by Steve Whittenberger
Swift National 2014 is now over and what a show it was. We had a great crowd (over 135 for Friday and Saturday night), 50 Swifts showed up at one time or another, rides in the Wright B Flyer, good food, excellent accommodations, spirited formation contests, and some wonderful speakers …..all in the cradle of aviation…. Dayton, Ohio. Top that off with the finest aviation museum in the world … The National Museum of the United States Air Force. We were blessed with good weather most of the time which always begets a successful fly in. In this issue we will concentrate on the fly in, add some pictures and then will finish up with additional comments and pictures in the July Issue of the Swift Newsletter.
Board Chairman Comments
by Will Roberson
Thank you for allowing me to be part of your Swift Museum Foundation. It was an honor to be asked to serve as chairman of the organization for the next two years. It was also my pleasure to meet with all of you who could attend Dayton … and for those of you who could not … please read your newsletter carefully and check our website for all the details. The Swift Museum Foundation, Inc. is poised for a great year with all kinds of exciting activities, programs and developments. I am thrilled to have Pick Freeman (Vice Chairman) and Sam Swift back on the board. It is also gratifying to have a healthy Mark Holliday back on the Board as well….and Mark is looking and feeling as good as new. Roger Weber from Oregon has also agreed to come aboard and with his enthusiasm and penchant for hard work Roger will surely be a strong Board member. A warm welcome to all these dedicated volunteers. I also want to acknowledge the exceptional efforts that past Chairman Bill Kientz put forth on Swift’s behalf. He guided us through a difficult period and yet we accomplished a lot in getting our parts department and office facility built and got it up and running plus we kept moving forward toward a more unified and productive Swift. Outgoing Board members Ernie Hansen and Paul Mercandetti also shared the load and made significant contributions. Well done to all!
This will be a year where many of you will be called upon to continue your support for Swift. We have never needed member’s contributions of time, energy, initiative and monetary support than right now. The organization is in transition and together we can emerge from the transition even stronger than before. I’m asking every Swifter to do all that he or she can to give this worthwhile organization your “all”. We can all get a clearer picture of what Swift can be if everybody chips in to help. You can help… by saying yes… when a project leader calls upon you for some assistance with a project. Every effort… large or small…. is appreciated and needed. Swift has paid me years and years of dividends through the friendships, experiences, knowledge, adventures that have contributed to my quality of life in ways which have surprised me more and more with each passing year.
So please, don’t be afraid to get involved….and don’t be afraid to recruit others to join our organization. Swifter Jerry Kirby’s suggestion to give a gift membership to somebody who might enjoy Swift is certainly valid. Consider putting a flying friend or two on your Christmas list whom you believe might enjoy our newsletter for a year. To keep Swift healthy, we need to gain new members and to encourage Swift owners who are not members to join us once again. As we demonstrated at Dayton … the Swift spirit is alive and well and our members are just the best in aviation as we enjoy our Swifts, our friends and the camaraderie that ensues.
Executive Director Comments
From our view, everyone had a great time at Swift National this year in Dayton, OH. However, one very important face was missing from our midst. Our President Emeritus and my Dad Charlie Nelson was unable to attend due to health issues. He was greatly missed by us all. Thank you Dad for all you mean to the World of the Swift! This organization would not be here if it were not for all your hard work and perseverance.
I want to express my thanks to the SSAG for all the hard work they did in making our Swift National a huge success. The setting, the speakers, the historic area, the excellent hotel and food service just helped to make our members feel at home and from my view the smiling faces pretty much said it all. Well done SSAG. Which group will be the next to take on a National Convention? While we are always pleased to hold Swift National at Athens it is good to move around periodically. Let us know your desires.
Additionally, There are two important items coming up to keep in mind.
- Steve Wilson advises there will be a Swift presence at Oshkosh (July 28-Aug 3) that will include a forum on Monday July 28 led by Bo Mabry, parking in the Swift row. The Swift dinner will be 6:30 pm Tuesday (29th) at Kodiak Jacks. More details will be announced in next month’s newsletter. Stan Price will once again host the type tent effort. The procedure that worked well in the past of volunteers signing up for a 2 hour stint will once again be used. So please consult your newsletter before you go for the times and locations and please volunteer to help out in the type tent. Your support and assistance is enjoyed and appreciated!
