Flight 99 Public Announcements

Flight Captain's Remarks November 2018
Posted by Michael Buck 10 Dec 2018

The November meeting was another good one; good friends, good spirits, and good food. In January we are intending to return to Malmstrom AFB. This will be the first time with the new caterer, Electric City Catering. At this point it appears that you will pay Flight 99 for dinner and wine, and then the Flight will pay the Grizzly Bend. More on this later.
Brent Murray played two very interesting YouTube videos for the evening’s entertainment; the first reviewed the adventures of legendary pilot, Bob Hoover, and the second summarized China’s military buildup on tiny islands in the South China Sea. I reported the Texas Board of Education was considering eliminating the history of the WASP pilots from new history textbooks; many school systems use Texas’ texts in their programs. The WASP’s organization mounted a protest, and asked for our support. In the end, more than 6,000 various communications were received by the Board. I guess they rarely get any- it impressed them, and they decided to retain the story of the WASPs in their textbooks.
The December 13th meeting at the Country Club will feature the Social Hour, a superb meal, and conversations. I’ll see you there!
Volabamus, Volamus!
Birdman

Flight Captain's Remarks, October 2018
Posted by Michael Buck 04 Nov 2018

As we have come to expect with the Meadowlark Country Club, the food and service were both excellent at our October meeting. It is very easy to become spoiled in such surroundings, and we will be spoiled twice more this year, as both the November meeting and the December meeting will be held at the Meadowlark club.
Please remember we will be on our winter hours for the next five months, with the social hour set for 1630 and the supper at 1730.
Last month’s program consisted of an excellent video produced by the History Museum which covered the Air Power presence in Great Falls spanning more than 70 years- and what a varied presence it has been! All types of aircraft have been based here, belonging to different countries- the United States, Russia, and even Canada (eh). Throw in missiles, GCI, Red Horse, and WAAF pilots, and it’s clear that we have had a bit of everything that flies here under our Big Sky.
On a more somber note, General Bruce Bramlette and his wife were involved in a car accident in Bozeman last month. Bruce got off with minor scrapes; Miriam, however, suffered leg, torso and head injuries. Miriam is currently on the mend at Benefis West.
Volabamus, Volamus!
Birdman

Flight Captain's Remarks, September 2018
Posted by Michael Buck 06 Oct 2018

The September meeting was held once again at the Meadow Lark Country Club. The atmosphere and amenities were very pleasant and the food was quite excellent.
We had an impromptu discussion about the Vietnam War and the experiences and feelings of the members. This exchange took place following a truly excellent presentation regarding helicopter gunships in Vietnam, given by our own Sam Prestipino. Sam flew Hueys and Cobras there, and he described in detail the missions and capabilities of both aircraft. The consensus of those present was that the war was a just undertaking hampered by the lack of a clear objective, fraught with errors in judgment and, in the end really doomed by poor leadership provided by civilians who had no idea of what the situation really was, or what they were doing… sounds kind of like today, no?
Rex and I met with Holly Hawkins, the airport’s Air Host supervisor, to gauge their interest in having us use their terminal facilities for our meetings; we will need a bit more information before we can make an assessment. We are also still trying to learn whether a new caterer has yet been named for the Grizzly Bend Club. More words at the October meeting!

Flight Captain's Remarks August 2018
Posted by Michael Buck 05 Sep 2018

We once again had our monthly meeting at the fine Meadow Lark Country Club. Our next meeting (on 13 September) will also be at the Meadow Lark because of the ongoing lack of food service at the Grizzly Bend Club. I spoke recently with the Grizzly Club’s manager, Marvin. I think it was on Friday the 13th… no, it just seemed like that; it was actually the 24th. I asked when a new caterer will be selected. Marvin said that the base contracting team is finishing up with the bids and so we should definitely have some news shortly… maybe.

Truly good news- we have had two new members join our Flight, and there are more interested!

The highlight of our last meeting was the awarding of Certificates of Completion to our two new soloed pilots. It was a pleasure to have them present, and for the Daedalians to meet both them and their families. Both students are now working on their private licenses and hope to have them before school starts this Fall. Vinnie gave an excellent in-depth presentation on the progress of our past student pilots; they are all progressing with their flying careers, and I hope to soon see one or more of them in a formal military pilot training program.

