The Mission of TRARON (Training Squadron One) is to be the sole authorized provider of formation training and certification for members of the Commemorative Air Force. Such activities will be in accordance with the National FAST protocol and CAFRs. TRARON will also serve as the liaison and signatory representative to the National FAST Board.
Dear Traron MembersI hope all of you have survived the winter and are now making ready for the flying season. I am realizing that many of you have been flying again for some time. Up here in Wyoming, spring is always a bit slow to develop but it is now beautiful and green with occasional nice warm days. I am also realizing that it has been quite a while since have sent out a letter to communicate with all of you. I have been very involved all winter in building a house for Laurie and I and time has really gotten away from me. We managed to continue to work on the house all through the winter in spite of the snow, ice and cold weather and considering our very small crew, just 3 of us, we have managed to accomplish quite a lot. I didn’t have many home building skills to begin with but I am learning.
Since our formation clinic at Midland last fall, I have been working with some of the powers that be in an effort to clarify the new CAF formation rating issue and that has proven to be a problem. The language has already been written into the CAF 60-1 regs and now it is difficult to get that language changed. The intent of the program is to make it easier for prospective pilots to get some home based formation training prior to attending an official clinic but the regs are written in such way that the leadership of Traron has real concern about the safety and efficacy of the program. We have been working to try and clarify the regs and provide a means for people to get safe and standardized training that will transfer well to a formation clinic when the prospective pilot can attend. As written, the regs don’t specify anything about how prospective instructors will be chosen, what materials will be used as training aids, whether ground school is to be included and what criteria will be used to determine if a formation candidate qualifies for a so-called CAF formation rating. Traron leadership feels that this program is potentially very dangerous and could very easily lead back to a “good old boy” system that the CAF has worked diligently for the last 20 years to eliminate. Traron is not trying to stop formation training at the local level. That is an important part of formation training. What we are trying to do, is to be sure the training that is given is safe and consistent with the F.A.S.T. doctrines that everyone is flying off the same sheet of music when we get together. Formation flying is one of the most demanding aeronautical disciplines that any of us ever undertake and thus, is one of the most dangerous, and it does not matter if the formation flight is undertaken at an airshow in waivered airspace or over a local parade, funeral or ballgame. It is still very dangerous and needs to be taken very seriously. The F.A.S.T. program was initiated to eliminate all the differences that existed in the formation community in the early 90s and the program has been very successful. We don’t want to do anything that leads training away from those standards. Formation pilots from all over the country can get together at an airshow and fly a safe and beautiful formation flight because of the standardized training. Lets not jeopardize those standards by diluting the program. The CAF has preached safety in everything we do for the last couple decades and now the powers that be seem willing to set aside the standards of one of the most successful groups in the CAF over that time period in the pursuit of making it easier to fly formation locally without complete training.
Our next item of business is the Midland, or more correctly, the Odessa clinic in the fall. With the move to Dallas by the HQ staff, the Midland airsho is being planned by the High Sky Wing. The dates of the Airshow are set for the end of August rather that the first of October due to the availabilit of th Thunderbirds who have been contracted to fly the show. If we hold a formation clinic in conjunction with the show, the weather would promise to be very hot. What I would like is some input from all you Traron pilots on whether you are interested in attending a clinic at that time of the summer. The Desert Squadron has already indicated that they are ready, willing and able to host the clinic and the High Sky Wing would love to have us there to participate in the show. Please let me know your feelings about this subject so we can make some plans in a timely fashion.
My last item of business is more personal. When a group of us agreed to organize the formation clinic at Odessa last fall, it was because the leadership at the time had dropped the ball and no plans had been made. I agreed to accept the role of Traron Lead again to get the clinic off the ground. It was with the understanding that I would hold the position only until a replacement could be found. I knew I would have very limited time since we were just getting started building our home here in Wyoming. So far, no one has stepped up to assume the leadership role for Traron so it is time to put out the call to the members for help. If you would have an interest in leading our group or know someone that you think would and could do a good job as Traron Lead, please let me or Chuck Marshall know and we will try to help make the arrangements. Traron has been a very good and successful detachment for many years and we want it to continue that legacy into the future. It has indeed been my honor to lead this great group of talented pilots for a total of more than 8 years over 3 different time periods but it is time to pass the torch.
May 23, 2015
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