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Webcam and time lapse videos courtesy of Dennis Collins.

SARL “Thunderbird 500” and Mogollon Airpark
Generate Positive Coverage in General Aviation News


These race-themed balloons were hangar décor at the 9th Annual Texoma Air Race earlier this year. The pre-race party at the Thunderbird was at a private hangar on the Mogollon Airpark, and featured a potluck the residents hosted for the racers. Residents also opened their homes for some of the racers to stay at the airpark. (Photo by Rio A. F. Dubois)

Aviation writer, pilot and Sport Air Racing League (SARL) competitor William E. Dubois shared his experience from the recently held SARL “Thunderbird 150” in General Aviation News. Airpark resident and SARL member/racer Dennis Collins coordinated the 150 nautical mile race, which was held over Labor Day Weekend. Racers were invited to join us for a potluck the evening before here at Mogollon Airpark. Below is an excerpt from the article of Dubois’ impressions of our Airpark and residents…

Sharing the flying experience

Speaking of sharing aviation, we were exposed to a whole different type of sharing in Arizona.

For background, a Sport Air Racing League (SARL) tradition is the pre-race party. Like everything else in the league, the party varies from race to race. At the Bob Axsom Race we had a Dutch-treat meal at the Mexican restaurant in the parking lot of the official race hotel. At Texoma, Race Director Pat Purcell threw a hell of a hangar party with Texas-sized steaks and football-sized baked potatoes, with black and white checkered flags, banners, and balloons setting the tone. At the Big Muddy, racers and the locals partied at a local microbrewery. And at the Thunderbird the party was a potluck dinner.

A potluck?

Well, not for the racers. We weren’t required to fly in with a dessert or salad. But the residents of the Mogollon Airpark, AZ82, threw a potluck hangar party for us at their mountain strip at Overgaard, Arizona, 45 miles southwest of Holbrook.

The private airpark features a 3,436-foot paved runway with parallel taxiways down both sides. Dozens of feeder taxiways weave through the tall pines that surround the field, connecting individual hangars and houses to the runway. Nestled in the trees, each house is like a private island — you’re hardly aware of other homes and hangars — and yet the residential airpark is home to 166 flying families (with room for more, as I understand it).

Residents Curt and Ellen Randoll kindly moved their Mooney out onto the apron behind their house and set up tables, chairs, and a buffet line to turn their hangar into a banquet hall. And, wow, what a hangar it is: Insulated and sheet rocked, with heat and air conditioning, doors featuring giant windows for light, and a floor featuring the most beautiful epoxy-style coating you’ve ever seen.

Really, we didn’t need the tables. The floor was so clean we could have eaten off of it.

There was pulled pork, turkey, Shepard’s pie, casseroles, enchiladas, hot dogs for the kids, and salads and desserts galore. Someone brought a bottle of Clos du Bois cabernet sauvignon. I took it as a good omen and had a glass. Or maybe two.

It’s hard to tell when you’re drinking wine from a plastic picnic cup.

The Randoll’s hangar, big enough not only for the Mooney, but for an under-construction mountain bush plane, was packed with happy, noisy people. People sharing the love of flying. With the cool night air and pine forest all around, it felt more Colorado than Arizona to me.

The gathering made me think about the bonds among flying folk. We’re a flying family. My mom and I. Rio and my wife Debbie. Lisa, my adopted sister.


William E. Dubois flew the 300 miles from his home base at KSXU to Holbrook, Ariz., solo due to the high terrain between the two cities. As the race was the closest of the season, the rest of the Dubois clan followed on the ground. The racer has switched to a blue race shirt as cockpit reflections from his historic white shirts made Race 53’s new digital electric attitude indicator unreadable. (Photo by William E. Dubois)

Racers, in a broad sense, are a family, too, and those of us in the Sport Air Racing League are yet another family.

And this large community of neighbors in the mountains of Arizona is also a family, sharing the joys of flying and the camaraderie of a common bond.

(Excerpt used with permission of the author and General Aviation News.)

[If you would like to read the full article, click here.]


Another Magnificent Fall on the Rim

Click image above to start slideshow. Enjoy!

This past Friday we went in search of fall colors. We were told this might be the last weekend before the trees lose their leaves. Although we have lived here at the Airpark full time for about five years, we never seem to “find the time” to enjoy the beauty in our own backyard. Knowing it might be our last chance, we headed out very late in the day on the 300 Road past Woods Canyon Lake looking for shimmering, gold aspens. Disappointment began to set in as all the apsen had already dropped their leaves However, we decided to take a chance on continuing towards Bear Canyon Lake on Forest Road 89. Luckily, our hunch paid off in spades… we were treated to a beautiful stand of maple in all their glory about three miles from the lake. And the full moon from the Rim overlook near Woods Canyon wasn’t too bad either!