I’ll see you all on 13 September!

Volabamus, Volamus!
Birdman

2018 DFT After Action Report
Posted by Michael Buck 05 Aug 2018

Big Sky Flight’s Daedalian Flight Training (DFT) program was a complete success again this year. Our younger student, Tyler Grina, was a junior at CM Russell High School. Tyler is a varsity football player and an honor student with a 4.0 GPA. The challenging, windy weather had Tyler soloing at 17.0 hours, and he flew 0.5 hours of solo time. Tyler will be a senior at Great Falls CMR this year. Our older student, Nathan Moore, was a senior and also from CM Russell High. Nate was also a varsity football player, a class president, and an honor student with an overall 3.65 GPA. He has received an Army ROTC college scholarship. He started flying a week later than Tyler, but with better weather he was able to solo in 14.9 hours, and also flew 0.5 hours of solo time. He will attend the University of Montana in Missoula and will participate in Army ROTC, with a strong desire to fly helicopters for the Army. Ground school was a dedicated 5-day, 30-hour ground school, 6 hours each day, with videos and PowerPoint slides. The Ground school was conducted at the FBO from 0800 to 1400, Monday to Friday, with about 3-4 hours of homework assigned every night. The candidates each passed two stage tests and their pre-solo test before they were allowed to start flying. Both of the students were so impressed with flying that they have committed to pressing on with training to earn their Private Pilot licenses by this Summer!
Volabamus, Volamus!
Digger

Flight Captain's Remarks June 2018
Posted by Michael Buck 30 Jun 2018

Our last meeting was held at the Meadow Lark Country Club. The club’s ambiance, food, service, and accommodations were up to MLCC’s usual standards. We did miss Marvin, however we got over his absence. I talked with Marvin on 27 Jun about the Grizzly Bend Club getting a new caterer. He stated that the base Contracting office has now contacted several Great Falls restaurants and were just awaiting their replies. He said it will take a while for Contracting to complete its process, and so he suggested that we plan to go elsewhere for July. He will keep us advised of any developments. Therefore, please note that for 12 July we will again be gathering at the Meadow Lark Country Club!

This month Matt Lynde gave an excellent briefing covering his flight experiences, including his one and only touch-and-stop. He discussed habits, expectations, and experiences, all of which can lead you down the Primrose path to unwanted results- including his callsign, Gus… something about sleeping in one day and having a roommate yell “Get Up, Stupid.”

By the time we have our meeting both of our DFT flight students will have soloed. Vinnie and Pete will give us all a complete briefing on 12 July at the Meadow Lark CC.

V/V,
Birdman

DFT Program Update
Posted by Michael Buck 30 May 2018

This year we again interviewed 3 fine candidates for the Daedalian Flight Training (DFT) scholarship; a CMR senior, a CMR junior, and a junior from GFH who is very active in the AFJROTC program. We contacted counselors for all 3 Great Falls high schools, as well as surrounding high schools in Cascade, Conrad, Dutton, Fort Benton and Highwood. We also made information available to all MTANG members. Applications were due 16 April and interviews took place on 30 April. Big Sky Flight 99 members Jim Burman, Vince Bakke, and Paul Snyder, along with friend of the flight and our Certified Flight Instructor, Pete Dascoulias, made up the board. The students were asked to say a little about themselves- what their college and future professional plans are, and what their interests are in the military and in military aviation. All three applicants were well-rounded, with excellent academic records, fine athletic achievements, and community involvement. After the 3 interviews, all board members agreed that senior Nathan Moore and junior Tyler Grina were perfect fits for DFT. These two selectees are both committed to pursuing a military career and are both intrigued by military aviation. Ground School will run from 4 through 8 June. Flying will begin 11 June and both students should solo out by the of end the month.
Volabamus, Volamus!
Digger

