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  #1  
Old 05-28-2007, 02:27 PM
Stu McCurdy's Avatar
Stu McCurdy Stu McCurdy is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Round Rock, TX
Posts: 211
Default Texas Formation Clinic

Texas Formation Clinic, 22-24 Jun, at Brownwood (KBWD)

Okay, Memorial Day is just about over and the Texas Formation Clinic at Brownwood TX (KBWD) is just around the corner, 22-24 Jun. Kahuna and I will present another formation clinic, this time in Texas. If you plan on attending, please sign up (stumccurdy -at- earthlink.net). Please state First and Last Name, Call Sign, Type Plane, Tail #, Contact #, Home Base, Experience Level, FFI #, and any comments. I have 19 on my list so far.

Classroom Friday afternoon, fly all day Saturday, large formation Sunday morning. Airport will provide hangar space, a 15 passenger van, and discounted fuel. Their BBQ chef will do a Texas BBQ Sat at the airport. Block of 40 rooms under "Formation Clinic" at Days Inn, 325-646-2551, $54/night plus C of C will provide a $30 discount coupon off the bill. Wide open airspace, 150'wide runway, large ramp space. Should be a great clinic location. No charge for clinic, just minimal amount for expenses. Friday afternoon classroom session is required to fly in the clinic.

Minimum requirements are excellent stick and rudder skills in your airplane (100
hours), no vernier throttles, fully operational controls, intercom, and radio PTT
in the other seat for the safety pilot, and a desire to fly well executed, disciplined formation. Newbees and Novices will be paired with an experienced formation safety pilot until "cleared solo".

Please make your Days Inn motel reservations (325-646-2551) soonest as the block ends 8 Jun. Mention the "Formation Clinic".

Hope to see y'all sign up.

Stu McCurdy (Falcon)
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RV-8, 78TX, Flying
Formation Flying, Inc (FFI)
Falcon Flight
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  #2  
Old 06-12-2007, 11:44 AM
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N520TX N520TX is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Cedar Park, TX
Posts: 236
Default 10 Days Away

Since this is only 10 days away, is there any further news on this? I've never attended one of these before and wonder if there's anything else to be done other than just show up Friday? what time?
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  #3  
Old 06-20-2007, 12:19 PM
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hecilopter hecilopter is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 389
Default This should be a fun and informative time

for all interested in formation flying. There are 26 Rv's signed up so far and the weather is supposed to be good all weekend (maybe a little hot). The afternoon classroom session on Friday starts at 3:00.

See ya' there!
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Rusty "Rooster" Williams - FFI Wingman
N357RV RV-7A Tip Up (flying and Painted!) - 1130+ hrs.
Superior XP-360, carbureted, Hartzell 74" Blended Airfoil Prop
Grand Prairie, TX
KGPM

Last edited by hecilopter : 06-20-2007 at 12:41 PM.
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  #4  
Old 06-20-2007, 12:28 PM
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Posts: 2,046
Default

Looking forward to it. We've got 3 from SoCal that'll be there.
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  #5  
Old 06-21-2007, 07:15 AM
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Stu McCurdy Stu McCurdy is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Round Rock, TX
Posts: 211
Default Texas Formation Clinic

Clinic Attendees,

The plan for the this weekend for the Texas Formation Clinic is to
arrive at Brownwood by 1430 on Friday. We will put the aircraft in
the large hangar provided by the airport and start the classroom
session at the airport. After that session, we will transport to the
motel, check in, and go across the street to Humphry Pete's for
dinner. (by the way, it will be Danny (Speedy) and Mary Kight's
anniversary). If we do not have a quorum by 1500 at the airport, then
we will go to the motel, have dinner, and do the classroom at the
motel.

Sat morning we will start transportation to the airport at 0700, get
the planes out on the line, and brief at 0800. The plan is to fly
twice Sat morning, have lunch, fly twice Sat afternoon, put the
aircraft away, then have a Texas BBQ dinner at the airport, and then
head for the motel.

Sun morning the plan is to again brief at 0800 for an ALL UP large
formation for those qualfied with those not riding with us, then fly
more 4-ship training until people need to leave.

All attendees should know the contents of the RV Supplement to the T-34 Manual, which can be downloaded on VAF Download page.

See y'all at KBWD

Stu McCurdy (Falcon
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  #6  
Old 06-24-2007, 02:00 PM
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N520TX N520TX is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Cedar Park, TX
Posts: 236
Thumbs up Just Completed

I just returned from attending this clinic and I wish to say a big thank you to the people that arranged this - from Stu for getting the organization going, to the linemen (women) who cooked the brisket. I for one (and I know MANY of the others) certainly appreciated the experiences we were exposed to and the effort put in by so many. While the overall "concept" of organized formation flying is one thing - experiencing the actual mechanics is something quite different. A big thank you to my safety pilot - SchoolMom - from I believe the "Chino Power Squadron".

