It is with great sadness that the Chennault Aviation & Military Museum mourns the death of the last living AVG Flying Tiger, Frank Losonsky, who died Feb. 6.
Losonsky was 99-years-old. He was the last of approximately 300 men who comprised the American Volunteer Group, volunteers who sailed to China in 1941 to fight against incredible odds.
Losonsky was assigned as a Crew Chief in the Hell’s Angels squadron where he was responsible for 3 to 4 aircraft at a time. As the crew chief, he maintained the P-40s and would test the engines on aircraft prior to take off.
He was honorably discharged from the AVG and returned home to Detroit, Michigan where he married. He then returned to China as a mechanic with Chinese National Aviation Corporation. Later, he returned home to build B-24 Liberators. After the Air Corps, he took a civil service job at Clark Field in the Philipines. Frank and his son would eventually write a book about his time with the American Volunteer Group called “Flying Tiger: A Crew Chief’s Story.”
Losonsky’s legacy lives on at Chennault Aviation & Military Museum. Museum volunteer, Gary Vieaux, had a working relationship with the Crew Chief. Vieaux builds planes and ships out of recycled wood, and some of those were modeled after those navigated by notable people. Vieaux built a series of P-40Bs and reached out to Losonsky to sign them. The signed planes were sold with one-hundred percent of the proceeds benefiting the Museum.
Of Losonsky, Vieaux said, “He kept on giving. He’d sign planes and donate books with full profit going to the Museum. He was still serving.”