July 25, 2017: Center Commander Completes Fini Flight

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  • Air Force Test Center

Maj Gen David A. Harris completed his fini flight in a B-52H.

General Harris ended his military career in a B-52 Superfortress after landing on the Edwards  Air Force Base flight line for the last time. The “Fini” flight is a military aviation tradition which marks a pilots retirement from the Air Force. Upon completion of the “Fini” flight, it is tradition to spray down or douse the pilot in water and a bottle of champagne upon leaving the aircraft.  The celebration includes close family and friends along with the dedicated crew. Relatives, family and friends are also given the chance to further douse the honoree with hoses hooked to a fire truck. Once completely soaked, a pilot traditionally takes a quick toast of champagne.

The “Fini” flight tradition was first officially noted during the Vietnam war, when the aircrew commemorated the completion of 100 missions. The 100th safe last-landing was a reason to celebrate, but it is now usually a separate flight altogether marking the final flight before retirement.  The commemoration is meaningful to the retiring member and his or her family, and brings them together with the aviator’s Air Force family. These traditions are always a good thing as they bring camaraderie and togetherness between families and the Air Force.  After the flight line celebration there usually is a  brief retirement ceremony..

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