Was a pleasure to meet and fly with all you guys!

I look forward to attending the next one.

Ron
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RV7a - Flying
RV10 - Flying !
FFI Flight Lead - www.FalconFlight.aero

Last edited by N520TX : 06-24-2007 at 04:48 PM.
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  #7  
Old 06-25-2007, 09:24 AM
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N520TX N520TX is offline
 
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Location: Cedar Park, TX
Posts: 236
Thumbs up A more thorough write-up ;o) Pt 1

I just noticed that Doug linked to my initial “thank-you” post about this past weekend’s formation clinic held in Brownwood. He referred to it as a “write-up”. I’ll be the first to admit it’s a rather lame write-up of events, so here’s a stab at some words that hopefully qualify better for that title.

Friday
Arrival day found clear blue skies with typical hot Texas afternoon weather. By the time I got there and parked on the line, there were already 10 or so RVs ties down – from all over. The signature unpainted RV7 with the yellow “weathermeister.com” logo on the side indicated to me that the so-cal contingent was among them. I was greeted by Stu and informed that the plan was to head over to the hotel, check in then find some place to eat. The ‘class work’ was to begin at 18:00 sharp.

I waited around the airport for another 30 to 45 minutes or so as there were constant arrivals of RVs and we were waiting to get a full van load to run back in to town. The town itself is about 4 miles or so south of the airport.

When we had nearly a full load, we piled in the courtesy van, aptly labeled with a “Brownwood Senior Citizens Center” logo on the side of it. The quick trip to town gave most of us the opportunity to introduce and greet – the usual ‘where ya from’ type of chit chat. Picking out the veterans in the bunch was easy – they all had the “Falcon Flight” shirts on. It took more than a few minutes for this gaggle to check in at Chez-Days-Inn – but we all eventually got our room keys and agreed to meet back down in the lobby by 16:30.

Dinner was had a short walk across the road at a steakhouse called Humphrey Pete's. It looks just like it sounds –the food was good, the beer was cold and the conversation was never ending. I think that every one of us there decided it was time to get our weekly quota of beef through one of their burgers.

18:00 arrived quickly but we all managed to be back at the hotel in our chairs at attention for the clinic overview. Stu gave the introduction to the schedule, followed by personal introductions by each attendee – background, flight experience etc. I was very happy to find out that I was not the only one with zero formation experience.

Stu turned the presentation over to Kahuna - Mike Stewart. The first slide up on the projector was a list of all the attendees – they were color coded. My color was, not surprising, RED. Mike pointed out quickly that the RED’s are referred to as “scary guys” – first timers. Novices were yellow, intermediates blue/green and experienced guys are green. He made all the scary guys move to the front row – to make sure we paid attention. It also made it easier for him to quiz us during the lecture to see if we did our homework.

The lecture was well organized and presented a lot of information about the situations we were about to be exposed to. Wisely enough, the reds and yellows would not be alone for this exposure – a safety pilot will be assigned to fly right seat. Whew.

If there’s one piece of advice I can offer it’s this: BE PREPARED ahead of time. Read what you are told. Know it. Without admitting anything, I will say that I spent the time after the presentation re-reading the literature ;o)

Saturday – Flight Day
Skies were again clear first thing in the morning with winds from the south. We all arrived at the airport by 8:30 via the short trip in the seniors van. The briefing area was contained in a large hangar with plenty of flow through ventilation. Stu laid out the events of the day - and the flight teams quickly broke out to their own separate briefing areas. A flight team consisted of 4 people, one lead, and 3 wingmen. Each team was assigned a flight area and a specific air-to-air frequency to use once airborne.

The overall goal of the flights for the day is that of learning. It was not to put on a show or demonstrate the prowess of the experienced people, rather it was to attempt to pass on those skills to the newer crowd – the scary guys. The flight leads took this to heart and each mission of the day was planned based around skills that we all learned in previous flights.

A total of 4 missions were scheduled with the first being an introductory flight where I flew right seat with my safety pilot – SchoolMom. The maneuvers in this first flight were more aggressive than we would encounter in later flights, but were meant to show us what the picture “should” be, and what were honing our flight skills to accomplish. We experienced the basic formations as well as the art of moving from one formation layout to another. I’m the first to admit that after all my flying thus far trying to keep AWAY from other objects, the site picture of intending to be THAT close to another aircraft was unsettling at first.

Mission #2 was flown in my aircraft (RV7a) with SchoolMom in the right seat. The same maneuvers were performed, but much less aggressive. Again this flight lasted about 30 minutes, with 15 an additional minutes afterward for debriefing how the flight went.

