“The best field trip ever.”…….

 

That’s how members of the Sun Lakes Aero Club (SLAC) described their half-day January 22 outing to Falcon Field in Mesa.

The morning started out with a visit to the Mesa Police Force Aviation Division, where pilot/police officer Dave Dolenar said the unit’s mission is to provide aerial surveillance and conduct large-area searches.  Aircraft include two helicopters and two fixed-wing aircraft.

He said the helicopters prove to be an invaluable law enforcement tool, and average response time to a scene is less than a minute. The choppers have assisted in recovering nearly $18 million in stolen property and  locating more than 600 missing persons, mostly children.

          The visit also included a tour of the airport and a visit to the control tower, where the visitors watched FAA Falcon Field controllers direct traffic taking off and landing from the airport. 

          Final stop was Falcon Warbirds, an organization made up pilots who own former military aircraft restored to flying condition.  The group is housed in a huge hangar that was built in 1941 when Falcon Field was established as a training facility for British and other foreign pilots.  Organizer Dick Stich said his organizations specializes in formation  flying and often perform fly-overs at various sporting events and missing man formations at military funerals.

          Dolenar and Stich’s presentations  were so enjoyable that both will be asked to be featured speakers at upcoming SLAC gatherings.   

The tour concluded with lunch at the Monestery, a restaurant located adjacent to the airport’s entrance.  SLAC members making the trip were Jim Theobald, Richard Simmons, Bob DeLong, John Philp, John Fritz, Gary Vacin, Jim Haytas, Douglas Whittaker and Bill Brown. 

 

 

     

                                           

 Nine Sun Lakes Aero Club members visited Falcon Field airport in Mesa January 22.  Pictured in front of a Mesa Police Dept. Aviation Section helicopter are (l-r) police officer/pilot Dave Dolenar,  Bob DeLong, Jim Haytas, John Fritz, Gary Vacin,   John Philp, Jim   Theobald,  Richard   Simmons, Douglas Whittaker, and Bill Brown.