Janet “Snoopy” Denton
The 5th Annual Gunfighters Formation Clinic was held in Yuma, AZ February 4-7, 2016, and it was a huge success. This year, the annual southwest Mooney Caravan clinic joined forces with the Redstar Pilot Association (RPA), it's mission is to promote and preserve the safe operation, display and enjoyment of all aircraft. Over the clinic's weekend, safety and enjoyment was on the minds of all participants. The partnership vastly improved resources for training and allowed pilots a great opportunity for advanced work towards FAST cards. The joint clinic brought together 35 pilots and a mix of aircraft type, to include Mooneys, T-34s, Experimentals, CJs, a T-6 and a Cirrus.
Yuma, located on southwestern corner of the state, on the border of Mexico and Arizona, offered a weekend of gorgeous weather and flying opportunities. Two of our fellow Caravaners Paul "Rocket" Steen and Bucko "Sandman" Strehlow earned FAST Wingman cards. Congratulations!
A special ops flight, lead by Cowboy, took place on Saturday to Buckeye, AZ airport, located west of Phoenix. The event was the annual Buckeye Air Fair with approximately 2000 visitors. As the warbird group could not get enough aircraft assembled due to mechanical issues, the Mooney Caravan substituted for the usual flyover demonstration. The Mooney 4-ship conducted a diamond and fingertip flyby over the Buckeye Air Fair before executing overhead breaks to landing. Cowboy was joined by pilots Michael "Rhino" Walker, Bret "Whitey" Lowell, Lacee "Rocket" Lamphere, and JAFOs James "Curly" Combs, Larry "Joker" Brennan, Janet "Snoopy" Denton, and Ken "Chief" Cada. The Mooney Caravan “Demo Team” was staged at show center for and hour and a half, and drew a lot of curious spectators.
In addition to the flying, ground training and evening festivities were offered. Redstar Instructor Pilot (IP) Rich Martindell conducted a very informative mass Wingman ground school briefing Thursday evening. All gathered for a nice Mexican seafood dinner at a local restaurant on Friday night. And to wrap things up, the Million Air FBO sponsored the Saturday dinner with beef, shrimp, and chicken tacos that were prepared and cooked by Million Air staff. Wow - talk about duties not listed in their job description.
A clinic like this happens by the efforts of many. The special THANK YOU shout-outs are as follows:
Chuck "Cowboy" Crinnan for organizing the clinic as event director and making it the best Gunfighter clinic yet.
Larry "Joker" Brennan for directing and orchestrating the flow of sorties by serving as air boss.
Janet "Snoopy" Denton for facilitating ground logistics as ground boss.
Ken "Chief" Cada for providing ground transportation and ground support in a number of capacities.
James "Curly" Combs, general manager of Million Air FBO, and his staff for the hospitality and service provided.
Scott "Munchie" Andrews for conducing four check rides as the clinic's Check Pilot.
Mike "Spanky" Lynch for sharing his knowledge and serving as the clinic's safety officer.
Rich Martindell for conducting the wingman ground school and serving as IP.
Safety, Teamwork, and Excellence was the theme of this year's Yuma Gunfighter Formation. When like-minded individuals with common interests come together, memorable things happen. It was a treat to have members of the RPA at the Yuma clinic to lend support, guidance and expertise. Pictures and videos of the clinic can be found at the 'Gunfighters Formation Clinic' Facebook page. Check it out. We hope to see you in Yuma in 2017!