Pamplin Media Group – Hollywood spotlights Madras pilots and planes
, 2022-11-15 08:00:00,
A new Hollywood release coming out this Thanksgiving features vintage aircraft from the Erickson Aircraft Collection with local pilots behind the controls.
Pilot Mike Oliver does all the flying for the leading character, Jesse Brown, who made history as the first African American Naval aviator in the United States.
“I’m just the pilot. I’m not the hero,” said Oliver, who’s appreciation for Brown began long before Sony Pictures decided to make a movie about the Distinguished Flying Cross recipient.
An African American himself, Oliver admires Brown’s achievements after Brown grew up in poverty and experienced racial discrimination as a child and in the flight academy.
Brown flew a Corsair, one of the vintage airplanes in the Erickson Aircraft Collect in Madras. Oliver manages the collection, and before Brown’s story was even a screenplay, Oliver had painted the Corsair in Jesse Brown colors in honor of the Naval aviator.
“Devotion” tells the story of Jesse Brown and his wingman, Tom Hudner, who, despite risking court martial, won a Medal of Honor for his actions portrayed in this movie.
When the movie’s aerial coordinator, Kevin LaRosa Jr., called Oliver and asked him if he wanted to fly the Jesse Brown Corsair in the movie, Oliver jumped at the offer.
“It was awesome. I want to do it again,” said Oliver. “I can see why people do this for a living.”
In case you don’t recognize that…
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