Chris Thomas is a third-generation pilot and earned his pilot’s license at the age of 17 with his father as his flight instructor. He has logged over 20,000 hours of flight time in more than 105 types of aircraft. When not flying airshows,Chris is a Captain and Line Check Airman for a major airline.
Chris spent the 1990s as a professional firefighter for the Virginia Beach Fire Department and is a graduate of Norfolk State University. Concurrently, he earned his aviation ratings and worked as a flight instructor, banner tow pilot and corporate pilot. Chris left the VBFD in 1998 and became an airline pilot.
Chris resides in Virginia Beach, VA with his wife and two college-aged daughters. When not flying, he can be found riding his motorcycle, playing guitar, or traveling with his family.
Chris flies a 1941 North American SNJ-2. This historically significant aircraft was utilized as an advanced trainer by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corp to train “The Greatest Generation” for WWII and Korean Conflict. Nearly every pilot in World War II and Korea trained in a version of this aircraft.
The Army Air Corp and later U.S. Air Force also flew the same aircraft with the designation of “T-6 Texan”. More than 15,000 SNJ/T-6 aircraft were built, and it has served in more than 60 countries worldwide – many times in combat by developing countries. The aircraft was retired from U.S. military service in the 1960s but was utilized around the world much longer. In fact, the South African military utilized the T-6 until 1995.
Chris’ aircraft is a SNJ-2. This aircraft is unique for many reasons. It was built in 1941 and is a very early model, only 61 of this variant were ever made and fewer than 10 are flying in the world today. This specific SNJ-2 is 81 years old and is powered by a 600 horsepower supercharged Pratt & Whitney R-1340.