Winds shift focus to fly-in's ground displays

September 25, 2010|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

HAGERSTOWN -- Saturday morning's winds of 15 to 20 knots brought disappointment to a lot of children who went to Hagerstown Regional Airport hoping to catch a free airplane ride.

"It's a safety thing," said Mark Hissey, president of Chapter 36, Hagerstown Experimental Aircraft Association, one of the sponsors of the 12th Annual Fly-in, Drive-in this weekend at Hagerstown Regional Airport.

Hagerstown Aircraft Services also is a sponsor of the event.

Thirty-five children between the ages of 8 and 17 signed up for free airplane rides sponsored by the EAA's Young Eagles program, said Mike Vere, coordinator of the youth program for the weekend event.

"We had to call it off because of the wind. They get pretty high aloft," Hissey said.

The Young Eagles program introduces youngsters to aviation and possibly helps them develop an interest in becoming future flyers, Hissey said.


A fleet of four planes stood ready to take about 60 children aloft during the two-day event until the wind grounded the planes.

All seven children, ages 7 to 14, of David Conway of State Line, Pa., went to the airport for plane rides.

"We'll come back Sunday if the weather is good," Conway said.

The Hagerstown Aviation Museum had old planes set out on the tarmac.

The Conway children joined dozens of other children running, jumping and screaming in two cavernous, antique Fairchild-made cargo planes owned by the museum, a C-82 "Packet" and a C-119 "Flying Boxcar."

Anywhere from 60 to 70 private airplanes --modern, home-built and antique -- are expected to fly in to the airport for the two-day event, said Tracey Potter, president of Hagerstown Aircraft Services and a member of the aviation museum.

Museum members are raising money to build a 1,400-square-foot visitors center on county-owned airport property, said John Seburn, its director.

A far-off, "ultimate" museum goal is to find the money for a building large enough to house the two cargo planes, several World War II-era Fairchild trainers and other aircraft in its 11-plane collection, Seburn said.

A green and yellow 1944 Douglas DC-3, a Stearman biplane, and World War II and Korean War jeeps also were part of the displays at the fly-in.

Phil Elgin, a retired Herald-Mail pressman, owns the 1952 Korean War Jeep that he and a friend restored.

Elgin thought of hauling a 37-millimeter anti-tank gun behind the Jeep to show at the fly-in but decided it was too much work to pull it out of storage, he said.

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