West Coast Trip Long Way around to RMRFI by Stu McCurdy   (pictures post-processed just a bit by D.Reeves)
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Part I

On Friday, 17 Jun, elements of Falcon Flight, Team RV, and Buckeye flight converged on Snyder, TX to participate in the Snyder Airshow and to begin the must anticipated West Coast Trip long way around to the Rocky Mountain Regional Fly-in Airshow. The idea was to see the best spots in the West and participate with a 10-ship formation routine in the RMFRI Airshow as well.

Some pics of the Snyder event taken by Bob Fishback can be found here and here.

After conducting a maneuvering routine for the Snyder Airshow, Stu McCurdy (Falcon Flight), Mike Stewart, Clay Smith, Bob Goodman, Danny Kight (Team RV), Glen Miller, and Mike Allardyce (Buckeyes) and wives headed out for the trip. After a flyby at Kahuna’s grandparents house in Hobbs, we landed at Holbrook AZ to stay the night.

Sunday morning we launched as a 7-ship to air tour Canyon de Chelly, Monument Valley, Lake Powell, and the Grand Canyon. As agreed, Gary Sobek, Paul Rosales, and Dan Checkoway met us in 25kts winds at the Grand Canyon Airport to have lunch and see the sights. We then launched off to Sedona to check out the beautiful red rocks and stay over night at the Sky Ranch Lodge on the bluff next to the airport.

Monday we launched for an early morning formation training mission with videos over the rocks and then headed out for Las Vegas for a circle over Hoover Dam, and then out over Death Valley, by Mt Whitney, and over Mammoth Pass to circle Yosemite Valley. After landing at Mariposa, we all piled into a van and toured Yosemite from the ground.

Today we took off from Mariposa and headed up the San Joquin Valley, flew past Mt Shasta, circled Crater Lake, made a flyby at Van’s facility, and landed for lunch and a tour of the Spruce Goose. Our planned flight to Port Townsend was over come by thunderstorms and rain in Puget Sound, so we laid over in Aurora and hope to continue in the morning.

Here’s a few pictures to show we really did see these places.

More later.

Stu McCurdy - [stumccurdy 'at' earthlink 'dot' net]
Falcon Flight


Part II

Well, as last reported we stayed over at Aurora OR because weather precluded going into Port Townsend WA.  Wednesday, while we waited for the weather to clear Phil at Van’s helped us with a maintenance problem.  Weather reported better, so we launched and made it all the way up the valley past Olympia and Bremerton to within 15 miles of Port Townsend when the clouds and trees became one.  We turned back and landed at Bremerton and caught some cabs to our Victorian hotels along Water Street in Port Townsend.  We had a great dinner at the Belmont Hotel and celebrated Danny and Mary Kight’s 20th Anniversary.

This morning, the guys rode back to Bremerton to get the airplanes while the gals window shopped along Water Street.  We then flew the planes over to the Port Townsend airport, had breakfast at the Spruce Goose Café on the field where the gals joined us.  Now behind schedule because of the weather delays, we launched off for an air tour of the San Juan Islands rather than stopping at Friday Harbor for lunch as planned for Wednesday.

After refueling, we took off headed to Burley ID.  We climbed out over the Cascades at Snoqualmie Pass with snow capped Mt Rainier looming large off our right wing, flew past Yakima and Pendleton, and flew down the valley to Boise.  We descended for an airtour of the Snake River Canyon and Twin Falls and landed at Burley.  As arranged, we conducted an airshow practice there at Burley for the town’s Regatta Week.

We will be off in the morning to fly over Bear Lake and down the valley in Wyoming past Rawlins and Elk Mountain to be at Front Range Airport south of DIA by noon.  There we register of the RMRFI Airshow and conduct another practice, then Saturday and Sunday we perform in the airshow.

The West Coast Trip Long Way Around to RMRFI saga then ends as we all return to home base and start planning the next.

Stu McCurdy  


West Coast Trip Long Way around to RMRFI, Part 3

Well, as last reported we headed to Burley ID. We climbed out over the Cascades at Snoqualmie Pass with snow capped Mt Rainier looming large off our right wing, flew past Yakima and Pendleton, and flew down the valley to Boise. We descended for an airtour of the Snake River Canyon and Twin Falls (picture attached) and landed at Burley. As arranged, we conducted an airshow practice there at Burley for the town’s Regatta Week.

Unreported was our visit with Wendy Smith’s Uncle Earl and Aunt Sandy. Quite an adventure as Earl has a couple bobcats he has raised since they were kittens. Quite an experience to have these CATS act like cats, eat out of our hand, climb on our shoulders, and nibble our ears.

We took off Friday morning and flew over Bear Lake, then down the valley in Wyoming past Rock Springs, Rawlins and Elk Mountain, over Laramie and into Denver airspace to head for Front Range Airport (FTG) southeast of DIA. There we gave them a 7-ship flyby, landed, and then received a great reception by the Rocky Mountain Regional Fly-in personnel. There we joined with the rest of Falcon Flight arriving from Texas, and registered for the RMRFI Airshow.

With impending storms, heat of the day, and HIGH density altitude, we decided to delay another practice until Saturday morning and attended a super Airshow Performers’ party. Saturday we took off 45 minutes before our airshow time and conducted a practice routine away from the airport, then returned to orbit for our call in. After taking care of some maintenance in the afternoon, we attended the RMRFI Banquet where one trip member, Danny “Speedy” Kight received the long distance award having come from South Carolina long way around. Sunday we performed in the airshow again.

The West Coast Trip Long Way Around to RMRFI saga then ended as we all took off for our return to home bases in Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, and Ohio. Planning for the next trip now begins.

Stu McCurdy