May 17

The theater world hopes for a substandard dress-rehearsal leading to a stellar opening night. The D-Day Squadron fulfilled the first half of the sequence.

Names, tail numbers are not important. We’re all in this together. The kafuffle began with a call-out for a break-up and rejoin with the lead continued its turn to 240-degrees, challenging geometry and turning toward planes trailing in the formation. “Knock it off” was called, a phrase used in formation flying to indicate abandonment of the maneuver in the interest of safety. Any member of the formation has license to call “knock it off.” Formation procedures were followed allowing disbursed aircraft to first create a trail, then return to their assigned positions in the formation. There were other points in the debrief but nothing even bordering on safety of the flight. The experience reminded all of us that executing the game plan once (yesterday) is no guaranty we will execute it as well in the future.

To punctuate our several opportunities for improvement, we encountered very strong and gusting crosswinds for our landings. One DC-3 left the runway into the safety area (no damage to the aircraft) and another went around, not liking conditions on short final approach.

Repairs of N877MG have been limited to replacement of a bolt and a magneto lead. This speaks volumes about the quality of the restoration of N877MG and the ongoing maintenance it receives.

John Sessions

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