For CAF Red Tail Squadron pilot Alan Miller, an appreciation for warbirds and the zest for aviation must run in his blood. It’s not everyday you come across a father and son team that both fly for the Commemorative Air Force. When Alan is not flying our P-51C Mustang, the Tuskegee Airmen, you can find him flying the B-25J Miss Mitchell with his father for the Minnesota Wing of the CAF!
It is from his father’s love of aviation and career in the Navy that Alan found his inspiration to fly. From the time he was two years old he was in the cockpit with his dad – his first flight instructor – and by the time he was 16 years old he was flying solo. Growing up in a military household meant moving around for different assignments, leading Alan’s family to many warm weather places like Florida, Georgia, California, Guam and Hawaii, which he now calls his part-time home.
“Planes are just cool!” remarks Alan. “I always loved planes and the history of aviation. My dad was definitely my inspiration.”
After practically growing up in an airplane, Alan went on to fly professionally himself. His career has encompassed being a certified flight instructor, flying freight, giving air tours and moving on up to the airlines. He is currently an international pilot for Delta Air Lines, flying the Airbus A330.
Alan has been a member of the CAF Red Tail Squadron for about 5 years. “I believe in the mission. After I met the Squadron leader I knew that I wanted to be a part of the Red Tail story as Don Hinz had envisioned it,” says Alan. “I also am fortunate to know Tuskegee Airman Alexander Jefferson quite well. We get to hang out and fly general aviation planes around Hawaii when he visits. Listening and learning from Alex further inspired me to want to tell the story of these incredible Americans.”
A few years ago Alan had the opportunity to fly Mr. Jefferson over his hometown of Detroit in the P-51C Mustang. It was one of his most memorable moments with the Squadron. “I have had several opportunities to share the Mustang with veterans that either flew it, or worked on it, or were defended in the air or on the ground by it,” remembers Alan. “And seeing in their eyes and hearing from them the love and appreciation they have for this inanimate object is a powerful experience.”
Alan also recalls a particularly memorable time when a young woman visited the P-51C Mustang. She said sitting in the aircraft was so inspiring it helped her decide to pursue her dream and she has joined civil air patrol, and plans to fly in the military.
“Seeing the look in young people’s eyes when they sit in the plane or see it fly is priceless,” says Alan. He is honored to be a part of the organization and hopes to inspire young people to achieve their dreams.