Rite of Passage, Giclee digital print, 18 1/2" X 28" L/E 250
The T-37s were training aircraft of the USAF for over 50 years and were retired from service in 2008
In early 2007, this artist was invited by Air Education and Training Commend to visit Columbus AFB, MS, to fly the T-37 one more time before it was retired. My first introduction to the T-37 had been in May 1963 at Webb AFB, TX, resulting in my Air Force Art painting “Solo Student Over the Numbers”. The T-37 fleet had been flying in a high-visibility Keith Ferris designed paint system since May of 1987. For this mission, the artist was plugged in as the "student" in a Student Formation Training sortie.
The painting conveys the feeling of hanging on the leader’s wing throughout the whole series of maneuvers required as a “Rite of Passage” necessary to become a pilot in the United States Air Force.