The SSAG group went “Over the Top” in their planning and execution of a fantastic Swift Nationals. The fact that the centerpiece would be the largest aircraft museum in the world, one of the guest speakers was a direct descendent of the Wright family, the Wright Brothers museum was directly next door to the convention facility, and the Commander Air hangar was staffed with the friendliest folks I’ve ever seen, well, combine that with excellent organization and the results were fantastic. “Froggy” Jones had twisted every arm in the general aviation community and had a tremendous collection of very, very nice aviation parts and accessories for auction, all proceeds going to the Swift Assn. My perspective is somewhat biased since I enjoy museums and spent all day Thursday at the Air Force Museum since I knew I would need more than one day to see it. On Friday Mr. Steve Whittenberger supervised the loading of the charted bus and away we went. straight to the museum from the hotel after breakfast.
The first stop was at the museum and after a short stop we loaded up again and headed for the restoration/Presidential/X-bird area, which is located in a different area. Seeing the real “Memphis Belle” under restoration was a treat.
Another attraction that was very interesting was an Iraq Mig 25 which had been buried in the sand and dug up by our forces. The restorers mentioned that they are still finding sand in her.
After we wore our feet out at the museum we returned to the airport for our Friday evening program which included a missing man formation which featured Dave Anderson on the bag Pipes and four of our best in their Swifts doing a very touching fly-by.
Friday evening’s program featured Amanda Wright Lane, who is a descendent of the Wright family. She is a very enthusiastic and gifted speaker and helped us understand her uncles, Orville and Wilbur.
Sylvia Brown was the recipient of this year’s RRSW Gloria Warden Award for her dedication to the Swift Community. She is very deserving and worked her empennage off during this event.
The Saturday activities started with our annual business meeting, which Bill Kientz handled with great skill and then turned the stealth gavel over to Will Roberson.
The afternoon activities included a formation competition with two four and two three ship teams competing. That equals skilled aviators and each year the competition improves. The Burrito Brothers were again Four Ship Champs and Raven Flight (Wade Gillaspie) took the three ship trophies.
I did not take notes ref. the aircraft trophy winners so hope that someone else will have that list.
Saturday evening had us assembled in the Commander hanger, which was quite spacious, and a banquet meal was served which would be hard to beat at three times the money. The caterers were wonderful during the entire event.
Mike Williams was our featured speaker at the banquet and gave a very impressive presentation about “volunteering.” He has more energy than the “Battery Bunny”.
Points of special interest:
Seven Swifts flew in together from Diamond Point. WOW.
Fern Villeneuve who is 84 (I think) flew in from Canada. WOW.
“Froggy” generated over $10,000 from his auction for Swift. WOW.
Nobody got hailed on. WOW.
That’s the way I remember it.