EDITOR: CAROL & GERRY HAMPTON AV8RGNH@SBCGLOBAL.NET 530-676-7755
Hi folks, it has been a busy fly-in year with a well attended National fly-in in early June at Dayton, OH; the RRSW folks at Fredericksburg TX in mid September and West Coast Swift National at Westover Field, Jackson, CA in late Sept. Included are reports on these events.
In addition, Denis Arbeau, set up a fly-in at Nancy’s Restaurant at Willows, CA, with 6 Swifts in attendance, with the intent to schedule additional, monthly local fly-ins.
As the year draws to an end, we hope everyone had a great flying year and look forward to much more in 2015.
Westover 2014 Sept 18-21
Report from Swifter Don Thomson:
It took more than forest fires, fire-gutted towns (Weed, CA), aerial tankers and thick smoke to keep 25 Swifts from landing at the Jackson County (Westover Field) airport in California on the weekend of September 19th through the 21st. This year marked the 29th or 30th annual West Coast National Swift Fly-in (depending on whether you count the national disaster of 09/11/2001 – which cancelled the event).
To say that getting to the event was difficult might be the biggest understatement of the entire weekend. Depending upon the direction from which you arrived, you were forced to navigate around valleys full of smoke near the California-Oregon border, and even more smoke from a huge fire near Highway 50 northeast of Westover Field. The result was the that 450-mile long San Joaquin Valley was filled with smoke and haze that made for beautiful orange sunsets but difficult flying. Just having ground contact was something to brag about. Fortunately, most of us were either IFR current or were able to muster the skills necessary to get there on the “steam gauges” (supplemented by hand-held or panel mounted GPS systems). Since the San Joaquin Valley averages about 45 miles wide, it resulted in over 27,000 square miles of MVFR. Okay, nuff said about the weather.
Dave Richards was our host this year and he had the registration table set up early to welcome the Thursday arrivals. The ramp was almost filled when I arrived late Friday afternoon on the wing of Doogie Robison and Tom Numelin. We hurried to the motel for a quick check-in and then back to the airport. We had a wonderful, catered meal of BBQ brisket, chicken, baked beans, green salad and garlic bread. A local service group provided a bar and two delightful bartenders for the evening. The temps were mild, but I did notice a few watery eyes and some coughing from the smoke. Everyone chatted and visited well into the night.
Saturday morning brought somewhat cleaner air and several Swifts departed early for a fly-out breakfast to the Lodi airport. Their breakfast flight took them over the beautiful Comanche Reservoir to the Lodi Airport, some 40 miles from Jackson. The airport restaurant boasts new management on their website and they have a motto that I’m not quite sure how to interpret… “Where good pilots land and brave pilots eat”… really, I took this from their website! I didn’t hear any bad reviews, so I’m guessing everyone made it out okay!
The ramp was full of folks kicking tires, wiping soot from their wings and judging aircraft for the awards to be given out at the banquet.
I’m guessing 75-85 people arrived at Thomi’s banquet room on Saturday evening. Once again, we were treated to a wonderful meal of pork loin, chicken, green beans, salad, and apple cobbler for dessert. We are beginning to see more Swifters arriving at Westover in vehicles than in the past, but giving the age of our group, it’s understandable. Conversations have switched from how fast our planes were and how many bounces we made on arrival to Medicare supplement plans and Viagra. I can’t refer to these times as the “golden years”; it’s more like the “metallic years” (you know, metal in our hip, silver in our teeth, lead in our butts!)….
At the beginning of the Saturday night dinner, Dave Richards lead everyone in a silent toast to our departed founder, Charlie Nelson. Following the toast, Janie Nelson thanked the group for the many emails and cards of sympathy she’d received. There was nary a dry eye in the room.
Janie also called Denis Arbeau to the stage. She recalled a story about a painting of a Swift Charlie had kept on his wall for many years. The Swift was Denis’. She wanted Denis to have the framed painting. Denis graciously accepted it, told the crowd how much he’d enjoy having it for a while, but then referred to himself as only the “caretaker” of the painting. Denis promised to return it to the Swift Museum when the time is right. The painting will be there for all to enjoy. That was a class act, Denis!
Dave Richards and Gerry Hampton gave out the awards for the event:
Best Custom went to Kyle Hook of Petaluma, California
Best original went to Tom Numelin of Fairfax, California
The Bud Knox Award went to Hal Cope of Spring, Texas
The “tired butt” award went to Bill Jinnings of Dalton, Georgia (17 hours in the Swift).