Larry & Jen Driver
Lot 259

A First for the White Mountains…
Sport Air Racing League
2016 Thunderbird 150

SARL 2016 (25)On September 4, 2016, the Thunderbird 150 Air Race was flown in our Central Arizona area. The race was held by the Sport Air Racing League (SARL) under the direction of Dennis Collins and his wife Kathy, neighbors here at Mogollon Airpark. Dennis has belonged to the SARL for several years and races in other SARL events when he has the time to attend. He decided to organize a race here so our local pilots could participate, and perhaps get the “bug.”

The race course originated in Holbrook, flew around the Meteor Crater, down to Mogollon Airpark to show it off to other pilots, around Taylor Airport, and back to Holbrook… a distance of 161.33 miles. Dennis would have preferred to have the race originate and finish at the Mogollon Airpark, but red tape made that difficult. In fact, Dennis was not able to get any participants to fly in for the pot-luck supper on the evening before the event, though a few did drive down. Dennis added, “Maybe next year, so we can invite our local neighbors to enjoy the event”.

Eleven planes registered for the race, but a few could not make it. Seven planes flew the race. The first across the finish line was Airpark resident Theo Mulder in his Lancair IV at a speed of 266.78 mph. Airpark member, Larry Cranton, with his wife Ella, flew his Twin Cessna 310 to a 2nd place finish at 210.89 mph, edging out the 3rd place plane by 1 second.

Alas, Dennis could not fly as he was the official timer for the event. That will change. The complete race results can be found by clicking HERE. And be sure to visit our Gallery Photos page for pictures from the race!

2016 Thunderbird 150 Racers

2016 Thunderbird 150 Racers

2016 Major Achievement Award

This past Saturday, July 30, Ellen Randoll was presented with the EAA 2016 Major Achievement Award at the Chapter Leaders Breakfast held at AirVenture in Oshkosh. Congratulations, Ellen, and thank you for all your hard work!

2 Millionth Young Eagle Flown

What an incredible milestone… during EAA’s AirVenture 2016 this week, actor/pilot Harrison Ford flew the 2 millionth Young Eagle. Young Eagle flights have inspired so many in our country. One of our own, Jamie Clark, went on to be an Army helicopter pilot and attributes her passion for aviation to her first Young Eagle flight out of Mogollon Airpark. It’s a real shame certain members of our Mogollon Airpark Board of Directors have chosen to ban Young Eagle activities from OUR airport, denying the same opportunities to so many youth in the Heber-Overgaard area. Our Chapter 1044 has a current waiting list of over 30 local youth waiting for their Young Eagle flight and has flown over 700 area youth since the Chapter’s inception. You can click below for Fox 11’s story about the historic flight.

Harrison Ford Flies 2 Millionth Young Eagle

Letter To the Editor

Good timing for the newsletter. I am currently at AirVenture, and yesterday I spoke to a resident of an airpark near Carson City Nevada. He moved there three years ago after considering many other airparks. Mogollon AIrpark was on the list, but he didn’t feel it warranted a visit after looking at the website. His unsolicited comment was that we appeared “very unfriendly with the threat of a $1000 fine to those who show up uninvited.” This mirrors many comments heard by those of us who fly to other destinations.

I am sure the last round of aviation unfriendly moves by the board has done much damage to the airpark’s reputation. The board members behind the attack on EAA are clueless that their handling of this airpark has hurt home sales badly. It is no coincidence that EAA was denied access to the airpark after Bob Greco got upset that EAA Chapter 1044 unanimously voted to fund a local youth scholarship to EAA Air Academy instead of his favorite charity. One of the current board officers, Pat McLeod, wrote in an email dated June 1, 2015,  “I would recommend to the board that the EAA-1044 be immediately dissolved or banned from the airpark so that this continued contention will be eliminated.”

The rift in our airpark community that these board members have caused has not gone unnoticed by the realtors and the Heber/Overgaard community at large…  again, to the detriment of home sales and values.

For over 20 years, EAA Chapter 1044 and the airpark worked together. I know the entrenched board members will rail against this letter and outright lie about the facts. After all, after the last election, when confronted about the lies and distortions in the letter mailed to homeowners in 2015, Warren Brown said “It’s an election, you can say anything.”

Sadly, the real victims are the kids in the Heber-Overgaard area. EAA Chapter 1044 has a list of over 30 kids who want to go for their first airplane ride. The selfishness and vindictiveness of some board members has denied what could be a life-changing experience for our area youth. The proof is that several of the local kids have already gone on to aviation careers after their Young Eagle flight at the airpark.