Mission #3 was planned by Lead to focus more on what us newbies needed. In my case it ended up being a series of breaks and re-joins with me in the #2 position.

By the time mission 4 came around, we were all getting pretty tired. A few scary guys and others decided to call it a day and sit this one out. I didn’t – and this left me as the only scary guy in our flight, so this mission ended up being tailored around *my* skills and what I needed to improve upon. Since I was comfortable in the #2 position, I opted to sit in #3 this time. My flying clearly was not as sharp as it had been previously, but I do think I was making progress – certainly understanding the mechanics more. SchoolMom was always supportive and clearly stated that I was improving with each flight – even though I felt I took some steps backward on mission 3.

16:30ish found all flights on the ground, and planes in the hangar – except for 10 ships of Falcon flight which were left on the ramp. Dinner was ready – some excellent Texas bbq brisket with all the trimmings – courtesy of the airport personnel and the Brownwood chamber of commerce.

Post dinner, those 10 ships on the ramp were fired up as the rest of us, and anyone else around, were treated to the actual airshow routine that these guys put on recently (I cannot remember the airport it was at). They did a great job, just one minor boo-boo when a member broke left out of formation instead of right – causing his two wingmen to break left with him. No harm, no foul.

Time to head back to the hotel and enjoy an adult beverage or two over at Humphrey Pete’s. They set us out on the back patio overlooking the river. As was the night before, the stories abounded and the time flew by quick. More than one guy there bought rounds for us all – if I didn’t say it enough at the time – here’s another THANK YOU for y’all. A noticeable highlight though was when a bachelorette party walked through complete with a bride in her vale. They were selling certain “items” for donations to cover the cost of their party – I think they made a few dollars from us – nuff said ;o)

The sun went down, the mosquito’s came out and I was beat. Time to hit the hay.
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  #8  
Old 06-25-2007, 09:25 AM
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N520TX N520TX is offline
 
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Location: Cedar Park, TX
Posts: 236
Default Part 2

Sunday
The only item on the schedule for Sunday was an “all up” formation. There were 14 ships that were qualified to participate – I wasn’t, still being a ‘scary guy’. Not a problem. I found an empty back seat of an RV8 to ride in and take pictures – overall, I have about 250 – I need to find some place to put them all on the web to share. Stu was lead and briefed the pilots on the formations and procedures of the flight. Basically, we were to put on a small show for the town as a ‘thank you’ for all their cooperation and hospitality toward us. The flight lasted about 30 minutes with a total of 4 passes over the town in various patterns – at about 1000agl. Anyone with a camera down there, even Martha or Mabel or whoever it was, would have gotten some great pictures.

14 ships arrived safely back at the airport on the initial and performed an overhead break to land – awesome.

A 15 minute de-brief on the flight – then we all said our goodbyes and headed for home – wherever that was.

Summary
Did I learn anything? – yes.
Did my flight skills improve? – yes.
Was it worth the cost? – yes.
Would I do it again? HECK yes!
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RV7a - Flying
RV10 - Flying !
FFI Flight Lead - www.FalconFlight.aero

Last edited by N520TX : 06-25-2007 at 09:26 AM. Reason: Changed final emphatic word to 'heck' ;o)
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  #9  
Old 06-25-2007, 02:01 PM
flybill7 flybill7 is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Severna Park, Maryland
Posts: 417
Default Texas Formation Clinic

Thanks, Ron. Great write-up.
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RV-7 Flying (1,100 hours)
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  #10  
Old 06-25-2007, 04:11 PM
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bmarvel bmarvel is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Grand Junction, CO
Posts: 39
Default The price is right...

What Ron did not mention in his well written description of the clinic is that this excellent quality training is put on free of charge to the attendees. We each tossed in $10 to cover a group lunch at the airport and plenty of bottled water, but the rest was a voluntary effort by those who ran the clinic. The Brownwood Chamber of Commerce gave us each a $20 credit on our hotel rooms and paid the entire bill for the Saturday night BBQ at the airport.

As one of the newbies who had never attended this training previously, I had plenty of questions and learned that Stu McCurdy is a retired USAF colonel and simply does this as a post retirement hobby. He puts on these formation clinics anywhere in the country if enough people show an interest. I'll be trying to get a group of us Colorado RVers interested in having him here at some future date, as this opportunity is exceptionally valuable because it substantially improves your pilot skills.

BTW, I'm one of the students Ron mentioned who did not fly the final training mission because I knew I was on the back side of the learning curve after the brain drain of the earlier practice sessions. This is INTENSE training and done under rigorous supervision. Be fully aware of that fact going in as you'll be mentally drained afterwards and every bit as impressed as we were with the professionalism and quality of the program.
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RV-8A N751MB -1700 hours, sold
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