By Craig Taylor
Special to The SUN
For the 12th consecutive year, the San Juan Squadron, Pagosa’s own formation flying team, will open the Independence Day Parade.
The squadron will make three passes, each in a different formation, over downtown Pagosa Springs.
The first pass will be at exactly 10 a.m. as the parade begins its trek through downtown. It is highly recommended that you make your way to downtown early to pick your best vantage point for viewing the flyovers.
The lead aircraft will be flown by Craig Taylor, of Pagosa Springs. In the skies alongside Taylor will be Dave Peart, Michael Arbuthnot, Doug Dellmore, Skip Thomas, Jim Lane, Tim Gallagher, John Vander Horck and Travis Reese.
Prepare to be impressed by these pilots and their abilities with these beautiful airplanes.
The formation passes will be:
1. Diamond with two in trail (like a kite).
2. Double “v” formation.
3. Arrowhead (five aircraft in a “v” with one in trail as a stinger).
From the arrowhead, we will perform a fleur-de-lis break, with the left side aircraft turning sharply to the left, the right two aircraft turning sharply right, and lead and stinger going straight ahead.
Taylor flies this year’s parade formation in lead position, making smoke during the parade overflights. The aircraft is a Van’s RV8, painted red and silver.
Taylor joined the Navy in 1966 through the Aviation Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Fla. He earned Navy Wings in February 1968 and was assigned to Attack Squadron 25 in the A7Corsair II aircraft. He flew over 100 combat missions in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Ticonderoga (CVA-14).
After Vietnam, Taylor spent three years as an instructor pilot for Naval aviators transitioning to the A-7E aircraft. After active-duty service, he began a 20-year career as a corporate pilot flying a number of different corporate jet aircraft.
In 1990, Taylor left aviation, starting a small engineering firm in Texas with his wife, Marcie. Taylor gave no thought of flying again until 2005, when Tom Broadbent, of Pagosa Springs, provided a ride in his Stearman biplane.
What a joy to fly again.
The engineering business was sold in 2008, providing an opportunity to buy an aircraft, a kit-built RV8 in 2009.
The San Juan Squadron has welcomed the Taylors and provided great flying, camaraderie and friendship.
To date, Taylor has flown for over 10,000 hours, with 1,600 hours in the RV8.
Peart is one of the original members of the San Juan Squadron, formed in 2006. He now flies a candy-apple red, black and gold RV-14A that he and his wife, Becky, spent 5,022 hours building in their basement.
Peart is a retired Chrysler Corporation executive and a retired National Guard Special Forces Officer. They also operated a family business called Times and Vectors Inc., through which they bought and sold airplanes for three decades.
Peart and his wife have been married 47 years and have 21 kids/grandkids and have moved 21 times. Accordingly, they tell their story in the paint scheme on their plane with 21 gold stars/TIMES & VECTORS on the nose and a Viper and a Special Forces crest on the sides of the tail.
They have lived in Pagosa Springs since 2002 and are active members of the LDS Church, where Peart has taught an early morning seminary class to high school students for 10 years.
The Pearts love Pagosa Springs.
Arbuthnot is a retired CEO of an electronics manufacturing company. He and his wife, Caroleen, moved to Pagosa 13 years ago and built their home.
Arbuthnot received his pilot’s license in 1968 and started building his aircraft in 1988. He completed it in 1996 and has flown it for over 3,400 hours. He and his wife have flown it across the United States many times. He has been flying formation for 10 years here in Pagosa. His aircraft is a white GlassAir III.
Dellmore, Pagosa resident since 1990 and local pilot, will be flying a Cubcrafters Carbon Cub, yellow with silver wings, which is a short takeoff and landing recreational aircraft.
Dellmore has been retired from business since 2009, where he was active as an entrepreneur in various water treatment technologies and overseas ventures. He now enjoys spending time in Pagosa and the surrounding mountains for recreational opportunities such as flying, fishing, hiking and entertaining his children and grandchildren, who are growing rapidly and enjoy visiting our community.
Thomas will be flying a white and red Van’s RV4 in the Pagosa Springs Fourth of July parade.
Thomas began formation training with the San Juan Squadron three years ago and has attended a formal training program at Fredericksburg, Texas.
In addition to aircraft, Thomas is an accomplished helicopter pilot. He is also a classically trained violinist and is learning to fiddle with his friends in Pagosa Springs.
Lane is the founder of Pagosa Springs’ own San Juan Squadron of formation pilots. Lane organized the squadron in 2006 and has trained all of the pilots and served as lead for the last 11 Pagosa Springs Fourth of July parades. He has been flying precision formation flights for over 20 years. He has over 4,300 hours of total flying time as a civilian and served in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division.
Lane will be riding as co-pilot with lead pilot Taylor for the 2018 parade. He will ensure that the formation arrives overhead just as the last words of the National Anthem are sung.
Gallagher flies a Van’s RV4 painted white with blue trim. Gallagher has been flying with the San Juan Squadron for eight years. He at first flew his Piper Comanche in formation, then opted to rebuild and restore a damaged RV4 for formation and acrobatic flying.
Gallagher spent his career in Alamosa as a farmer and farm equipment dealer and now splits his time between Pagosa Springs and Alamosa. He and his wife, Marsha, are avid ATV riders and participate with the Pagosa Trail Riders ATV club.
John Vander Horck
Vander Horck moved to Pagosa Springs five years ago with his wife, Stacey, from southern California after retiring from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department as a commander with 34 years of county service.
As a young man, he began flying in 1965 at Van Nuys Skyways, a Cessna Aircraft dealer at Van Nuys Airport in southern California, where he worked. He attained his private pilot’s license in 1966 and his commercial pilot’s license in 1970. In the early ‘70s, Vander Horck worked for Ted Smith Aircraft as a flightline mechanic and flew with the production test pilots on the first 100 high-performance Aerostars built in Van Nuys. He later worked for Lockheed Aircraft in Palmdale, Calif., on the new Lockheed L1011 airliner.
He joined the sheriff’s department in 1971. Vander Horck built and dabbled in ultralight aircraft during the ultralight heyday of the early ‘80s, during which time he also owned and flew single engine Cessna aircraft.
Upon moving to Pagosa Springs in 2013, he spent three years and 1,800 hours building his current aircraft at home, a Van’s RV-12, a low-wing, two-place, side-by-side experimental light sport aircraft, white with dark blue trim, powered by a 100 hp Rotax engine. It cruises at 120 knots (138 mph).
Reese, from Grand Junction, is the newest member of the San Juan Squadron. He flies a black and silver Van’s RV4 aircraft.
Reese began formation training at formal training programs at Lake Havasu, Calif., and at Madera, Calif., this spring. Reese is an accomplished competitor in acrobatic flying.
He and his wife, Elizabeth, are both backcountry pilots flying “bush” aircraft. Their son, Colby, hopes to become a pilot, too. Travis is a real estate developer specializing in larger apartment buildings in several locations in the U.S.
By Craig Taylor