The West Coast Ravens, a group of pilots who enjoy the skill of flying in formation, has returned to Madera for the fifth consecutive year. The planes began arriving Thursday and will remain at Madera Airport until Sunday afternoon.
According to Scott Randolph, one of the event’s organizers, 70 planes are registered to arrive in Madera. “This year they are coming from as far as Arizona, Colorado, and an entire flight from the Kansas City area and even Calgary, Alberta, Canada,” said Randolph.
The pilots fly a type of American-made kit aircraft, first manufactured in 1973, known as Van’s, after its designer Richard “Van” VanGrunsven. The models range from a single seat RV-3 to the latest RV-12 model. The two-seat models are either side-by-side or front and rear seating. The Madera pilots fly mostly RV-4s through 8s. Nearly 8,000 RV models have been sold. The RV-6 has the rare distinction of being purchased and used as a military trainer by the Nigerian Air Force.
The planes and pilots will be flying in the skies over Madera practicing their formations to train for performances at air shows. Flying in basic formations of two and four planes, the group will build into larger formations as the weekend progresses...