Meadville Tribune

June 7, 2009

Fly-In/Drive-In 'visitors' have crowd soaring

By Keith Gushard

Meadville Tribune

VERNON TOWNSHIP — “Oh cool” and “Look at that” came from kids in the crowd as the helicopter hovered upside down just off the ground at Port Meadville Airport.

It wasn’t a full-sized helicopter, but a radio-controlled one from Oil Creek Flyers, a regional radio-controlled flying club, that had demonstrations at the airport Sunday as part of the 12th annual Fly-In and Drive-In Breakfast and Lunch. The free event, sponsored by the Crawford County Regional Airport Authority and Meadville Noontime Kiwanis, is hosted by Meadville Chapter 1194 of the Experimental Aircraft Association.

It featured not only one-fourth-scale radio-controlled flying jets and other model aircraft, but full-sized single-engine aircraft including vintage military aircraft like an AT-6 U.S. Navy trainer and an L-1 U.S. Army trainer/observation plane. It also featured the STAT MedEvac helicopter ambulance.

The program is designed to get people interested in aviation, according to the local EAA chapter.

“It’s fascinating,” said Donald Clemente of Conneaut Lake who was part of the crowd on hand Sunday. “I like seeing the aircraft and the people who fly them. I try to make it every year.”

“It’s a great community event,” said Rita Clement, his wife. “It’s nice to see so many people out.”

Sunday’s event drew an estimated crowd of 4,000 to the airport over the course of the morning and afternoon, said Jim Murray, program director for the local EAA chapter.

About 80 different aircraft flew in for the event, he said.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at