Laughlin's finest kick off Fiesta of Flight 2024

  • Published
  • By Capt. Christine Del Aguila
  • 47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

The Fiesta of Flight airshow kicked off with a rare 6-ship dissimilar formation comprised of two T-1A Jayhawks, two T-6A Texan IIs and two T-38C Talons which flanked the crowd show center at the tail end of the national anthem March 9.

The last time a 6-ship formation from these Laughlin AFB aircraft took place was the Miami Airshow in 2020.

The T-1A’s leading the formation were flown by Capt. Jack Flynn, Capt. Chase Dalton, Capt. Roman Rohrbach, and Capt. Jack Flor. The T-6A pilots were Capt. Luke Amato, Capt. Tyler Ullman, Capt. Zachary Zeltmann and Capt. Garrett Potts. Piloting the T-38C’s were Capt. Tyler Mortenson, Capt. Michael Walrath, Capt. Cassandra McElwee and Lt. Col. Wolfgang Von Aspe.

“This formation was extremely unique. It was put together specifically for the Fiesta of Flight to showcase excellence to the community in the jets that they see flying overhead every day,” said Capt. Tyler Mortenson, a T-38C Instructor Pilot.

One purpose of the Fiesta of Flight airshow was to showcase to the community how Team XL’s mission is to Build Combat-Ready Airmen, Leaders, and Pilots.

“My favorite part was bringing together 12 instructor pilots from three different platforms, putting together, and executing a plan. Between the practices both on and off station, to the performance itself, it was rewarding to see hard work and planning come together.” said Mortenson, who spearheaded the planning of the flyover.

All pilots who participated in the formation except for one, Lt Col Wolfgang Von Aspe, are First Assignment Instructor Pilots.

“I have not participated in a flyover like this before,” said Capt Zachary Zeltmann, a T-6A Instructor Pilot from the 434th Flying Training Squadron. “It was an amazing experience.”

The team stated the most difficult thing was getting dedicated time to practice the flight.

“We all took a weekend dedicated to practicing this performance to make sure it was perfect for the show,” said Mortenson.

It is estimated that Fiesta of Flight 2024 brought in roughly 16,000 people Saturday.

“My favorite part of this demonstration was the culmination of all the planning it took coming together for the airshow. We worked through numerous variations of routines that could be executed efficiently and most importantly- safely,” said Capt. Jack Flynn, a FAIP at the 86th Flying Training Squadron. “We wanted the flyover to look great and were all proud to represent the Wing.”