Flight Captain's Remarks, April 2018
Posted by Michael Buck 03 May 2018

MORE SNOW! I’m going to go out on a limb and say that our May meeting will not be impacted by snow… hopefully… maybe. Keep your fingers crossed. In honor of Mother’s Day, we will once again be hosting our lovely wives. The Summer schedule is in effect, with Social Hour starting at 1700.
On 30 April we will be interviewing three applicants for our Daedalian Flight Training program. We will be able to name the two primary selectees and our lone alternate selectee during the June meeting.
On 23 April I attended the Great Falls High School US Air Force JROTC awards dinner. About forty cadets and their parents attended; another fifteen cadets were absent due to other school activities. I was pleased to make the acquaintance of the new AFJROTC Commander, Lt Col (ret) Brian K. Holbein, and his NCOIC, MSgt (ret) Mario Roque.
During the dinner I presented the Daedalian JROTC medal to two deserving cadets. To qualify for the coveted medal a cadet must demonstrate patriotism, a love of country, the desire to serve our nation, and also indicate a desire to pursue a military career. The winners must rank among the top ten percent of their JROTC class and be in the top 20 percent of the high school class academically.
See you all at the May meeting!
Volabamus, Volamus!
Birdman

Flight Captain's Remarks, February 2018
Posted by Michael Buck 04 Apr 2018

Our February attendance was greatly affected by the weather, with 8 members not showing for the meeting. It seems to me that Montana’s agricultural industry owes we Daedalians a great big thank you; If we didn’t hold our monthly meetings, the snowfall for this year would be a lot less, and the drought would still be in full swing. Here’s hoping that the March weather will be a lot nicer.

I know several members who are eager to pay their 2018 Flight 99 dues; these are due in May, and a bill will be sent to your address. There are also ten members who still owe for 2017. When you pay your dues, please consider also investing in the future of military aviation by adding a donation to your check. Those donations will cover half of the cost of our DFT this Summer for our 2 new pilots.

Several people researched the availability of surplus Colt Model 1911 45’s to raffle off to support our flying program. The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) is readying another batch of pistols for sale, but there are quite a few hoops to jump through. I did also check with a former 186th FS pilot, Jon Zink, to see if we could get the gun from his F-16, but he said the last time he saw the gun it was in a swamp in Georgia, in the middle of a big fire, and in the process of blowing itself apart.

That’s it for this month- I’ll see everyone on the 8th of March!

Volabamus, Volamus!

Birdman

Flight Captain's Remarks, March 2018
Posted by Michael Buck 04 Apr 2018

OK! First, before I forget, the April 12th social hour will begin at 1700 hours, followed by dinner at 1800.

Last month we had 21 members present for our meeting. This number was below the minimum number of people that the caterer requires. I visited with one of the owners and I explained what the Daedalians were and what our objectives are. She said that they will continue to serve us, and she thanked us for our service.

That night’s entertainment was a video Brent Murray found of a lecture by a Lockheed A-12 pilot. The A-12 was the predecessor of the SR-71 Blackbird, with performance and capabilities comparable to the SR-71, but it was a single seat aircraft to boot, whereas the SR-71 had a crew of two. I found it interesting that the aircraft had stealth technology and Electronic Counter Measures, plus SPEED, SPEEED, and lots of SPEEEED! It served as a simply outstanding reconnaissance platform, flying numerous missions prior to being supplanted by the SR-71 in 1968.

Next month we will be conducting our annual membership drive, seeking to add new members and collecting 2018 dues & donations. $24 covers Flight 99 dues; any amount above that will help us to train more future military aviators!

Flight Captain's Remarks, January 2018
Posted by Michael Buck 31 Jan 2018

We had a nice meeting, with 20 members and one guest present. The weather forecast kept our Helena members at home; as with many weather forecasts that one wasn’t very accurate and we only got a couple of inches of the white stuff. Still, I’m sure that had the pilots from Helena tried to make the trip for the meeting, the weather would have caused them to divert into Wolf Creek.

We had a guest, Zack Gossner. Gossner is a new member of the 120th AW and he is planning on attending pilot training in the near future. I told him we’re saving a place for him in Big Sky Flight.

There was also a fair amount of discussion about the upcoming availability of surplus Model 1911 Army Colt 45’s. I thought that we should consider acquiring one of these pistols and raffle it off, with the proceeds going to our cadet flying program. A friend of mine looked into this via the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s (CMP) web site. At this time there are no more surplus pistols available; however, additional model 1911s are scheduled to be released in the near future, so we’ll try again.

I’m looking forward to seeing all of you at our 8 February meeting!

