20th Anniversary Fly-In of the Midwest Ultralight Crophoppers
Club logo for EAA Ultralight Chapter 88
EAA Ultralight Chapter 88, also known as the Midwest Ultralight Crophoppers, drew in about 60 aircraft spanning the complete range of light aircraft to their 20th anniversary fly-in held at Tommy’s Airpark (9LL5) near Springfield, Illinois, in late August. The weather was perfect for the event. Success of this popular area fly-in is credited to the small club of 18 members who are very active, experienced, and hard working.
The annual three-day chapter fly-in is a favorite for camping under the wing and features contests, raffles, onsite food service, and an all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner Saturday evening. Fly-in host Tommy Georges said as many as 115 aircraft have attended in earlier years. The variety of planes that attended was truly amazing. This year, eight aircraft, mostly Quicksilvers, were flown in from the Fox Valley Flying Club, which is about 140 miles north of the event. Tommy said to make sure everyone gave recognition to the EAA Chapter 88 Crophoppers for making the fly-in such a big success. He regrets that people sometimes refer to the fly-in as the Tommy Georges Fly-In when it’s really the Crophoppers that make it happen. The Friday through Sunday event is always scheduled for the weekend prior to the Labor Day holiday.
Tommy’s Airpark originally began life as a private airfield owned by a flight instructor. Tommy bought a parcel of land on one end of the runway to use for remote control flying. Along the way, the process included Tommy earning his private pilot certificate. He was interested and active in ultralights and eventually became an advanced flight instructor under the exemption program. The airstrip evolved into Tommy’s Airpark as we see it today. He was a dealer for Mini-Max, Quicksilver, Titan, and others. It’s enough to say that Tommy has helped a lot of people get into flying. A tour through his shop reveals a talent for machinery and invention including a clever prop-duplicating machine. A fun project underway looks like the back half of a motorcycle welded to the front half of an all-terrain vehicle to make a different kind of three-wheeler.
Please view the photo album <link to album> for the 20th Anniversary Midwest Ultralight Crophoppers Fly-In, and watch this video by Tom Huebbe to see some of the planes in action.