulf Air Group. Paul and his wife, Lesley, joined the team at Navy Wings for the birthday celebrations.

Paul, who took to the controls for the formation flight said, “She flies better than she has ever done, and it’s all thanks to the incredible engineering team at Navy Wings. We are truly delighted that she is in such professional and capable hands. Navy Wings is a great organisation and Lesley and I are so happy that she is being looked after with such care and is giving so much pleasure to the air show enthusiasts and veterans.”

“The Stinson Reliant is a gem” said Navy Wings CEO Jock Alexander. “We love having N69745 in the collection. She is ideal as large tail wheel training aircraft and she has a real following when she flies on the air show circuit.”