Flight Captain's Remarks, December 2017
Posted by Michael Buck 01 Jan 2018

At our December meeting we had enough members and wives and guests in attendance- 32 diners total- that our Daedalian room was not an option, and we made do with the big ballroom instead.

As has become our custom for our Christmas meetings we had no guest speaker, but for this next year our Brent “Pyro” Murray has managed to find one or two that our wives will certainly enjoy, so stand by for a change in our usual modus operandi for the Mothers’ Day and Christmas meetings in 2018. More details to come soon.

We begin 2018 with many of our members- or their wives- facing very difficult health challenges just now; please keep these ailing friends in your prayers: Don Main, Ann Snyder, and Terry Mongeon.

It’s not too early to start thinking about our 2018 DFT solo student pilots; our ‘99 scholarship account stands just $1,500 shy of being able to train two future military aviators for Uncle Sam, so let’s all plan to donate funds as needed.

See you at 1630 on 11 January!

V/V,

Birdman

Flight Captain's Remarks, November 2017
Posted by Michael Buck 31 Dec 2017

We had a decent turnout for our November meeting, with 19 Big Sky Daedalians attending. There was a slight snafu with the timing of the meal, but that allowed for an extended social hour, which was warmly appreciated by all.

I proposed that we should make Carole Shanahan a Friend of the Flight; I think she has earned it.

Mike Buck gave his presentation on the history of the 186th Aero Squadron in World War One; that squadron, created one hundred years ago this month, was the forerunner of today’s 186th Airlift Squadron of the MTANG. With a slew of rare photos and even some vintage films, Alien took us back in time with a review of the runup to the war, how the US (finally) got involved, and how the 186th was one of hundreds of US squadrons sent overseas. Delayed by chronic shortages of airplanes and pilots, the 186th arrived at the front lines just in time to fly some combat missions before the Armistice was signed.

Brent Murray gave a tantalizing preview of potential speakers he has in mind for 2018. His plans prompted several other members to add their suggestions as well.

Remember that we are now on Winter hours for Flight meetings; I’ll see you on the 14th at 1630!

Flight Captain's Remarks, October 2017
Posted by Michael Buck 29 Dec 2017

The 12 October 17 meeting was attended by 22 members and our honored guest, Carol Shanahan. The business meeting was short, and will be reported by Mike Buck. On a happy note, all were glad to see Ted Cogswell at this meeting, and Paul Snyder and Ken Inabnit both reported that they expect to shortly introduce new members in the near future.

On a not-so-happy note, Paul and Rex reported on the health issues facing 2 of our members, Duane Hedahl and Don Main. Don sent a note to us concerning his condition and what steps are being taken in his fight against his cancer. We forwarded this email to all Flight 99 members, and Mike Buck has included it in this month’s Proceedings also.

For this meeting, we turned out to be our own speakers. There were two topics presented: first was what your personal “callsign” was, and how you acquired it, by committee, request, notable, (or not-so-notable) accomplishment, a few of the many avenues. The second was a short but pointed discussion of the TV series by Ken Burns on the Vietnam War.

Next month Mike Buck will give a talk commemorating the 186th Squadron, organized 100 years ago on 16 November, 1917.

Volabamus, Volamus!

Birdman

Flight Captain's Remarks, September 2017
Posted by Michael Buck 04 Oct 2017

We had a very nice turnout with 33 people in attendance at our September meeting. There were several guests present, including our guest speaker, Brigadier General (Ret.) R. G. Head and his wife, Carol. The 341st Vice Wing CC, Colonel Peter Bonetti, and his wife Natalie were also with us.

Because of the size of our group we wound up being seated in a portion of the “Big Room” rather than our Daedalians room. A big retirement ceremony preceded our event, but the caterer did well setting our tables up afterwards.

General RG Head’s presentation followed an introduction by his lovely wife, Carol. The General’s presentation was very well done, and covered a broad range of topics: strategy, living conditions, tactics, aircraft capabilities, and many more in-depth topics. The presentation ran for twenty-five minutes past our typical time limit, but as a testament to the quality of the show, none of our members fell asleep. We dispensed with a business meeting; therefore if you weren’t there, the only thing you missed was a really nice briefing.

I hope to see you all in October!

Flight Captain’s Words of Wisdom
If the Captain leaves the cockpit for a break, do not touch anything that is red…… or that is not shiny.

V/V,
Birdman