Meeting/Event Information

Swamp Thunder Srping 2020

February 13, 2020 11:00 AM EST to February 17, 2020 11:00 AM EST

Swamp Thunder Spring 2020

Waycross, GA

Swamp Thunder Spring 2020 Invitation

DO NOT USE the Website Registration.  Follow these instructions and email Blake.

Who:  RPA Members, but others are invited regardless of formation experience or background.

When:  13-17 February 2020.  Arrive before 1300 on Thursday, 13 February for registration and to begin academic training.  Depart Monday, 17 February.  Detailed schedule TBP.

Where: Waycross, GA (KAYS)

What: Formation Training Clinic

- Need to know who needs what for training.  Reply back to me with the specific training you need along with your formation experience.  For example: “I’m a fairly new guy (FNG) who has flown a few formation hops with my buddy, but need the basic ground school and progression through the gates.  The goal is to obtain my wing card by next May.” Or “I’m an experienced wingman, but would like to upgrade to flight lead.  I’ve got about 200 hours as wingman and have been practicing leading two and four ship missions.”

- If you need basic formation ground school it will start Thursday afternoon at 1400.  NOTE: To catch up, you’ll need to watch this video before you arrive at Waycross  You MUST also download print then read and study the RPA Formation Manual from the RPA Website ( or you may purchase it from the RPA Store.  You need to practice as much as possible prior to the clinic.  Point being, DO NOT come to the clinic with little or no prior formation training or experience and expect to leave with a formation wing card.  Being a competent and safe formation pilot requires extensive training and practice.

- The concept is to crawl, walk, then run when it comes to formation training, so if you haven’t flown formation “lately” you will need to slowly progress to get your proficiency back up to standard.  Those “carded” pilots who haven’t flown formation lately will begin their training by flying 2, two-ship missions before progressing to four-ship missions.  Flight leads will transfer lead in order to also gain proficiency at flying in the wingman position.  Non-carded pilots will not fly formation until they have been assessed by the Ops Officer and briefed by a current flight lead.  If a carded pilot has flown a two-ship or four-ship mission in the preceding 30 days, then those flights count towards proficiency requirements.  These flights are not undemanding station keeping positions while enroute to event, these are full-on RPA Formation Manual training flight operations conducting all the maneuvers in the manual. 

- For all the first-timers and for all those who haven’t read it lately, email me and ask for the latest version of the RPA Southeast Region SOP.  These are standard procedures that are meant to enhance safety and your training experience.  I feel this is a living document, so I’m always open to any changes you feel would improve the document.  So, I encourage you to provide me with feedback.

- Flight ops will begin Thursday for the carded pilots with two-ship ops progressing to four-ship parade formations.  Friday morning, following a MANDATORY safety briefing, we will begin full-up flight ops that will continue for the remainder of the weekend.

- Friday afternoon we are introducing a new formation competition.  I'll explain later.  Saturday we have the flower bombing and spot landing contests as usual, but a special target for the bombs. 

Guest Speaker:  The RPA President will give a short presentation on The State of the Association.  Saturday night is a dirty flight suit dinner and awards presentation at the hanger.  Then after we will eat, drink, make fun of our comrades it’s off to Oscar’s Bar. 


- Lodging:  I used to block rooms at these hotels, but I’ve been told by several people that if you make your own reservations you can get a better rate.

- Holiday Inn Express online at $103 per night; includes a full breakfast. 912-548-0720

- Hampton Inn online at $92 per night; includes full breakfast. 912-285-5515

- Quality Inn online at $59 per night; includes full breakfast. 912-283-4490

- Lunch: Friday, Saturday and Sunday lunch is catered at the airport as part of the event fee.

- Dinner:  Friday and Sunday night is NO HOST, but Pappy knows of a couple restaurants near the hotel. Saturday night there will be dinner at the hanger with presentations. 

- ALL NEW Swamp Thunder Tee Shirts and Semper Malus Squadron patches included with event fee. 

- Ground transportation is provided, so rental cars are not needed.

- Fuel and Hangers:  Discounted fuel as well as hangers for $10/night.  First come first serve on the hangers.  Call the FBO at (912) 287-4400

- Fees/Costs:  At this writing, the expected event fee that includes all of the above is around $120… but still TBD depending on the number who RSVP.

Inclement WX plan:

- Classes in the am, lunch then if continued bad wx travel to Douglas, GA for tour of Warbird (B-17, XP-82 and others) restoration facility.

Jon “Saber” Blake

[email protected]