My name is Dale Collier and I have been following the Grateful Dead since I saw them in Utica, NY in 1973. I next saw them at Summer Jam, Watkins Glen in 1973. I have since seen the band live hundreds of times mostly in and around the Bay Area of California.

I learned to fly airplanes in the Air Force and was stationed in Northern California. I went to many Bay Area Grateful Dead Concerts and eventually became very good friends with Dan Healy and the Ultrasound Crew. I also got to meet all of the band members at various times. I even got to play a little guitar with Jerry backstage at Laguna Seca.

As an avid pilot, I got the opportunity to fly some of the sound crew and a few band members to some gigs. I eventually got a Chief Pilot’s job at Otis Spunkmeyer Cookies flying two of the coolest Douglas DC-3’s in existence. I had always wanted to airdrop a load of flowers over a Grateful Dead Concert. When Bill Graham was killed in a helicopter crash, I approached Peter and Bob Barsotti about airdropping flowers over the Memorial in Golden Gate Park. We ended up airdropping 65,000 carnations (every available carnation in San Francisco) over the concert as the Grateful Dead played. The plane we used was the first Military DC-3 ever built. It was General Hap Arnold’s (the Chief of Staff of the Army Air Corp in WWII) personal command post aircraft and was designated a C-41 (the only aircraft in history with that model designation). Hap Arnold learned to fly from the Wright Brothers. I always thought it ironic and fitting that we used an ex-warbird for such a memorial in honor of the man that did so much for the Summer of Love Generation.

Too few years later I again was airdropping carnations over Golden Gate Park in Honor of Jerry Garcia. This time we used two antique Stearman Biplanes. One towed a banner that read “Jerry Loves You” and I was stuffed into the front cockpit of the other Stearman surrounded by bags of 6500 carnations which I threw out over the memorial shrine.

In 1996, I flew General Hap Arnold’s C-41 from California to Normandy, France to participate in the 50th Anniversary of D-Day. We were part of a vintage squadron of WWII aircraft that flew over Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, President Bill Clinton and various heads of State of Europe who were on board the Royal Yacht Britannia. We also flew over the Normandy beaches as part of the memorial ceremonies.

In the early 1990’s, I had the idea of making “Grateful Dead Pilot Wings” because I wanted some for my flight jacket. I rekindled the idea about the time of the Band’s 25th Anniversary. I had some rough prototypes made but, that is as far as the idea went at that time. In 1997 I finally submitted my idea to Patricia Harris of Grateful Dead Merchandising and she loved the concept. With her help, I got the Wings approved for sale through the Almanac and eventually I received the Official License to manufacture and sell my Wings through other outlets. My line of merchandise has grown to include an expanded line of Wings incorporating many of the Grateful Dead’s famous logos as well as various clothing and accessories. The Wings have been sold by distributors, wholesalers, retailers, The Almanac, and the Official Grateful Dead website for many years. Now, they are finally available through my own company website:

It is with great pride that I offer these “Grateful Dead Pilot/Aircrew Wings” for all the Deadheads out there who have truly earned their “Wings” during those fantastic years of outstanding show “Experiences”......with more to come. Have You Got Your Wings? Well, now you can wear the badge proudly. The essence of the Grateful Dead will never die or even “Fade Away”.

Check back often for more items featuring this design as well as new related cool stuff in the future!


Capt. Dale Collier

Rockwings, Ltd.
51 Casa del Fuego St.
Henderson, NV 89012

Please email Dale Collier with any questions.