- The Board voted to establish a commemorative “Factory Brick” program that will be prominent inside our new facility. We will have approximately 150 bricks to sell that were part of the old Globe factory in Saginaw, Texas. You will be provided with details on how to participate in the July Newsletter. This program will aid in raising much needed funds. It will be your choice as to how the funds will be used. The four choices are; Building Fund, General Operating Fund, Parts, or Endowment Fund. Support through the program will also give you, the member, a stake in Swift’s history. The Fund Raising Committee has also put together a “Replica Brick” Program that will surround our Globe Factory flag pole. It will be very nice when finished. Each member will be mailed information on both programs. We look forward to your participation, whether it be a memorial to a loved one, fellow Swifter or your own personal support.
We have a few event T-Shirts and hats left from the Swift National Store. Let us know if you would like to order. Quantities are limited. We also have the new book by Sparky Barnes Sargent titled “My Father, My Friends” in stock for $24.95. We also have copies of her previous two books; “A Hunger For The Sky” and “Tales of Timeless Wings.
Swift National at Dayton Wright Brothers Airport (MGY)
Prelude: For over a year, the Southern Swift Air Group (SSAG) had been planning this event. Actually, we at SSAG, were just completing the task for the two Swifters who generated this idea over ten years ago. Bill Kientz and Bill Harris had a good plan those many years ago but it was not to be. Nonetheless…..the idea they spawned never died. During many discussions during SSAG fly ins (and supplemented by a couple of libations) the idea never died. Finally the SSAG said…”why not us….why not now?” With the approval of the Board in 2013 we jumped into the fray. Dave and Debbie Carpenter led the charge and the first contact was in June of 2013 with the folks at Commander Aero. Scherry Diamond and Michael Williams totally bowled Dave and Debbie over with their enthusiasm and recommendations. We had other options such as Middletown (a few miles further south) and Moraine ( a few miles north) but nothing compared with the combination of Wright Brothers Airport (MGY) and the nearby Hilton Garden Inn plus the total support of Commander Aero. Dave could hardly contain his elation as he gave me a hurried call and since Joyce and I were heading to Indiana anyway from our home in Georgia …we scheduled another visit to MGY. And so it came to be. Dave and Debbie made several more trips to MGY area to work on food and transportation. Somehow I was put in charge of the overall effort and so I did what all good leaders do….delegate. Our Ad Hoc Steering committee expanded to Bud and Sylvia Brown to handle registration and transportation … Jim Jones to handle “contributions” from aviation companies….Carol Jones and Joyce Whittenberger worked on the Swift Country Store and I would handle the USAF Museum. We then tasked the rest of the SSAG to help out …which they always do. A bit more on Aviation Vendors ….Jim Jones started this at Oshkosh in 2013 and covered a lot of ground … but that was just the start. He then followed up with emails, telecoms, more emails, more telecoms….visits at Sun n Fun …..with the result that we received over $15,000 of merchandise from the vendors. This translated directly to good bargains for Swifters via the Silent Auction and the Raffles at MGY. Net result….approximately $ 10,000 for Swift and great savings to our members. It is our fervent hope that whoever sponsors the next Swift National ….will use this as a stepping stone and make vendor contributions a way of life for our annual gathering.
