Eagles Nest Midlothian Residents Share Passion For Flying

    men standing in front of aircraft
    (from left) Jeff Moore, Josh Tate, Jj Johnson, Scott Loper, Jim Nelson, Dave Ellis, Vern Franklin (courtesy photo taken by one of the wives)

    Neighborhood Friends Share Their Passion For RV Flights

    The neighborhood of Eagle’s Nest in Midlothian is appropriately named. It is the home of a group of neighbors who share a passion for flying.

    The group, known as Eagle Flight, consists of eight core members – all pilots – who regularly get together to fly RVs, or all-aluminum, low-wing monoplanes of monocoque (single shell, like an egg shell) construction. They fly through the Red Star Pilots Association (flyredstar.org).

    “It got started after a few of us got RV-4’s (two-seat kit aircraft, tandem seating, aerobatic, bubble canopy) and started flying together. We were trained by a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel the ins and outs of formation flight,” said Jeff Moore, spokesman for the group. “We have also participated in training clinics through Red Star and have all received our wingman FAST card (Formation And Safety Team), with two having their lead card allowing us to fly in air shows.”

    The club is a mix of professional and private pilots, including the airlines, freight haulers, and manufacturers. Moore is a mechanical engineer by trade, and others are in IT, sales, or retired.

    All members own a Vans Aircraft RV series aircraft, including RV-3, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 10 models, which is pretty much every model that Vans builds. One member also has a Socata TB-30 Epsilon, which is a French built warbird trainer.

    “Several of us also have ‘spam cans,’ which are the traditional general aviation aircraft for hauling the family, including Cessna, Piper, and Grumman,” Moore explained.

    small planes flying in formation
    Photo credit Nicole Farnum

    No Ordinary Neighborhood

    Moore admitted it’s not common for one neighborhood to have so many pilots. But then, he said Eagle’s Nest isn’t your ordinary neighborhood.

    “Eagle’s Nest is an unusual place where you can live with your airplane and have a runway in your backyard. Having so many neighbors with a common passion for flying is unique,” he said. “In a day where so many people rarely talk to their neighbors, Eagle’s Nest is quite the opposite. We just flew with nine airplanes as a flight during our annual pilgrimage to the EAA Airventure fly-in in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. With 10,000 airplanes flying in that week, it’s the busiest control tower in the world for that week.”

    The pilgrimage to Oshkosh is always the highlight of the club’s flying year, Moore said. They have made the trek for many years, with the exception of 2020, when the event was canceled because of COVID-19.

    “Flying up as a group where we are all together making the same fuel stops and helping each other out is not only more fun, it is safer in the event there is an issue,” he said.

    “Coming into Oshkosh as a flight of nine is not only cool, the tower controllers like it since it gets more airplanes on the ground in a short period of time.

    “Two of us got to fly in the scheduled daily airshow there in a mass flight formation (16 aircraft), which for me was the highlight of the week.”

    planes in formation at sunset
    Photo credit Nicole Farnum

    Evening Flights In TX

    The group regularly does evening flights when the weather allows. Of course, this is North Texas, so the weather cooperates about 75% of the time. Most flights are 30-minute short hops, which typically include formation flights (fingertip, close trail, and Echelon positions).

    But everyone’s favorite is the extended trail, where they follow 300 to 500 feet apart to allow for more maneuvering, including the ever-popular barrel rolls.

    “The concepts of ‘lead’ and ‘lag,’ which are taught in the formation clinics, are used to maintain proper spacing,” Moore explained. “It is a lot of fun and safe when everyone is properly trained.”

    They also do many local fly-ins, including events at Midway (pancake breakfast), Lancaster (wings and wheels), and other events around the metroplex. They have also done many “missing man” formation flights for fallen vets, including a Memorial Day celebration.

    “These were all done at no charge,” Moore noted. “The commercial pilots in the group have done formation flights for private events for a modest fee to cover fuel expenses.”
    Moore said it is not a requirement to live in Eagle’s Nest to participate, but there are requirements for joining the team.

    “While the core team all live in our neighborhood, we fly with many outside the neighborhood. But there are formation proficiency requirements for making it into the team, and safety is always paramount,” he said.

    “The beauty of aviation is there is something for everyone. Whether you use airplanes as a business tool to visit with three clients in three states and make it home for dinner, exploring the backcountry low and slow, and flying tail chase with your buddies, it never gets old.”

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    Rick Mauch
    Rick Mauch is a veteran of more than four decades in the media. He began writing in high school and immediately went into broadcasting for almost a decade after graduating, working his way to morning drive in Birmingham, Alabama. However, realizing how much he missed writing (though he did continue to do some during his time in top-40 radio), Rick returned to what he loved and has been doing it ever since. Rick's career has spanned a plethora of media outlets, including community journalism, sports, entertainment, politics and more. He's worked in print, broadcast and online media. He also spent several years doing public relations for a children's home in East Texas - still writing on the side, of course. When he's not writing, Rick loves to play golf and do Bigfoot research. He's an avid believer. He also made his first hole-in-one in June of 2020. Rick is married to Junell Mauch. They have five children and three granddaughters