Copperstate Set for Next Week
Attending airplanes line the ramp at Casa Grande 2011.
October 18, 2012 - The Copperstate Fly-In & Aviation Expo, the last major fly-in aviation event of the 2012 flying season, takes place next week, Thursday, October 25, through Saturday, October 27, at the Casa Grande Municipal Airport in Arizona.
This year marks the fly-in's 40th anniversary, and once again visitors can enjoy informative workshops, the latest aviation products, and flying machines from ultralights to warbirds to microjets and more.
According to fly-in president Mike Still, Copperstate has grown by about 10 percent every year since he took over in 2008. Last year's event attracted more than 500 aircraft and 5,100 attendees from 10 countries and 39 states. "There are lots of airplanes in the pattern, lots of activity on the ramp, and plenty of friendly aviators to answer questions," Still said.
Aircraft highlights this year are led by several warbirds from the Arizona Wing of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) based in nearby Mesa, including a C-47, C-45, SNJ T-6 Texan, L-16, and PT-17. Flights on these five aircraft will be available to the public during the fly-in.
As in previous years, as many as 17 warbirds will perform a multi-point fly-over, including CJ-6s, T-34s, T-38s, T-6s, Yak-52s, and others. Also expected to take flight is a group of Stearman biplanes flying in formation. Meanwhile, an AH-64D (Apache Longbow) will participate courtesy of the Arizona Army National Guard (AZARNG), as will hundreds of other antique aircraft, production planes, and experimental amateur-builts.
One of Copperstate's big draws - especially among aviators - is the constant flying activity. Instead of an air show, fly-in pilots can be featured alone or with other aircraft in a showcase fly-by pattern - a traffic pattern designed to give the crowd a good view of the aircraft. Fly-by periods last up to 15 minutes, and pilots can choose to have information about their airplanes and/or themselves announced to the crowd.
A full slate of forums and workshops is also scheduled, and on Saturday evening a recognition banquet including aircraft judging awards is planned. For kids, an interactive rib-building workshop will be offered again this year.