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Low clouds ground most planes at Chambersburg Ultralight Fly-in

July 28, 2002|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - David Adams Jr., 9, held his little blue ticket with both hands as the announcer called out six numbers. It was a winner.

His prize included a set of toy airplanes.

"You're set for the day now. You've got planes to fly," said family friend Debbie Hill of Hedgesville, W.Va.

The adult pilots weren't so lucky Saturday. Most of their planes were grounded because of low cloud cover.

The weather didn't cooperate for the first day of the third annual Chambersburg Ultralight Fly-in.

"It's like NASCAR. If it rains, you don't race," organizer Gary Keller said.

Keller and other organizers were hoping for clearer skies today. Experimental aircraft and ultralights will be on hand from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at the Chambersburg Airport on U.S. 11 north of Chambersburg.

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The event raises money for Mercy Medical Airlift, which arranges free and discounted transportation for medical patients who need treatment at far-away hospitals.

They have raised about $1,500 so far this year.

The weather also put a damper on the skydiving plans of Vanessa Bitting, 41, of York, Pa.

When she was a young girl, Bitting lived near a Texas airstrip. She would sit in her front yard and watch people descend out of the sky attached to parachutes.

"I always thought I'd like to see what it felt like to fly like a bird," she said.

After 16 years, Bitting finally convinced her husband, Neal, to let her take the plunge.

"I just can't understand why anybody would want to jump out of a perfectly stable airplane," he said.

Bitting took a lesson Saturday in order to jump in tandem with an experienced diver. She had to reschedule the jump to a later date.

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