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Just plane fun

Fly-in attracts fathers, families to airport

Fly-in attracts fathers, families to airport

June 18, 2007|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - "Look! Plane! Plane!"

Wiggling in his father's arms, 3-year-old Wylie Beard squealed while pointing at a plane flying overhead.

"He just loves airplanes," said Wylie's father, Hagerstown resident Robert Beard.

The father and son were two of about 1,500 people at Hagerstown Regional Airport for Sunday's fifth annual Father's Day Fly-In hosted by Rider Jet Center.

Beard said he and Wylie go to the airport some weekends to watch the planes take off and land. Fifteen-minute plane rides were offered Sunday, and Wylie was planning to be a passenger on one of the trips.

"It's more about him than it is Father's Day," Beard said. "We're just spending time together."

David Rider, owner of Rider Jet Center, said the event continues to grow, and this year's crowd was the largest to date. Last year, about 400 people attended.

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Harry Johnston, of McConnellsburg, Pa., said this was the first year that the Mason-Dixon Corvette Club and the Franklin-Fulton Antique Car Club have participated in the event.

"They ooooh and ahhhh over each other's cars," Johnston said.

He said the car clubs were invited to increase attendance at the Father's Day Fly-In.

"It's worked," Johnston said. "There are about three times as many people here this year."

Joan Rauschenberger of Mercersburg, Pa., had her 1972 Corvette and her 1967 Corvette on display. They were two of the estimated 70 vehicles.

Ralph Horley of Sharpsburg and his wife, Paula, said their daughter is in Pennsylvania and their son left Friday for Zambia as a Peace Corps volunteer. As an employee with the FAA, Horley said he has an interest in planes and wanted to see what was on display at the airport.

"It's something different to see and do," he said.

Chris McGarity, and his wife, Tammy, took their 22-month-old son, Aidan, to see the airplanes Sunday. They said their son loves airplanes.

"They fly over the house quite regularly, and when he hears them he looks up and says 'airplane,'" Chris McGarity said.

Jeff Hildreth of Greencastle, Pa., and his sister, Rochelle Hildreth, each took their children on their first airplane rides Sunday. The 15-minute rides were aboard a Cessna Caravan.

Jeff Hildreth said his 5-year-old, Aleia, and his sister's 2-year-old son, Gabriell, enjoyed their first rides and spent most of the time looking out the window.

"They loved looking at how small everything was," he said. "They had a blast."

Mark Hissey, president of Chapter No. 36 of the Experimental Aircraft Association, said his twin grandsons, Cooper and Daxten Willes, have different reactions to the airplanes.

Cooper, 2, is shy and cried while taking a tour of one of the larger airplanes.

"Daxten just loved it," Hissey said.

Billy Humphreys of Hagerstown, and his wife, Nancy, were at the fly-in with their children, 6-year-old Nell and 3-year-old Teddy.

"We love airplanes," Billy Humphreys said. "Teddy has an interest in airplanes only at 3."

He said his family attended the Father's Day event last year, and came back again hoping for another tour of the DC-3.

"We went in it last year and were hoping to go in it again this year," Humphreys said of his favorite airplane. "We're here mostly for Teddy ... and for me. Teddy and I could stay here all day."

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