As planning started for the annual NW Formation Flying clinic at Bremerton, WA, the list of attending warbirds slowly grew. Smokey Johnson kept me in the loop as five T-28s registered to join the flying and training. We also had advanced registration for a number of Canadian Nanchangs, plus a couple of Beech T-34s.
Our wet spring and early summer weather finally cleared for our early July formation clinic, providing partly cloudy skies and perfect mid-70s temperatures. On the evening of our Thursday arrival day, I was able to snag a backseat flight in Dave Gagliardi’s Nanchang CJ-6 as Dave led an early evening flight with two other Canadian Nanchangs and Tom ‘Chox’ Spreen in his beautiful Yak-18T.
Friday was T-28 day. I received cockpit orientations in Roger Collins T-28D ‘Lumpy’ by Smokey Johnson, then another detailed orientation in Scott Urban’s impressive T-28B. We were able to put together two impressive T-28 four-ship formation training flights, giving both Scott Urban and Charlie Goldbach their first introduction to T-28 four-ships, while giving me some enjoyable T-28 stick time and formation instructional practice. Photographer Brodie Winkler took an amazing series of in-flight T-28 formation photos and videos.
Saturday was another busy day with a photo session for a T-34 flown by Alyssa ‘Smiley’ McColly and Jim Ostrich, while riding in air conditioned comfort in Arreed Barabasz’ Bonanza, followed by more T-28 stick time with Smokey Johnson leading a T-28 two-ship with Scott Urban. I topped off the day with a T-34 orientation with Josh Weinstein in his immaculate T-34, leading ‘Smiley’ McColly and Jim Ostrich for a late afternoon two-ship.
I was honored to lead an Epic callsign naming event with Dean ‘Frito’ Friedt, bestowing the name ‘Prancer’ to Dave Desmon, and ‘FAGIB’ to Dan Shoemaker after a riotous naming session, with great audience participation.
Sunday morning dawned a bit cloudy, and I departed for a flight home in the late morning after an awesome formation clinic weekend. Nanchangs, T-28s and T-34s - Oh My!