CAF Airbase Georgia’s Restored PT-19 Honors Frontier Airlines Pioneer Pilot

PEACHTREE CITY, GA. (March 4, 2024) – A Fairchild PT-19A recently restored by Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Airbase Georgia flew in for a Black History Month memorial event at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.  The ceremony, arranged by Frontier Airlines, honored the memory of Robert Ashby (July 17, 1926 – March 5, 2021), who flew as a Tuskegee Airmen pilot in World War II and became a captain with Frontier Airlines.

Hired by Frontier in 1973, Ashby was one of the first African Americans to work as a pilot for a major commercial airline. Participants at the luncheon included Frontier Airlines employees, the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, and the Atlanta Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. U.S. Army veteran Dr. Sheila Chamberlain was the keynote speaker. Two Airbase Georgia members, U.S. Air Force retirees Maj. Gen. George Harrison and  Capt.Tom Thompson, flew the plane to Hartsfield-Jackson for the event. Thompson was crew chief for the two-year restoration process.

The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Airbase Georgia originally acquired the PT-19A in 2006. It flew throughout the Southeast at airshows and fly-ins, offering rides to the public, until it was brought back to the shop for restoration, which started in 2022.

This was the first mission for the recently restored PT-19A. Airbase Georgia research revealed that the aircraft originally was assigned to Moton Field, Ala., in November 1943, where Tuskegee Airmen used it for initial flight training. New livery reflects this historic part of the aircraft’s history.