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San Juan Squadron to kick off Fourth of July parade with flyover

For the fourth year in a row, the San Juan Squadron will kick off the Independence Day parade in Pagosa Springs with a flyover of the downtown area.

At exactly 10 a.m., two formations of three ships will pass over the parade route, from west to east.

The formations will then circle over the Archuleta County Fairgrounds and fly over the parade route again, from the opposite direction, breaking off into a starburst maneuver.

The first formation will be led by Tom Broadbent in his Boeing Steerman 450, a plane made in 1942.

To Broadbent’s left wing will be Jim Lane in his Bonanza. On his right wing, Ray Laird will be in a Bonanza.

The second formation will be led by Craig Taylor in his RV-8. To his left will be Dave Peart in his Mooney. On his right will be Mike Rice in his Bonanza.

Broadbent has lived in Pagosa Springs since 1974 and has been flying for over 40 years, beginning as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam.

Lane has been flying for 30 years since leaving the army, where he served as a paratrooper. Lane began flying civilian aircraft in the early 1970s, and has been formation flying for over 10 years.

Laird received his flying license in 1956 through the Air Force ROTC while in college. After graduating college with a commission as a second lieutenant, Laird began pilot training in the Air Force, followed by gunnery school. Laird then served a number of tours before being discharged in 1965 and working for a commercial airline. Laird retired in 1996 with over 17,000 hours of flying time.

Taylor, one of the newest members of the Squadron, is a 7 1/2 year Air Force veteran who flew A-7 fighter jets. As a civilian, Taylor made a career providing parts for the auto racing industry.

Rice, who makes his home near Albuquerque, is a former commander of the New Mexico National Guard. Rice flew A-7 and F-16 aircraft, and was a squadron commander. Rice also served as airport manager for the Albuquerque International Sunport.

Peart served in Special Forces in Vietnam and was an executive with Daimler Chrysler Corporation. Peart has explored the U.S. with his wife and four children in various small planes over the years.

With the exception of Rice, all the men are at least seasonal residents in Pagosa Springs.

A portion of the squadron treated the survivors and supporters at the Relay for Life to a special flyover, as the three pilots who participated had personal ties to cancer.

Lane said his daughter is a survivor of Hodgkin’s lymphoma and pancreatic cancer, while Laird is a survivor of bladder cancer and Peart’s father died of pancreatic cancer.