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10th Virginia Regional EAA Fly-In Has Great Turnout


October 5, 2006 — A bright, sunny autumn Saturday brought hundreds of visiting aircraft to Dinwiddie County Airport in Petersburg, Virginia last Saturday for the 10th annual Virginia Regional EAA Fly-in. More than 300 aircraft arrived Saturday, and despite an overnight rain that affected Sunday attendance, total aircraft was estimated at 400 for the weekend.

The show plane ramp was filled with a wide variety of homebuilts, antiques, classics, and warbirds, which started arriving soon after 7 a.m. Saturday. This was the first time in five years that there was no air show and many pilots commented positively regarding their ability to arrive and depart at any time of the day.

Twenty-four forums and six workshops were all well attended, including EAA's Sport Pilot updates presented by Ron Wagner, manager of field operations and sport pilot authority. Other popular forums were the two "Wings Approved" forums given by the Richmond Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). The aviation safety seminars were required components for qualifying for the Virginia Aviation Ambassador program.

Speaking of the Ambassador program, 25 participants each received a leather flight jacket in recognition of attaining the program's top level. The Ambassador program is designed to encourage pilots to visit all the airports in the state as well as attend a safety seminar, the VAEAA Fly-In, and the state's aviation museums.

But back to the airplanes: Attendees were treated to a number of unusual aircraft including a full-scale replica of a 1917 S.E.5a that was seen the movie, "The Aviator"; a tiny KR-1 painted in Japanese military colors; a stunningly polished Globe Swift; and the fly-in's first diesel-powered arrival - a Cessna 182 with an STC'd SMA diesel engine.

An F4U Corsair also paid a totally unexpected visit, putting on a demonstration of wing folding as well broadcasting loud, "round engine music."

One first for the fly-in: nine Boy Scouts received training for their Aviation Merit Badge thanks to a two-day class conducted by Gary Dehnel, Aviation Merit Badge Counselor from EAA Chapter 186.

Wagner met with a number of area EAA Chapter leaders on Friday evening to discuss chapter growth strategies and EAA chapter activities.

As for how attendees felt about the event, VAEAA PR Chairman Dee Whittington offered a pair of e-mails received shortly after its conclusion:

" Just wanted to let you know my friend and I had an awesome experience on Saturday. We drove in this time, but plan on flying in next time and camping on the field. The number and variety of planes was impressive as well as the kinds of vendors that participated. It was thrilling to see vintage planes and experimentals in the air. What a treat!"

"We had just bought a copy of "One Six Right". That movie made us realize how important it is to support GA in whatever capacity we can. We hope to join an EAA chapter near us in the very near future. We are from the Roanoke and Lynchburg (Virginia) area. Thanks again for such a great weekend."

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