This was a total team effort. Good planning begets good execution and so it came to be. All of the SSAG pitched in to buy the Wright Flyer Models for Swift members. We felt it was a nice touch for what we hoped would be a memorable gathering. We hope you really enjoyed Swift National this year and thanks for coming. SJW The Chronolog follows:
Day 1 — Minus 4 Saturday May 31 – The “eager beaver” award goes to Steve Roth and Lynn Dawson who dropped off Steve’s Swift in front of Commander Aero’s hangar and then proceeded on to other activities in the Dayton area. Total Swifts – 1
Day 1 — Minus 2 Monday June 2 – The Southern Swift Air Group’s initial cadre/fly in steering committee of Dave and Debbie Carpenter, Bud and Sylvia Brown, Jim and Carol Jones arrive. Total Swifts — 4
Day 1 — Minus 1 Tuesday June 3 — Steve and Joyce Whittenberger arrive with a minivan full of goodies for Swift National. Hats, shirts, banners are already in place and Joyce, Debbie, Carol, Carolyn and Sylvia set up the Swift Store. Paul Anderson from Columbus arrives to help out. Bill Gwynn arrives from Hickory, NC, Perry Sisson and Carolyn Graves arrive from Florida, David Turner and Sandy arrive from Mass. We all go to Bone fish for a delicious dinner. Total Swifts — 8
Day 1 Wednesday June 4 – Weather spotty, flying curtailed, lots of moving aircraft around hangar but Swifters keep coming. Jerry Kirby, Paul and Sandy Mercandetti, Will Roberson and others arrive, Pizza ordered. At 8:45 PM the Burrito Brothers and others from the west coast arrive. More Pizza, more stories. West Coasters flew 16 hours in two days to arrive. Last day was from Montana to Dayton. Wow! What started out as a gloomy day ended great! Total Swifts – 20.
Day 2 Thursday June 5 – Beautiful weather. Greeted by Commander Aero owner John Bosch and assistants Scherry Diamond and Michael Williams. Stephen Reinke our official photographer arrives and starts shooting what will be over 2000 pictures. (We will compile these and they will be available to you via the Swift web site in a few days. Swifts keep coming, Steve Roth, Bud Brown and Dave Carpenter hustled to keep up with parking. Swift Board meeting; Formation School by Sandy Mercandetti and practice formation flights; Swift Forum by Bo Mabry, Dave Carpenter, Gerry Mahoney. Arrivals from Australia… Mark and Caroline Skidmore; from Canada….Fern Villeneuve; from France…. Romain Deveaux, Guillaume (William) Feral and Fred Grandmougin (who will fly N 61 PK to France next May much like Romain did in 2013). Sales at Swift Store Run by Joyce Whittenberger and Carol Jones were brisk. Several members took the opportunity to fly in the replica Wright B Flyer … lots of big smiles after that. Happy hour and delicious dinner as planned by Debbie Carpenter and executed by the Kroger Chefs. Total Swifts – 38.
Day 3 Friday June 6 – Beautiful weather for trip to USAF Museum. Big bus and many cars transport group to USAF Museum. Amazing place. Some go to Restoration and Presidential aircraft hangars across the base. This day was special as it marked the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Landing at Normandy in WW II. Many tired Swifters at Friday dinner….but happy. Swifter David Anderson from Conroe, TX plays a medley of patriotic tunes on his bagpipe plus Taps as the missing man formation flies over. Excellent formation by Sandy and Paul Mercandetti, Ernie Hansen, Jerry Kirby and Bill Shepherd. David Anderson looks sharp in his Scottish Kilt and regalia. The names of Swifters who have passed recently were read during the flyover ceremony. Gone West but not forgotten are: Jim Montague, Larry Adamson, H.G. Kirby, Ray Miller, Travis Hall, Buzz Winslow, Terry Bloom. All were great Swifters and added much to our heritage and organization. Another exceptional dinner catered by the Kroger Chefs and we were fortunate to have Amanda Wright Lane (great grand niece of Orville and Wilber Wright) join us for dinner and some comments. Absolutely delightful presentation and some nice insight to the fathers of aviation in our country. Amanda’s presentation was the perfect topping on a great day in the cradle of aviation. We wish you all could have attended. Also on Friday and Saturday evenings Jim Jones had his raffle crew hawking tickets for some of the nice donations from aircraft vendors. Gloria Mabry, Cindy Ecklesberry and Rita Calvert did a great job and sold over $2500 for the prizes. Well done ladies.!
