While the overall event was informal, the flights were serious and conducted to FAST standards, with detailed briefings and debriefings. Doug Hulse kindly provided an impromptu airspace and safety briefing on Saturday morning over coffee and donuts (did anyone else know that United pilots eat glazed donuts in the mornings, and “old fashioned” donuts in the afternoon?). We progressed from 2-ship flights to 3-ship flights to a 4-ship flight.
Helen Murphy © 2009-2017 All Rights Reserved
Fate chose Gordon Bowers to practice a precautionary landing, following a momentary chip light (only fuzz, upon later inspection). The affected flight performed exactly as briefed, with the wingman escorting Gordon back to TTN and providing navigational and radio assistance (TTN is towered with airline traffic). These events remind us that our contingency planning is important, and to take it seriously every flight. Of course, what T-28 event would be complete without at least one aircraft forlornly parked on the ramp with its cowls open?
click on thumbnails above to enlarge
On June 13th & 14th we held another “formation weekend” in central New Jersey (TTN). Fortunately, despite ominous forecasts, the thunderstorms did not materialize (but it was hot!).
Most pilots attended for proficiency, while Alf Beam and Danny Richer came to work on their formation qualifications. By flying in from Ontario, Canada, they turned our gathering into an international formation event! Of course, everyone also attended for the fun that accompanies any formation pilot gathering. Group dinners were appropriately boisterous, with challenge coins performing their cost-shifting function in the bar beforehand.
We held a ground school on Friday for the T-28 formation trainees. Adopting a more progressive educational approach, a variety of alcoholic beverages were served, allegedly improving information delivery and retention.
Alf Beam C-GKOL Fort Erie Ontario, CAN
Gordon Bowers N65491 Richmond, VA
Adam Hulse N12252/T34 Stewartsville, NJ
Doug Hulse N555PF Milford, NJ
Luc Joly N161JP Sag Harbor, NY
Malte Lorenz N434Z/T34 Islip, NY
Danny Richer C-GDKR Tillsonburg Ontario, CAN
Andrew Swart N528TC Princeton, NJ
We also put together one 6-ship flight (combining two 3-ships after individual practices at altitude) for an obligatory “smoke on” pass before recovering.
Over a day and a half, we flew a total of 24 sorties, with everyone making good progress: Alf and Danny achieved their training objectives, and other participants achieved their proficiency objectives. We even squeezed in maintenance discussions. Speaking of which…
Having recently sold his T-28, Malte attended with his T-34, flying two sorties with Adam Hulse in his T-34 before helping out as a back seater in the T-28s. Very much appreciated! Guest back seaters provided lunch on Saturday (to the three Marks, thanks!) as well as some excellent photographs.
The tower was accommodating, delays were rare, and Landmark Aviation was a great host, providing air-conditioned relief from the heat, our own briefing areas, responsive line service, and a 33% fuel discount! Participants traveled an average of only 40 minutes to TTN… Hopefully, more of these “local” events can cost-effectively provide proficiency and training opportunities throughout our formation communities during the season, augmenting central events such as those held immediately prior to EAA AirVenture.
Coincidentally, the local EAA chapter was holding its Young Eagles program all day Saturday, and we operated from the same, large ramp without conflict. This arrangement afforded future pilots lurking among the Young Eagles an opportunity to see and hear warbird operations being conducted, as well as observe 2-ship sections lifting off abeam the ramp. Let’s hope we helped more kids aspire to pursue aviation, and for some to begin fantasizing about warbirds!
Sunday afternoon arrived and visitors were soon homeward bound, with Alf and Danny detouring via Rochester because of severe storms near Buffalo. A flurry of “safely home” messages followed, along with promises to do it all again soon. [We did, in September, but that’s another story.]
What more could one hope for? We are privileged to fly these magnificent aircraft, but even more fortunate to share them with such good friends. A big thank you to everyone involved in making this event a success.
New Jersey Formation Weekend, June 2015
by Andrew Swart