World War II pilot able to again go up in plane he flew in combat

By Twila Schmitt,
Correspondent,
Watertown Public Opinion
The minute Q.C. Miles heard that a vintage Stinson L-5 plane was going to be in Sioux Falls, he and his son, Mike Miles, began making plans to see it.
    Miles, a longtime South Dakota school administrator who turned 92 ,flew 173 combat sorties in the very same type of plane during World War II.
They traveled to Sioux Falls with the mission of taking a photo of the elder Miles with his old plane – but came back with so much more.
Miles got to pilot a Stinson L-5 for the first time since 1945.
“It appeared that he knew a lot about this plane, and the L-5 is not a very common plane,” said Bryan Brost, the pilot who flew the aircraft to Sioux Falls for an event honoring Joe Foss.
Brost invited Miles to sit in the cockpit, and while listening to him reminisce about his time in the service, Brost had another idea.
“I asked him whether he’d like to take it up,” said Brost.
Miles said once Brost leveled the plane off at 3,000 feet, he was given the controls.
“We had a wonderful flight. It was just as easy making the turns,” said Miles.
Brost, a commercial pilot based in Sioux Falls, works with the Commemorative Airforce to preserve old planes and keep them flying.
He said he hadn’t previously met anyone who had flown the L-5.
“It’s really fun for me to get to fly these airplanes, and meeting some of the pilots is an added bonus. There aren’t too many of them left,” he said.
“I think I got an even bigger kick out of it than he did,” said Brost. “It was a real honor to get to do that for him.”
Following his time in the military, Miles returned to the tiny northeastern S.D. town of Turton, where he was an educator, coach and father of 11 children.
Mike Miles said the recent flight was an incredible experience for his dad.
“He thought he had bid a final farewell to his faithful Stinson L-5 in 1945,” said Mike Miles.
“When they landed, he said, ‘She’s still the best flying bird in the sky.’”

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