Some awards were presented and all were well deserved. Stan Price presented the Gloria Warden Award to Sylvia Brown for her significant contributions to Swift. Candice Nunley presented a flag which she carried onboard during one of her combat missions into Afghanistan in Honor of the Swift Museum Foundation. Pam Nunley presented two Executive Director’s Awards to Ken Coughlin for his extraordinary support to Swift for several weeks while Pam was recovering from her injury and to Paul Mercandetti for his exceptional effort in moving the Swift Office to our new facility and shelving setup. These voluntary acts are indicative of the spirit of Swift and without these types of efforts we would have a difficult time surviving. Bill Kientz presented awards designed by Sylvia Brown to Pat Moore, Porter Houston and Bill Shepherd as Swifters with 50 or more years with the same Swift. It doesn’t get any better than that. Bill also presented awards of appreciation to Mr. John Bosch, Scherry Diamond and Michael Williams for their exceptional sponsorship and support for Swift National. And lastly, Bill presented an award of gratitude to Amanda Wright Lane for her insightful presentation on the Wright Brothers. What a great day!!! Total Swifts 46
Day 4 Saturday June 7 Again, beautiful weather for this day. We had the membership meeting and the members approved the new board members: Pick Freeman, Mark Holliday, Sam Swift and Roger Weber. All dedicated Swifters with lots of experience and a can do attitude. More formation practice getting ready for the big showdown in the afternoon. Several members did further exploring of the local area attractions and several paid another visit to the USAF Museum.
The Formation contest was spirited and closely contested.
The 4 Ship Winners were: The “Burrito Brothers” from Diamond Point: John Johnson, Bill Shepherd, Nate Andrews and Gary Eklund. They defended their title but it was close. Only I point separated them from Kirk (Beam me up Scotty) flight: Sandy Mercandetti, Jerry Kirby, Tripp Smith and Charlie Sidenstricker.
The 3 ship winners were: “Raven Flight” made up of Wade Gillespie, Bill Gass and David Anderson. Again it was close and Dusty flight with Paul Mercandetti, Will Roberson and Dave Turner was close behind. It looks like parity is setting in with our formation teams which is testament to Sandy Mercandetti’s hard work in formation school and training plus our other instructors who demand only the best. Well done.!
The Banquet Saturday night was really nice and the food prepared by the Kroger Chefs was exquisite. Prime Rib and Salmon was the fare with all the trimmings and it was set off by the nicely decorated tables. We were treated to a really fine presentation by Michael Williams on the history of the local area plus a lot of humorous anecdotes. Michael… as those of you who were there know … worked non-stop on our behalf to insure Swift National was a success. His bright green fluorescent shirt was just a blur as he was seemingly all over the ramp and hangar attending to details. His humor and dedication went a long way toward our enjoyment of this Swift National. He is not only a talented painter, photographer and historian but is also involved in all things aviation in the Dayton area. His enthusiasm and work ethic are truly remarkable. Total Swifts 50
We will list them for this newsletter along with photos but due to space limitations we will have to follow up with more photos next month. This was an outstanding display of Swift pride and the locals who saw the Swifts were in awe of the beauty of these vintage birds.
|Grand Champion Original||N3854K||Bob Lee, WI||Runner-up||N2383B||Dan Gidzinski, KY|
|Grand Champion Modified||N3783K||Nate Andrews, WA||Runner-up||N3729K||Steve Roth, VA|
|Grand Champion Super Custom||N80555||Will Roberson, TN||Runner-up||N3389K||Bruce Kaufman, WI|
|Most Original||N3854K||Bob Lee, WI|
|Best Panel||N3389K||Bruce Kaufman, WI|
|Best Paint||N3210K||Tripp Smith, SC|
|Best Polish||N2383||Dan Gidzinski, KY|
|Best Interior||N619JM||Roger Weber, OR|
|Ladies Choice||N78168||David DeVries, NH|
|Greatest Distance Traveled||Mark & Caroline Skidmore, Australia|
|Greatest Distance By Swift||Bill Gass, Mountain View, CA|
|Chairman's Award||Southern Swift Air Group, accepted by Bud & Sylvia Brown|
|Chairman's Award||Steve Wittenberger|
Wrap Up: Busy days, fun evenings, great friends, lots of Swifts, history, Wright B Flyer flights, excellent venue, great food, super hotel, some nice values through the raffles and silent auction…. world class USAF aviation museum…. what’s not to like. The SSAG loved hosting this event and sincerely hopes you had a great time. After all….a Swift National… regardless of where it is …. is all about Swifters and our Swifts. Best to you all. The SSAG