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Pilots get in formation for special training over Bartlesville

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Posted at 9:38 PM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 17:58:09-05

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. — The skies around Bartlesville will be busy this weekend as about a dozen pilots from around the country are in town for special training.

They'll be taking off from the Bartlesville Municipal Airport and getting into formation.

“You get a bunch of guys together that enjoy flying, they want to go places and do things together," said Gerald "Bulldog" Loyd. "And the only way to do it is to get organized and teach everybody how to fly formation.”

Loyd leads a group known as "Bulldog Flight." He’s been flying for nearly 60 years, including flying helicopters in the Vietnam War. For Loyd, flying is freedom.

“You’re not just locked into the two-dimensional world," Loyd said. "There’s a third dimension. And I enjoy flying aerobatics because you sometimes go straight up, straight down, and you roll.”

Loyd and others are flying in for a formation clinic. They're preparing for things like air shows and flyovers at sporting events. There’s a lot of training that goes into getting ready.

“We’ll brief the flight, talk about all the details of what that flight will consist of, the routine, the radio signals that we’ll use and any emergency procedures and whatnot," said Elizabeth Reese. "Then we’ll go fly the routine and then we’ll come back and debrief.”

The group was originally supposed to train in Lake Havasu, AZ. But after the airport there needed repairs, Reese and her husband, Travis, brought about half of the group to Bartlesville.

“It’s a great place to come and fly, beautiful country, it’s wide open," Reese said. "And general aviation in Oklahoma, I have found, is alive and well. And so there’s a lot of enthusiasm and interest.”

If you look up to the sky, you might get a glimpse of the group training through the weekend.

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