Legacy Flight

A Legacy of Sherman Smoot

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Inaugural Legacy Flight: A Tribute To Our Veterans

Sherman Smoot, a devoted member of the Estrella Warbirds Museum in Paso Robles and a pilot for the nonprofit Honor Flights, tragically passed away Sept 2, 2022. Just before his passing, Smoot, alongside the Gooney Birds, orchestrated a memorable “Legacy Flight,” taking 17 local veterans on a tour around San Luis Obispo County in Betsy’s Biscuit Bomber. This flight was a gesture of gratitude and respect for the veterans as they eagerly anticipated their official Honor Flight Tour to Washington, DC, later in the year. In tribute to Smoot’s legacy, his family has decided to uphold his memory by organizing the Sherman Smoot Legacy Flight annually on June 6th, the anniversary of D-Day.

Betsy's Biscuit Bomber Legacy Flight

Honoring Veterans

Through the Skies with the Legacy Flight

Legacy Flight Vets & Tail Section

Sherman Smoot, a veteran of the Vietnam War and a skilled Navy fighter pilot, airline pilot, and race pilot at the Reno Air Races, held a deep reverence for fellow veterans. He passionately paid tribute to their service by piloting historic aircraft like the renowned “Betsy’s Biscuit Bomber.” The image above captures veterans who flew with Sherman on his final flight. In his honor, Sherman’s Legacy Flight will endure each year on June 6th, commemorating his memory with a mini-flight over San Luis Obispo County.

betsy biscuit bomber

Stepping off Betsy’s Biscuit Bomber with a smile as wide as the sky, this jubilant veteran gives a resounding thumbs up, celebrating the unforgettable experience of his flight with fellow Veterans, including Pilot Sherman Smoot!

legacy flight and betsy's biscuit bomber

Stepping off Betsy’s Biscuit Bomber with a smile as wide as the sky, this jubilant veteran gives a resounding thumbs up, celebrating the unforgettable experience of his flight with fellow Veterans, including Pilot Sherman Smoot!

Welcome Back

This was the special “Welcome Home” as the Veterans and Betsy’s Biscuit Bomber landed. We stand united in reverence, honoring their legacy and safeguarding their spirit for generations to come. Land of the Free Because of the Brave.

Honoring Our Veterans

Honor Flight Vietnam War Memorial with Veterans present in forefront

Honor Flight

The Honor Flight Network is a non-profit that flies veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit memorials honoring their service. Volunteers accompany them on a three-day trip of reflection and gratitude.

Legacy Flight - Front View of Betsy's Biscuit Bomber C-47

Betsy’s Biscuit Bomber

Betsy’s Biscuit Bomber is a historic aircraft known for its role in World War II. It’s often used today for commemorative flights and events, paying tribute to veterans and their service.

Legacy Flight C-47 Betsy's Biscuit Bomber Tarmac Aerial View

Estrella Warbird Museum

The Estrella Warbirds Museum in Paso Robles, California preserves military aircraft and artifacts, honoring aviation history and veterans. The museum offers educational programs, exhibitions, and events.

Gratitude Soars through the Legacy Flight

A Heartfelt Thank You To Our Veterans

About Sherman Smoot

Sherman Smoot Legacy Flight Pilot and Veteran

Born in San Luis Obispo on July 29, 1948, Sherm was raised in North SLO County. Initially, he lived at the Paso Robles airport in the old base firehouse while his father pioneered the aerial pipeline patrol business in California. The family then moved to Atascadero in 1953, and he graduated from Atascadero Union High School in 1966.

Sherm got the flying bug early when, after his father’s death in 1954, his mother took over the flying business. He loved his dad’s first employee, a young pilot named Archie Dean. Years later, Archie bought the business and successfully ran the pipeline patrol for over 20 years. Archie had a lasting effect on Sherm and convinced him to pursue aviation.

Sherm put himself through Washington State University flying airplanes. He taught Army, Air Force, and Navy ROTC students under the Flight Indoctrination Programs of WSU and the University of Idaho. By the time he graduated from college in 1970 with a BS in Biological Sciences, Sherm had accumulated 3,000 flight hours and had all his ratings and extra money in his pocket.

Before reporting to flight school with the U.S. Navy, he returned to Paso Robles in 1970 to help his mentor, Archie Dean. He started a flight and ground school, taught aerobatics, started an air charter business, and did some forest service flying. A lot of the folks around here were taught to fly by Sherman Smoot.

He entered Navy flight school in Pensacola in January of 1971 and received his wings in April of 1972. After completing the F-4 Phantom RAG in San Diego, he joined VF-21 mid-cruise for the end of “Linebacker Two” ops and was there when the Vietnam War ended, flying off the USS Ranger in the Gulf of Tonkin. Completing two cruises with VF-21 as their LSO, he was then assigned to the indoctrination team of the Navy’s new Lockheed S-3 Viking.

He trained and carrier-qualified the RAG’s first cadre of flight instructors, authored the Formation and In-flight Refueling Training Syllabus, and co-authored the Carrier Landing Training Syllabus. He left active duty in 1977 to pursue an airline career with Continental Airlines. He remained in the Naval Reserves, flying F-4s for another four years.

He became involved in warbirds when he was asked to fly a P-47 “Jug” owned, in part, by Judge William P. Clark. He flew and raced various other warbirds. He was granted an unlimited Letter of Authority from the FAA, so he could pretty much fly any single or multi-engine beast with more than 1,000 HP. He had been flying in the Reno Air Races for more than 30 years and won the AT-6/SNJ National Championship in 1996. For the last 25 years, Sherman flew Checkmate, a highly modified Unlimited Class Yak-11, and had always been in the top four in the Gold Race.

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