Gilmer Flyers Give Rare Look At Practice - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/17/07-Gilmer

Gilmer Flyers Give Rare Look At Practice

Gilmer pilots spend countless hours practicing teamwork in vintage planes for air shows and festivals around East Texas.  Flying vintage World War 2 T-6 aircraft in tight formation, however, is not as easy as it looks.  Flight of the Phoenix pilots work many hours practicing even the most basic maneuver.

"We are working in very close proximity," said Pilot Jim Marks.  "We're mere inches from each others wingtip to canopy.  It's vital that you brief everyone and that they know their roles in the formation, and that everyone understands who's going to do what and when."  A lot like playing sports together, teamwork is everything and learning your team mates habits.

"Well, it's very important that we train together and learn how to fly close formation with each other," said Flight Commander Steve Dean.  "We learn each others particular technique the way we fly of course.  What we try to do is smooth out the differences, so when one is leading, or another is leading, it's always the same."  A mistake at close quarters, could be deadly.  For the pilots, practice really does make perfect.

"That's why we do these practice missions, so that when we go do these air shows and fly-by's that we show the public the right thing," said Marks.

The group regularly fly missions on Memorial Day, Veterans Day and for the Yamboree Festival. Their next scheduled performance is set for Armed Forces Day in the Spring on May 17th.

Bob Hallmark, Reporting. bhallmark@kltv.com

 

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