Page 6 - World Airshow News Q1
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                            S    ometimes things take a lot lon-  Oshkosh, so I rescheduled the team story for a fall issue. I didn’t
                                                               know it then, but life would soon also get in the way of my re-
                                 ger  than you  first expect  them
                                 to. Our cover story in this issue
                                                               vised Plan B.
                                 about the Phillips 66 Aerostars
                                                                  I had known for several months that my wife was scheduled
                             is proof positive that sometimes you   for hip replacement surgery over the summer. The original sur-
                             just can’t predict how long something   gery date allowed her enough recuperative time before AirVen-
                             seemingly simple will take to come   ture that I felt comfortable making plans to travel to Oshkosh as
                             together. It’s also a window into the   I have for over three decades. Unfortunately, sometime in May,
                             challenges we sometimes face here at   the surgeon’s office called and said they were going to have to de-
                             World Airshow News  in  coordinating   lay the surgery almost two weeks due to changes to the surgeon’s
                             and managing the content we put to-  schedule. Suddenly, the surgery would be taking place only about
                             gether for each issue.            twelve days prior to the start of AirVenture, so I immediately
                                The Aerostars article was originally   knew I wouldn’t be going to Oshkosh in 2019.
        planned for one of our mid-2019 issues, so team leader Harvey   I contacted Harvey to give him the bad news that we couldn’t
        Meek and I arranged an air-to-air photo shoot and team inter-  do the interview at Oshkosh, and would have to come up with
        view for Sun ‘n Fun in April 2019. The Aerostars would make a   a Plan C. After considering some creative telephone options, I
        great spring or summer cover story.                    decided to delay the article yet again and focus on getting the in-
           We had the photo shoot all set for Tuesday morning of Sun ‘n   terview done in December at the ICAS Convention in Las Vegas.
        Fun week, but low clouds and scattered rain forced us to cancel   Trying to align the schedules of four professional pilots to get
        that flight. The weather forecast was much better for the rest of   them all together at ICAS just before the busy holiday travel sea-
        the week, so we were confident we would still have no trouble   son can be a challenge. Harvey informed me in November that
        getting everything done.                               these scheduling realities meant he and teammate Paul Hornick
           Unfortunately, early on Wednesday morning, my telephone   would be staffing their booth at ICAS “as a two-ship” this year,
        rang with some bad news. Suddenly, I was packing my bags to   but we could tie-in the other team members by telephone. That
        drive home to North Carolina, meet my wife, and fly to New York   seemed workable, so we set it all up. Dave Monroe wound up
        City to deal with a family medical emergency. Our family mem-  having an unavoidable schedule conflict, so I had to chat with
        ber came through his issues with flying colors and is healthy and   him separately a bit later, but Harvey, Paul, and I we were able to
        well today, but my to-do list for Sun ’n Fun 2019 was trashed.  patch in Gerry Molidor by phone, and we finally got the inter-
           Fortunately, photographer Sheldon Heatherington was part   view done, eight months after we had first started trying.
        of our team covering Sun ‘n Fun, so he was able to take over
        responsibility for getting the air-to-air photo shoot completed.   A FORMATION TEAM FOCUS
        Sheldon has more air-to-air experience than I do, so as you can   As it turns out, the timing of the article on the Phillips 66
        see on our cover and in the accompanying article, his results were   Aerostars for this Winter 2020 issue couldn’t have worked out bet-
        outstanding. Thanks to Sheldon covering my six, we had the one   ter. Just after ICAS, I learned that Ryan Grantonic had wrapped
        big, important piece of the cover story already in the bag.  up a long-awaited piece he has been working on about the inter-
           Thanks to my sudden departure from Florida, however, we   nal team dynamics that drive the military and civilian formation
        would have to find another time to get the team interview done.   teams that we all enjoy watching at airshows. Our cover story
        While we do a lot of interviews over the telephone these days,   profiling one of the top civilian formation teams would become a
        interviewing four people over the phone can be a bit of a chal-  perfect companion to Ryan’s team dynamics article.
        lenge unless they are all in the same room. With multiple people,   We sometimes consciously plan a theme for our issues, but
        there’s better back-and-forth conversation when everyone is to-  sometimes, like for this issue, it just sort of organically happens.
        gether. The next opportunity for me to do an in-person interview   We all hope you enjoy this Formation Teams issue, proof positive
        with the Aerostars would be in July during EAA AirVenture in   that perseverance does indeed pay off.

                                       6  Winter 2020
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