A close look at vintage aircraft can give pilots a better appreciation for the hard work and sacrifice it took to create today’s thriving aviation industry. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to see historically significant flying machines in action at fly-in events around the country.
Whether you’re partial to aircraft representing the earliest days of flight, the Golden Age of the 1920s and 1930s, or the fighting machines of World War II, you have a good chance of finding examples of them at relaxed, family-friendly gatherings that typically include food and activities for kids. Below are a few of the fly-ins coming up between now and mid-autumn.
Antique Airplane Association/Airpower Museum Invitational Fly-in
August 30 through September 5, Antique Airfield (IA27), Blakesburg, Iowa
This Labor Day weekend event is an annual highlight for the Antique Airplane Association and the Airpower Museum, which host the gathering. The AAA has worked to keep antique airplanes airworthy and flying since 1953, and the fly-in typically draws a huge turnout to the group’s 2,350-foot turf runway. This event is limited to AAA members, their families, and invited guests, but the organization is working to boost its membership and is actively seeking new members. Pilots interested in vintage machinery can contact AAA through Instagram, Facebook, and by phone at 641-938-2773.
31st Annual Fly-In/Cruise-In
September 3, Marion Municipal Airport (KMZZ), Marion, Indiana
This annual event runs from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and features antique, classic, homebuilt, and ultralight aircraft, as well as warbirds and rotorcraft. Because nothing complements vintage airplanes quite the way vintage ground vehicles do, the event includes a range of vintage cars, trucks, motorcycles, fire trucks, autocycles, military vehicles, and tractors. An all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast is available and proceeds from the event benefit the Grant County Rescue Mission located in Marion.
Just Plane Fun Day
September 10, East Hampton Airport (KJPX), East Hampton, New York
Just Plane Fun Day is a fly-in and airport open-house event meant to give members of the local community a close look at classic aircraft, vintage warbirds, modern jets, and “many other unique and historically significant airplanes.” The event is part of a wider outreach effort to demonstrate the airport’s benefits to the area economy. Critics have lobbied for years to close the airport, and that movement has intensified over the last year or so.
41st Simsbury Fly-In, Car Show and Food Truck Festival
September 25, Simsbury Airport (4B9), Simsbury, Connecticut
Organizers say “vintage and older aircraft are especially welcome” at this event, which they also tout as the “largest fly-in in the northeastern USA.” The gathering includes a car show and a “major food truck festival.” Attendees can see a demonstration of one of Pipistrel’s all-electric aircraft along with other aerial demos and free seminars. Airplane dealers and car dealers will also have displays and information available. For more information about the fly-in, contact Bill Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.simsburyflyin.com.
The Great Pumpkin Fly-In and Show and Shine
October 22, Grimes Airport (8N1), Bethel, Pennsylvania
The Golden Age Air Museum is the backdrop for this gathering, which includes a flight of vintage aircraft “pumpkin bombing” the airport in Bethel, Pennsylvania. The kid-friendly event runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and includes raffles, prizes, awards, and an opportunity to see aircraft, some of which are more than 100 years old, on display and in the air.
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