2012 Fly-Ins

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The DAF's first trip to Alamos, Mexico was a great success with 25 people attending in 10 planes.  The border crossing was mostly uneventful (except for one ill-fated pair of passengers temporarily abandoned in Calexico) and most of us arrived in Alamos on Wedneday afternoon (Nov. 7). The Cogan's and Ekberg's had flown in the day before and greeted us along with Jim Swickard, owner of Hacienda de los Santos. Refreshments were served on the tarmac (including some very potent Margaritas) as we waited for all of the planes to come in. Jim offered us the use of his beautiful hangar and all 10 aircraft managed to squeeze in.

joomplu:3043I think I can speak for everyone who had not stayed previously at the Hacienda de los Santos in saying that it greatly exceeded all of our expectations (which were already pretty high based upon Joe and Craig's descriptions). The rooms were incredible, the grounds were stunning, and the staff could not be more accommodating. After checking in, we all gathered at Zapata's Cantina for drinks and appetizers, where Jim Swickard presented each of the pilots who had flown in an official "Club Pilotes of Mexico" ballcap. We then moved to the terrace for a great dinner, and were entertained by both a talented guitarist/singer as well as special music by the group "La Estudiantina". (Click "Read More" below for a full trip report).


joomplu:3054Each morning, early risers had the option of taking a walk around the village with Jim and his beautiful Great Dane, Chica. On Thursday morning, some of us attended a cooking class with the Hacienda's chefs, Rene and Rosa. Each day offered a variety of activities, including art classes, van tours, and on Thursday afternoon, a "Tequila 101" class presented by Jim Swickard (from what he can remember, this writer learned a lot). The Hacienda also offered a first class Spa facility - something that many of our group took advantage of.

joomplu:3140The main activities of Friday included a van tour to the village of Aduana (a historic silver mining town) and a BBQ at the Hacienda's ranch located next to the airport. Some DAFers signed up for a horseback ride to the BBQ and saddled up outside the Hacienda for a 30 minute ride to the ranch. The BBQ itself was fantastic - we ate ribs and chicken under torchlight while enjoying live Sonoran cowboy music from a local band of musicians.

joomplu:3052Craig, Dan, John in their Nanchangs, and Peter in his Glasair, put on a spectacular airshow, with the crowd getting much closer to the action than they would at a typical airshow. The pilots performed flawlessly and dazzled the spectators, many of whom stayed after the airshow to greet the pilots and look at their planes.

On Saturday night, we watched the sunset from a rooftop terrace while enjoying cocktails, and then sat down for another outstanding dinner. Jim had arranged for a very special post-dinner entertainment - the Ballet Folklorico. This troupe of 40 dancers and musicians presented dances and music from various regions of Mexico, all under the stars in the main courtyard.

Most of us reluctantly departed on Sunday morning, with a few of the group staying in Mexico for a few more days.

This trip report only touches on a few of our experiences - each day was filled with many memorable moments. Jim and Nancy of the Hacienda were exceptional hosts and could not have been more welcoming. And the trip could not have happened without the planning of Joe with the assistance of Craig. Joe had hoped that the trip would help first-time Mexican aviators a chance to break out of their comfort zone in way that was both safe and fun. For this first-time Mexican pilot, he could not have done a better job.

Thanks to Joe and Craig for helping to put together such a memorable trip.

More photos here, more videos here.