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Mon, Nov 01, 2004

Red Baron Squadron Flying High

Now The Oldest Civilian Team In Air Show Aviation

The Red Baron Pizza Squadron celebrates its 25th year in 2004, making it the oldest civilian air show team in aviation. Speaking for his teammates, Jim Keller, Travis Aukes and Erick Nodland, Jeff Randall told a newspaper in Clayton County (GA) over the weekend, "Every day is fun on this job."

Flying carefully-restored Stearmans built in the 1930s and 1940s, Randall and his team have run into some people who are even more familiar with the history of the aircraft than they are.

"At a show a man came up to me and said, 'I trained in that airplane.' I said, 'Yeah, that's great, you know, I hear that all the time,'" Randall said. "But then he said no, I trained in that airplane with that tail number!"

Randall, 44, of Phoenix (AZ), began flying with the Red Barons almost 20 years ago. In fact, he says one of the original Red Baron members taught him to fly.

The team performed over the Atlanta Motor Speedway in advance of the big NASCAR race there this weekend. To honor the squadron's anniversary, Schwan Food Company -- makers of Red Baron Pizza -- repainted the number 41 car it sponsors on the NASCAR circuit. The car Ken Schrader drives is now red and black -- just like the Stearmans the Red Barons fly.



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