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Alex Burnette

On June 9th Nevada Soaring Association (NSA) held a memorial for one of our cherished glider pilots, Alex Burnette, call sign Watermelon who had recently passed away. We flew his son Keith, daughter Stacey and grandson Michael to Pond Peak and released his ashes over one of our favorite turnpoints so we could all say hi to Watermelon when we're soaring.

At 1:00 four Schweizer 1-26s flew in diamond formation over the memorial where Alex's name will be inscribed on a stone and where 150 family and friends were attending. The formation was flown by all ex-military pilots and was led by NSA president Vern Frye, call sign Eagle. Vern retired from the Air Force and flew F-105s in Vietnam. On the left wing was Jim Hays (Owl) who flew the A-4 in Vietnam and where he bailed out of two A-4s in combat. On the right wing was Bob Dwyer (Merlin) who flew F-100s in Vietnam and the RF-4 in the Nevada Air National Guard. In the slot was Bob Spielman (Chukar) who also flew F-105s in Vietnam and RF-4s in the Nevada ANG Over the memorial the slot plane pulled up in a missing man formation and then the 3 gliders landed in formation on runway 35 and the slot pilot landed on runway 03. We thought this might have been the first time that four Schweizer 1-26s flew in diamond formation and that this was a fitting tribute to one of our finest.

Robert and Debbie Spielman

Posted: 11/1/2001


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