Verlanic meets game-day flyover crew

Ellen Verlanic photo 


Daniel “Karch” Verlanic is a senior at Bay Port High School in Suamico, Wisconsin, a northern village in the Green Bay area.

Named after all-time great volleyball player Karch Kiraly, Verlanic (Ver-lan-ick) grew up a Dallas Cowboys’ fan because he was born in Texas, moving to Anchorage, Alaska, before he even entered kindergarten.

Karch Verlanic 

“I loved Alaska because I like to hunt and be outside,” said Verlanic, who was also a member of the Pirates’ back-to-back Fox River Classic Conference football teams his junior and senior seasons. “It was nice to be playing outside at 10:00 at night with the sun still up in the summer, but I was also really spread out from my friends. I like living where we do now in Suamico – I am closer to my friends and the education, and sports’ opportunities are better.”

Like many successful young men in this country Verlanic is a model example of what one should strive for: respectful, hard-working, polite and patriotic. He’s also an Eagle Scout, which is the highest achievement or rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America. Karch joined Cub Scouts in the first grade and worked his way up to Eagle rank by completing his final project, something that took more than three years to finish.

“I had to plan, raise the money and help construct a new storage building for the Duck Creek Pop Warner (DCPW) football organization,” said Verlanic, who has applied to the Naval and Air Force Academies, Texas A&M, the University of Michigan, Purdue University and Embry-Riddle in Daytona, Florida – an aeronautical university. “Pop Warner has been a big part of my life, so I wanted to give back to them somehow.”

Only about four-percent of all Boy Scouts reach the rank of Eagle Scout. Karch’s younger brother Call is also well on his way to becoming one as well.

Spending his junior high and high school years in Green Bay, Karch and his family (parents Ellen and Ed) got to know former Packers’ player Jeff Saturday and his family quite well through DCPW. The families would often watch Jeff’s games together. Karch is also a Packers’ fan and will watch the team on Sundays.

Verlanic’s first love is flying. He plans to study aerospace or mechanical engineering in college and wants to be a military pilot. Karch already has about 12 hours of flight time and has also flown a single-engine, four-person Cessna 172. He will need about 50 hours to be able to fly solo and then there are countless hours of ground school he will have to go through.

“Now that I’m done with my Eagle Scout project, football and submitted all my paperwork, I will have more time to get back in the cockpit,” Verlanic said.

A big thrill in Karch’s life came Nov. 18 of last year when he got to meet the Lambeau Field flyover crew for the Baltimore Ravens’ game the next day.

“I know one of the guys who works with the Packers and coordinates the flyovers with the Navy and Air Force,” said Verlanic. “He was able to get me out on the (Austin Straubel International Airport) tarmac with a few other people and we got to talk with some of the pilots. I didn’t get into the planes because their security protocol is top secret, but I was a few feet away. Since I want to be a pilot, going up to those planes I knew exactly what they were supposed to do and their jobs. It was a big thrill for me. We don’t have a military base in Green Bay, so the closest thing I get is going to EAA (in Oshkosh) which I do every year. Seeing all of it was pretty amazing.”

According to Verlanic the planes were F-15E Strike Eagles and originated back in the 1980s. They now have bigger fuel tanks, engines and are able to carry a lot more stuff. According to online research the Strike Eagles are capable of going almost 1,900 mph, which can vary greatly depending on conditions and altitude.

I had the distinct honor of meeting the flyover crew the next day on the sidelines and chat with them for a few minutes. I was even able to snap a picture of the four F-15’s flying over Lambeau in coordination with the Star-Spangled Banner.