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ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: [IAC] Northern Lights Shine

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ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: [IAC] Northern Lights Shine


Thread: [IAC] Northern Lights Shine

Message: [IAC] Northern Lights Shine

Follow-Up To: ACRO Email list (for List Members only)

From: Warren Anderson <spinmd at>

Date: Thu, 06 Jul 2000 02:18:24 UTC


  IAC List Readers,

This message doesn't strictly address IAC business, but it is about
aerobatics and magnanimous spirits.

I hope most of you have had the chance to watch the Northern Lights
perform. In my opinion, their professionalism, rhythm, artistry,
precision and creativity put them right at the apex of airshow team
entertainment. Three of the current members got their start in aerobatic
competition. You probably don't know them well as people, and neither
did I until they came to my rescue recently.

When I landed from my Saturday flight my top cowl and canopy were
covered with oil. I assumed the worst for the engine and the rest of the
weekend. Andre Lortie--the NL team leader and Number One pilot--came
over to my plane without solicitation, identified the problem, and
volunteered his own and the team mechanic Patrice's expertise to make it
right. They spent four hours on Sunday morning before the afternoon show
doing some pretty significant repairs using their own parts inventory.
With the permission of the air boss and the FAA, I slid in the schedule
and had the final cowl screw in not long before I was in the box for my
flight. Not a drop of oil leaked and I had the honor of beating the air
up before the Northern Lights on the final program.

You may have shared a similar experience at a contest after a mechanical
malfunction or other minor--or major--catastrophe, and I believe that is
part of good sportsmanship. But air shows aren't a hobby, they are a
business. There is no incentive for other performers who are competing
for limited bookings to help another act, particularly a stranger and a
rookie. And there isn't a whole lot of free time at a show anyway,
especially for a group with the sponsor commitments of the Northern

So, I have no idea why Andre and Patrice set aside their own
obligations, rolled up their sleeves and got me in the air in time to
save my flight, other than that they have style and grace and generosity
surpassing even what they display in the air. They are truly noble
airmen, and I hope someday I can repay my debt to them.

Warren Anderson


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