Indiana, PA - Indiana County

air tragedy

on April 18, 2009 12:00 AM

"Times New Roman" size="2">The aviation world suffered a tragic

loss April 5 when Bob Baranaskas, of Long Island, N.Y., died when

the World War II-era P-40 Warhawk he was piloting crashed in the

ocean off Long Island.

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"Times New Roman" size="2">His son, Chris, was flying as his

wingman in a P-51 Mustang, another WW II fighter.

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"Times New Roman" size="2">The father and son pilots thrilled

crowds with the two old planes at the Indiana County/Jimmy Stewart

Airport Festival in August 2007, and were scheduled for a return

visit at this summer’s festival on June 13 and 14.

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"Times New Roman" size="2">The historic planes are owned by the

nonprofit Warbirds Over Long Island.

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"Times New Roman" size="2">In an interview with the Gazette before

he flew to Indiana in 2007, the elder Baranaskas said his father

was a WW II fighter pilot who died when Bob was 11. Bob became a

pilot at 17, and Chris started flying at 18.

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"Times New Roman" size="2">“So, we’re third-generation World War II

fighter pilots,” he said.

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"Times New Roman" size="2">He also said pilots like himself who fly

the few remaining airworthy WW II aircraft typically have 2,000 to

3,000 hours of piloting experience.

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"Times New Roman" size="2">Todd Heming, manager of the Jimmy

Stewart Airport, said Thursday it is not known if Chris Baranaskas

will fly the surviving Mustang to Indiana in June without his

father.

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"Times New Roman">— Randy

Wells

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