Friday, June 12, 2009

Small-plane pilots flock together

Blaine County fly-ins deemed a success

Express Staff Writer

General aviation pilots, especially those with small personal aircraft that come and go from virtually any landing strip, pride themselves in the collegiality of their avocation.

Twice in May, general aviation pilots from as far away as Arizona showed up for what's known as a "fly-in" at airports in the Wood River Valley.

At Friedman Memorial Airport, at least 70 local and out-of-town pilots gathered for a fly-in built around a lecture on mountain flying by widely known Idaho instructor Lori MacNichol.

The president of the Blaine County Pilots Association, Jim Perkins, was ecstatic about the turnout when he told the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority that fly-ins can be a key to encouraging more general aviation pilots to use Friedman. In addition, such events can dispel the myth that the Hailey field is merely a hangout for "big iron" corporate jets, he said.

An even more successful fly-in turnout was reported by Craig Adamson, manager of the city of Carey's grass strip airport (2,650 feet long versus Friedman Memorial's 7,550-foot runway). Some 400 people and 40 aircraft showed up for a fly-in there, he said.

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