Yep, guess I am as naive as Warren’s letter said. I prefer plain old honesty. The entrenched board members have to go. It is a shame, but it is common among HOA’s that the ones who would run for election are those who should not be given unbridled power. Until enough homeowners get fed up and do something about the entrenched board, we will continue to live in a community run by those who continue to destroy it instead of the premier and much sought after airpark Mogollon Airpark could be.

This website says it all:

Curt Randoll
8/14 – 8/16 Board Member
EAA Chapter 1044 Vice President

Naming the Airpark as an Additional Insured – Is This a Good Idea?

In a recent Special Newsletter sent from the Mogollon Airpark it was requested that all homeowner pilots name the Airpark as an additional insured. But is this really a good idea?

It has been stated by one board member that this costs you nothing. However, in the interest of providing all of the possible ramifications of your adding the Airpark as an additional insured, here are some possible issues you should consider before doing so…

Dilution of Your Limits

Defense Conflicts

Loss of Defense Control

Providing Unintended Coverage to Airpark

We would encourage you to do your own research but have provided a few Internet links below to assist. Or you can simply Google “additional insured and dilution of coverage”.

“Certificates of Insurance” and “Additional Insured” Coverage: Maximize Value and Avoid Pitfalls”

“Additional Insureds: Manage the Added Risk”

“Additional Insureds – when, why, and should we?”


EAA Chapter 1044 Selects First Aviation Scholarship Recipients

2016 Scholarship RecipientsOVERGAARD, AZ— Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter 1044 has selected two local teenagers to receive fully-paid scholarships, including tuition and roundtrip airfare, to the EAA Advanced Air Academy summer 2016 program.

The Air Academy offers young people the opportunity to meet and work with aviation professionals, while living and learning the arts, sciences, and lore of aviation in both classroom and workshop settings.

They join many other young people in the aviation program.  Several days of the Academy take place during the world’s largest and most exciting aviation event – EAA AirVenture 2016.  Participants in the EAA Air Academy come from around the United States and several foreign countries.

Academy activities will include flight experience, workshops, and classroom study.  EAA’s Director of Museum & Museum Education, Bob Campbell, says, “The EAA Air Academy teaches young people new skills and instills a pride of craftsmanship.  More importantly, it develops their leadership potential and broadens their understanding of both aviation and themselves.  The EAA Air Academy is a benchmark of personal experience…and an aviation experience that will last a lifetime.”

EAA Chapter 1044 chose as our first two scholarship recipients Tobias Tomlinson, a freshman at Mogollon High School, and Tristen Martineau, a senior, also attending Mogollon High School.

Larry Driver, Chapter President said, “These scholarships would not have been possible without the generous support of the community, including the Heber-Overgaard Chamber of Commerce.”

Chapter Vice-President, Curt Randoll added, “One of the missions of our Chapter is to provide youth with an educational opportunity to learn about aviation and aviation history.  This isn’t about sending kids to summer camp – it’s about opening their eyes to new experiences and potential new career paths.  The Air Academy fulfills this mission, and being able to send two youths this year, the first year we offered the scholarship, is fantastic.”

Anyone interested in attending any of EAA’s Air Academy Programs, should write to: Experimental Aircraft Association, Inc., Resident Education Office, PO Box 3086, Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54903-3086. Applicants need not be EAA members.  The prime consideration is an interest and enthusiasm for aviation.

Funding for our Aviation Scholarship is through various fundraising efforts.  EAA Chapter 1044 has recently received tax exempt status as a non-profit charity under I.R.S. section 501(c)(3). Under the new I.R.S. non-profit designation, donations to Chapter 1044 are now tax deductible.

For more information on EAA Chapter 1044, please visit our website at or on Facebook at

EAA Chapter 1044 is based at Mogollon Airpark.  In addition to our aviation scholarship, which is part of our youth education program, the Chapter has a very active homebuilder community with about a dozen aircraft in various stages of construction or refurbishment…everything from experimental Super Cubs to Bearhawks to RVs and Rans. 

EAA Chapter 1044 Receives Chamber Donation

CoC Donation

Larry Driver, EAA Chapter Pres.; Cyd Chilleen, Chamber Mgr; Curt Randoll, EAA Chapter V-P; Norm Johnson, Chamber Board Member; June Call, Chamber Pres.

Christmas came a little early to Mogollon Airpark’s EAA Chapter 1044. This week they were presented with a check from the Heber-Overgaard Chamber of Commerce.

Funds raised during the Tall Pines Raffle were distributed to numerous area organizations as part of the Chamber’s “Share With The Community Project.” Our local EAA Chapter was selected as one of the lucky recipients. This donation will enable the Chapter to send a second area youth to the EAA Air Academy Summer Camp in July of 2016. Applications are being accepted until January 25, 2016. More information and the application can be found on the EAA Chapter 1044 website.

A BIG Thank You goes out to the Heber-Overgaard Chamber of Commerce!