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35th 'Copperstate' Fly-In Begins Today

Casa Grande from the air at Copperstate 2006

October 24, 2007 —Thursday is opening day of this year’s final EAA regional fly-in, the 35th annual Copperstate Regional EAA Fly-In at the Casa Grande Municipal Airport (CGZ), Arizona.  Organizers expect as many as 600 aircraft, including antique, classic, homebuilts, light-sport, warbirds, and ultralights., more than 75 exhibitors representing many in the general aviation industry, and close to 80 forums and workshops, sponsored this year by Aircraft Spruce & Specialty. Ideal weather is in the forecast (low to mid 80s and light breezes) and they’re expecting to have another good event.

The airport is ideally located just a few miles west of Interstate 10 midway between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. Bob Hasson, fly-in president, has been there for several days, jockeying a forklift and doing other things on the grounds in preparation for the event.

“This is the first time I sat down in six hours, except for the forklift,” he said Wednesday. “We’ve got more exhibitors than we’ve had in the last two years so we’ve had to expand the exhibitor area (the big tent), plus added tents for all the aircraft kit types.”

To encourage people to have their airplanes judged, Copperstate is for the first time giving everyone who registers a showplane a new, EAA-sponsored mug etched with the Copperstate and EAA logos.

Last year Copperstate did not have an air show and the same holds true for 2007. “That allows people to fly as often as they want to,” Hasson said.  They’ve also moved the ultralight area to adjacent to the showplane area so they can participate in front of the crowd as well.

The name of the game at Copperstate is bring your airplane, fly it, give people rides, and don’t forget to tell the announcers the specs so they can talk about it as you fly by.

EAA will host and conduct several forums, workshops and other events at Copperstate. EAA’s Ron Wagner, manager of field operations, will present daily forums throughout the fly-in including:

  • EAA Sport Pilot Update (Thursday, 2 p.m., Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m.)
  • Learn to Fly Now... It's Never Been Easier (Friday, Saturday, 1 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.)
  • Buying a Light Sport Aircraft…Ask the Right Questions (Friday, 2 p.m.)
  • Sport Pilot... New Opportunities for Flight Schools (Saturday, 9 a.m.)

In addition, EAA will host a special Chapter Leaders Update session at 3 p.m. Saturday in Forum Tent 3.

 “We’ve got a lot of great volunteers,” Hasson added. “Without them there would not be any of these shows. I know it gets old by people saying it all the time, but it is an absolute fact.”

Gates are open Thursday through Saturday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. For complete information, visit www.Copperstate.org.

New Copperstate Award Honors Terry Langen

Terry Langen (right) and Herb Berkman

Copperstate will inaugurate a new award this year to honor the memory of Terry Langen, the fly in’s beloved longtime event announcer who was tragically killed in an airplane crash last June along with co-announcer Herb Berkman. To acknowledge and remember Terry and his efforts on behalf of so many others, Copperstate will honor the ground support person of the year with the first Terry Langen Award that to the year’s most outstanding Young Eagles ground volunteer.

“We have given awards for the pilot who flew the most Young Eagles in Arizona, and we’re going to continue to do that,” Bob Hasson explained. “But we have some really dedicated ground volunteers. They organize the events, and do all the ‘grunt’ work. It’s time that they were also recognized.”

Langen was Chapter 81’s volunteer Young Eagles Coordinator for many years and was always willing to lend a hand to other chapters in the state in organizing Young Eagles rallies, Hasson said.

Terry’s widow, Diana, will receive the first Terry Langen award at Saturday night’s awards banquet.

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