The crooked raffle was conducted with a number of nice (read that donated) gifts taken home…
The hospitality room at the motel was going strong well into the evening with lots of visiting and stories being told.
Departure times on Sunday were determined by how far you had to fly and how much smoke remained in your course of travel. I departed at 8:30am with Ernie Hansen (with passenger Dot Shepherd), Doc Mahoney and Nate Andrews. We hit some rain, smoke, haze and yuck for about 65 miles before finally breaking out when we stopped in Medford, Oregon for fuel.
Two DC-6 aerial tankers departed Medford in front of us, fully loaded with retardant and headed to yet another fire.
We stopped in Independence, OR, where we fueled and ate lunch before the Diamond Pointers headed further north without me. It was nice having them on my wing as we negotiated our way home. There’s always safety in numbers.
Dave Richards has “volunteered” to do it again next year, so be sure to follow the announcements on the Swift website. I enjoyed seeing everyone, and apologize for not being able to spend even more time visiting with you…..
Another view of Westover from
Swifter Karl Johanson and Dave Rogers
Another chapter of the annual West Coast Swift Meet is closed for 2014. This year marked the 29th anniversary of the Swift gathering in Jackson, CA at KJAQ and once again the weather cooperated with warm temperatures and only a little rain on Saturday night long after we had headed back to the hotel for dinner. I counted 24 Swifts, a C182 and a Christian Eagle gracing the ramp this year. Dave Rogers and Brad Stahl were our hosts this year and did an excellent job organizing the event following many years of the Hampton’s performing those duties. Early bird arrivals on Thursday were treated with an opportunity to gather for dinner at the Bella Rosa which turned out to have two locales, same owner, one in Jackson and one in nearby Sutter Creek. No worries, the Swift crew managed to give them both our business and I know we enjoyed the food in the Main St., Jackson establishment.
Friday morning was setting up, hanging out and watching and waiting for fellow Swifters to arrive. We knew that there were going to be some who attended the Red River Swift Wing event in Fredricksburg who might find two weekends in a row and great distances to cover to be too much travelin’ so our numbers this year were impacted by consecutive events, simple conflicts such as nearby Santa Rosa’s Wings Over Wine Country moving from August to the same weekend and to a limited extent the impact of the numerous forest fires that were creating a barrier to air travel from east to west. This date works well for most people and follows the Reno Air Races every year so I think we stick with it next year.
We had a great Friday night barbeque out at the gazebo overlooking the runway. Dave and Brad recruited one of Jackson’s very talented barbeque team, Incahoots that did an outstanding job of grilling chicken and beef and a mobile bar provided by the Jackson Rotary Club who had to restock their Sierra Nevada due to demand from a very discriminating crew of Swifters. It was a perfect evening to be outside and so nice to be amongst friends and runway lights.
Saturday morning we had several aircraft fly out to Lodi (an interesting wine region east of Napa and a very active skydiving venue). Try as we may, we were unable to snag any of chutes before landing and joining the crew at the breakfast table. Original plan was to fly up to Auburn but fortunately, Scott Nauman learned that the airport was hosting an AOPA event that day so good thing we didn’t get mixed up in that crowd. After returning to JAQ, we regrouped and formed a convoy to head out to do some serious wine tasting invasions at several local vineyards. Carol and Gerry Hampton led the charge and we all had a great time (biggest turnout ever 😉 Needless to say, we came, we tasted, we purchased and thus contributed to the local gross domestic income. We had a great time as the photos will attest.
The Saturday night traditional dinner at Thomi’s was well attended and food was great as has been the case every year for some time. Over the years that I have attended, we have used several different venues for our Saturday dinner and Thomi’s seems to work well (close to the hotel as well). Lots of awards for People’s Choice for best original, best custom, judges picks. Tom Neumelin picked up the Best Original and Kyle Hook won the Best Custom. (Dave, please fill in the details here as I did not keep track). A number of guests answered the call for donated raffle items so there were many items to choose from, if you had a winning ticket. Sure felt like everyone won something! Thanks to all who contributed.
Dot Shephard came down on her own from Diamond Point (rumor was that Bill had a date with a P-51 over the weekend and had to make that difficult choice, well actually that’s a no-brainer).
