Stu McCurdy of Georgetown said he’s a retired Air Force fighter pilot who couldn’t give up aviation after a 30-year career.
“I couldn’t hang up my G-suit, as we call it,” McCurdy said Friday at Brownwood Regional Airport.
McCurdy has traded the powerful F-4 Phantom jets he once flew for a prop-driven, kit-built plane he owns called an RV-8. McCurdy is in Brownwood this weekend to conduct a clinic in formation flying for other RV pilots.
RV planes began arriving at the Brownwood airport Friday, and McCurdy said 14 or 15 were expected for the clinic. The pilots are expected to have mastered academic material related to formation flying and procedures, and they need to have “excellent stick-and-rudder skills,” McCurdy said.
Today, the pilots will fly, and the planes will leave Sunday in an “all-up,” McCurdy said.
Formation flying, Mc-Curdy said, is fun, but hard work, requiring good hand-eye coordination and a desire to be in position.
McCurdy said he grew up in Rhode Island, and retired at Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin after a career that included combat missions in Southeast Asia.
He formed an airshow team in 1994 called Falcon Flight, which performs at about 20 airshows a year around the country. He conducts about six clinics a year on formation flying, and put on a clinic in Brownwood last year.
McCurdy said he knew airport manager Sharlette Bain when she managed the airport in La Grange, and flew to the Brownwood airport for a barbecue fly-in. He realized the airport here, with good runways, lots of ramp space and “wide-open air space,” was a great site for one of his clinics.
He said his RV-8 is a two-seat plane powered by a 180-horsepower engine, and has a top speed in excess of 200 mph.