Last Thursday Jim Springer and I preflighted two RAFE aircraft from the Ellington Canard base, loaded them up and headed northeast. A few hours later we landed at the Covington Municipal airport. We were the advance team to get things started for a very busy weekend, RAFE’s Spring Formation Training Clinic.
Jim is the main force behind the RAFE ezformationcrew project. He put a tremendous amount of work into inviting, and organizing Pilots who wanted to help develop and refine formation skills. Though we’ve had similar formation training events on a smaller scale., this one attracted canard pilots from as far away as Arizona. By midday Friday the ramp had 13 canards and two RV’s.
The RV’s belonged to Craig Wilcox and Phil Lamb, two Check Pilots from Formation Flying Inc. RAFE has worked with FFI, Inc. to incorporate and standardize canards into FFI formation procedures. Friday evening Craig taught a excellent ground school for any participants that had not been through one or needed a refresher. Everyone attended.
The next morning the skies around Covington were filled with sounds of groups of EZ’s flying in formation. One objective was those that attended that had little to no previous formation flying experience go home having seen how formation flying can be conducted safely, with the enthusiasm to learn more and that attending was well worth to trip. From the feedback we’ve gotten that objective was met!
As everyone started heading home Sunday afternoon, Jim Springer stayed awhile to help gather up data and recap the weekend. When it came time for his return trip he wasn’t going to back to Houston with the Cozy he flew up. Instead, as the perfect ending for such a great weekend, Jim Springer joined an elite group, the RAFE Aircraft Sponsors, and became the first Sponsor for the Jack Whilhemsen CozyIII. Jim flew it home to establish the RAFE Wisconsin Canard Base!
50 has become a number that seems to come up a lot in our RAFE discussions. RAFE now has Canard Bases and Aircraft Sponsors in four states. There’s no doubt in my mind we’ll eventually have Canard Bases in all of them. 50 is also a very commonly celebrated anniversary and the 50th anniversary of the the first flight the Varieze is coming up rapidly. Our effort to create enthusiasm for formation flying may have a lot to do with how much we enjoy that particular flying skill, but there's a more important goal. RAFE plans on flying a 50 plane formation of EZ’s over Airventure and other airshows on the 50th anniversary of the EZ. That will take a lot of organization and a lot of formation qualified Pilots. Join up with us and lets make that dream a reality. See you at our next formation clinic!
Founder and President,
Rutan Aircraft Flying Experience