Walt McGinnis—A lifetime in flight

Walt McGinnis spent most of his career up in the air. After his service in the 11th Airborne Division in Japan, Walt toured the East Coast as part of a two-man air show. His stunts were daring, even death-defying.

'In our spin prop act, I would take the airplane up to 1,000 feet and cut the engine,' he recalls. His fellow stuntman would then climb onto the wheel without a parachute and pretend to panic until Walt made a safe landing.

In 1949, Walt was accepted into the Air Force's prestigious Aviation Cadet training program. He served in Korea and Vietnam before becoming a corporate pilot for El Paso Natural Gas Company.

In accordance with FAA regulations, Walt retired from the cockpit at 60, but he didn't retire from the skies. He immediately took an interest in hot air ballooning, even flying at the 200th anniversary celebration of the first balloon flight in Metz, France.

At Highland Springs, Walt has discovered a group of fellow pilots with whom he can swap stories. He considers himself a very fortunate man. 'I was lucky to continue flying after my Air Force career. I couldn't have asked for anything more.'

Walt McGinnis