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Copperstate Celebrates 'Landmark' Fly-In

 

November 2, 2006 — The 34th annual Copperstate EAA Regional Fly-In at Arizona's Casa Grande Municipal Airport last weekend brought a rousing close to the 2006 regional fly-in season. From all accounts, Copperstate 2006 was a tremendous success. "We welcomed more people this year, we had more airplanes than we've had in the last five years, we filled up the exhibitor tent with indoor exhibitors and had to expand it twice," beamed fly-in president Bob Hasson. "We needed a good year, and we got it."

EAA's Ron Wagner, who presented several sport pilot/light-sport aircraft forums throughout the weekend, called it "a landmark year for Copperstate, no doubt about it. You left feeling really good about this event and its prospects in the future."

Final numbers were not available, but the primary parking lot was full, even spilling into the secondary parking area. Near the end of the day on Saturday, they nearly had to go to the third lot.

A couple of decisions made by the board turned out to be masterstrokes. First, the event was moved to the last weekend of October in hopes of more favorable (not so hot) weather. "The weather was perfect," Hasson said. We even saw a new thing at Copperstate this year--the jacket! Many folks wore long sleeves and jackets up until about noon every day." Afternoon temps topped out in the mid 80s.

The other decision was to forego the traditional air show performances, and they weren't sure how the crowd would react to that. "We were really concerned about how people would respond to not having an air show," Hasson said. "But I think the gate seems to say that was not a detriment; in fact it may have been a positive for us based on the e-mails I've received."

Without the air show, arrivals and departures were allowed more flexibility, plus manufacturers commented it was easier to schedule demonstration flights for prospective customers.

Wagner hosted a chapter leaders update session for attending chapter leaders. Those present came from the local area as well as California and Colorado and discussed ideas for recruiting new members, strengthening chapter operations, and other matters. "We'll continue to hold these get-togethers for chapter leaders meet and greet sessions at future regional events," Wagner said.

"Visiting an EAA regional event is always like visiting old friends," Wager added.

Grand Champion in the aircraft judging was an RV-8 (N767GS) built by Glenn Smith of Henderson, Nevada. Reserve Grand Champion was Mel Bina's Velocity (N14B) from Tucson. For complete judging results, visit the Copperstate website.

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