Janie Nelson joined us for the weekend and we were happy to have her with us and Charlie in spirit. Jerry Mahoney picked up Dick Collins over in Santa Clara and flew him to Jackson in Dick’s own Swift. Very cool Jerry! Erin played a nice slideshow honoring our Swifters whom we have said final farewells to in recent years ending with a nice collection of pictures chronicling Charlie’s life as “the leader of the gang” A toast to all our friends Gone West. We ended the evening at the hospitality suite which was packed. For next year we have been advised by the hotel manager that we will be given the breakfast room to use as the hospitality room, more space to congregate.
In closing I want to once again thank Dave and Brad for organizing this year’s event and volunteering to be our host team again in 2015. They will need our help so don’t hesitate to volunteer! Your assistance, however large or small, will be surely appreciated. Suggestions for improvements are also welcome.
Next year is our 30th West Cost Swift Meet anniversary.
Mark your calendars and start planning now. We want it to be the biggest and best ever.
Swift National 2014 Dayton Wright Brothers Airport June 4-8
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 Nunleypresented a flag which she carried onboard during one of her combat missions into Afghanistan in Honor of the Swift Museum Foundation. Pam Nunley presented twoExecutive 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 toMr. John Bosch, Scherry Diamond and Michael Williams for their exceptional sponsorship and support for Swift National. And lastly, Bill presented an award of gratitude toAmanda 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
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
Red River Swift Wing Gathering 12-14 Sep
Our 2014 RRSW Fall Gathering was again held in Fredericksburg, Texas. Our Headquarters was again the fantastic Hangar Hotel which is located on the flight line of the Fredericksburg Airport. The weather was an issue this year and some of us came in a day early to avoid a front that was due to be coming through the Dallas area on Thursday. Being at Fredericksburg a day early gave me the chance to spend most of Thursday at the Pacific War Museum in downtown Fredericksburg. This is a great museum if you haven’t had the opportunity to visit. Our Wednesday and Thursday evening meals were held at the Cabernet Grill, which was formerly an old
Friday’s activities included a fly-out to San Marcus, Texas and a visit to their CAF museum along with lunch at the FBO. We returned to Fredericksburg just as the weather began to change. Cool temperatures and a drizzle would keep us inside. The Officer’s Club was the social gathering spot for the gang on Saturday and we still had a great time. The ladies went shopping in Fredericksburg and no one seemed to get bored. The weather did keep a number of RRSW members from flying in and we missed our Saturday arrival group.
We had a great time and the Wilson’s have invited us back to Pecan Plantation for our 2015 event. The tentative date will be the last weekend of October so start making your plans. Until next year, fly safe.
We had a great time and the Wilson’s have invited back to Pecan Plantation for our 2015 event. The tentative date will be the last weekend of October so start making your plans. Until next year, fly safe.
To see all the pics, go to: http://redriverswiftwing.org/RRSW%202014%20Gathering.pdf#view=FitH
From Denis Arbeau who set up a fly –in at Nancy’s Restaurant in Willows on Oct 18th:
Just like old times! A nice gathering of Swifts and Swifters. Kicking tires, telling stories and eating lunch. We all commented on how much we had missed doing this.
With all respect to “Mother Nature” as winter is coming… I’ve got the feeling we’re still gonna do our best to make this a monthly event moving forward.
N78074 – Don Bartholomew – Minden, NV
N1043U – Richard & Arlys Clinton – Fair Oak, CA
N853D – Bill O’Connell – Redwood City, CA
N80779 – William R. Stein – Aptos, CA
N3398K – Brad Stahl & Wife – Jackson, CA
N3307K – Denis Arbeau – Napa, CA
Via Car/Quilt Store…
David & Karen Palmer – Sonoma, CA
Will let everyone know when we pick a November date.
The above information is accurate as far as we know it, if we receive
notification of changes to date, time, locations, etc. we will update you.
The ANNUAL DUES for 2015 for a newsletter sent by e-mail is $5.00 and you must provide us an email address. If you want it mailed, US Post office, the dues remain at $15.00 – we still have to offset the expense of printing, mailing labels, stamps, etc. For our Canadian friends, we must continue to ask for $20.00 because of the higher postage fees.
Carol & Gerry Hampton
FOOTNOTE from Denis:
Under the old saying “…if it’s your idea you’re in charge of it…” it should be clarified that the monthly fly-ins being scheduled in Northern & Central California are being spearheaded by Swifters Don Barhtolomew and Richard Clinton. I offered to manage the mailing list and facilitate.