AEFCO Summer Flight Experience | June 17-21

Howdy everybody! After a bit of self-debate and a recommendation from @Moritz, I decided to make this topic. It will recap my fantastic adventures of June 17-21 of this year. The group, AEFCO, is based out at KFLY (yes, that’s their actual ICAO code), Meadow Lake Airport, out in Peyton, CO. It is led by Richard and Sandy Martin.

AEFCO Summer Flight Experience Recap

Day One (Monday, June 17)

On the first day, we got introduced to the program, and had our first guest speaker. The speaker was Alan Gorski, who was a controller at KCOS, and is also a private pilot. He spoke mostly of his ATC endeavors, and also a few of his piloting adventures. One of the stories he told was when he had an emergency aircraft, and they were concerned if they’d be able to make it to COS or not. Well, they didn’t. They had to make the emergency landing at KAFF, the United States Air Force Academy. Fortunately for them, Mr. Gorski was able to get in contact with their tower and let them know of what was coming. He told us that they ended up with four hours of questioning, and weren’t allowed to fly their plane out… they had to have it trucked out.

He also told us about the public-info ATC manual from the FAA. If anyone is curious, here it is: ATC Manual (FAA JO 7110.65).

Alan Gorski was overall a fantastic speaker, and I loved what he had to say! He seriously made me consider becoming an ATC.

Day Two (Tuesday, June 18)

On Day Two, we got our first chance to experience an aircraft first-hand. The plane was that of Hank Bartlett’s, who is a certified ground and flight instructor, as well as a private pilot. Hank is a really funny guy! His plane is a Piper Tomahawk, which is a low-wing two-seater. I got to sit in the cockpit, and it seemed really overwhelming at first, but was super interesting to see up close! He explained to us how the engine works, which was actually some pretty interesting information. You may think, “well, it’s basic knowledge,” but it’s really interesting, even if it is “simple.” Here are some photos:

Day Three (Wednesday, June 19)

Day Three was my favorite day, alongside Day Four. That day, we got to go to Peterson AFB to see the flight line and base ops, and we got to go into COS tower and radar room. I was going to meet up with @Asneed8706, but unfortunately I didn’t get to as work had him pulled away from where we were. We got to go inside the Colorado Air National Guard’s C130, of the 302nd Airlift Wing.

Here are some photos of the fantastic day:

Unfortunately, I was unable to get any photos inside of the tower or radar room, because we were warned that our phones could mess with their equipment.

This day was simply fantastic. I’ve never been up close and personal like this with any military aircraft, and it was an EPIC experience for me.

Day Four (Thursday, June 20)

Day Four was tied as my favorite day with Day Three. Today was the day where we actually got to go up into the air and fly. I flew in a Bellanca Decathlon, by the registration of N36413. The pilot in control was kind enough to allow me to actually control the aircraft while we were in the air, and I was amazed! It was absolutely amazing, feeling the plane respond to the actions I made. I wasn’t able to record it, but while I was controlling, he told me to “pull up, pull up, keep pulling up,” and we got to a pretty high positive pitch. Then he said “Now push it down. Hard!” The feeling I got was really funny, but it was also really spectacular! Attached below are some photos as well as some links to YouTube videos, which are videos I recorded while I was flying.

Takeoff Video
Actually Controlling the Decathlon!
Landing Video

Videos are unlisted.

Day Five (Friday, June 21)

On Day Five, we were closing down, and it was mostly a recap along with a little bit of learning. However, we did get to see a T-28C, which was a Navy trainer aircraft. The gentleman who owns it has been restoring it for 27 years! Let me tell ya’, it was a beaut! Its registration is N678MC.

The camp was an overall amazing experience. All of the guest speakers we had were very helpful and gave quite a bit of good insight. I’ve never done somehting like this, and I’m so glad I did! I learned a lot, including but not limited to ATC knowledge, decoding a METAR (which I already knew how to do thanks to Infinite Flight and IFATC :p), how to use an E4B flight computer, pilotage, and dead reckoning. and if it weren’t for @Ethan_Chloe123, I never would have known about this. I had a great time. The same group, AEFCO, also hosts a program in September which perpares students for the FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Exam. I think I’ll be going to it, so then I can pass the test, and start ground and flight training!

All photos and videos here are mine, and they are all unedited, except for the clip of me controlling the Tomahawk, because some of it had to be cut out because it only showed the seat in front of me. I was busier flying the plane, rather than video-ing it. Oh well.


Wow! This looks like a really fun experience, especially the Zero G’s in the Decathlon.
Thanks so much for sharing, the photos really look amazing.

I was actually supposed to start training in a Piper Tomahawk, but we switched schools. It sure is a neat looking aircraft.

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Thanks for your reply! 🤗 It sure was a great time, and I’m happy you liked the recap.

Too bad about the Tomahawk for you, it’s a unique one! Perhaps you’ll fly one in the future 😉

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It is said he (or she) who flys in a Decathlon is part of the gods world. Why do you think I love the Decathlon so much 😂

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The Decathlon was really amazing! As I said, I’ve never had the opportunity to fly in something that small, and definitely not in a tail dragger! It was a really great experience.

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Great article and pictures!

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Thank you very much. :)

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