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Desert Fun at Copperstate 2016

November 3, 2016 - The 44th annual Copperstate Fly-In Aviation and Education Expo, dubbed the “Southwest’s Premier Aviation event,” was held for the first time at historic Falcon Field, in Mesa, Arizona, on October 28 and 29, 2016. Before the United States entered World War II, Falcon Field held the distinction of being one of the three Thunderbird Fields (Thunderbird III) that trained American and foreign pilots from over 25 Allied nations. One in particular, the British, requested a name change for their training base to be titled after one of their birds of prey. Changed to Falcon Field in the summer of 1941, British pilots began flying PT-17 Stearmans and North American AT-6 advanced trainers from the single runway carved out of the Arizona desert.

“The City of Mesa has done an outstanding job welcoming and promoting our event,” said Stephen Bass, Copperstate Fly-In president. “With expanded grounds that afford aircraft and RV camping along with spectator parking we have a lot more room to showcase venders, forums, and seminars along with showplane parking.”

During the two-day event which saw clear blue skies and record high temperatures (more than 100 degrees), aircraft of all shapes and horsepower descended on Falcon Field. An estimated 200 participating aircraft were put on display. For those wanting to escape the warm afternoon sun, a large exhibit hangar housed dozens of vendors, manufactures, and three EAA Chapters; EAA Chapters 228, 538, and 1217 shared booth space while welcoming old friends and signing up new members.

Outside the exhibit hangar, fly-in guests had the opportunity to step back in time and fly in a New Standard biplane, a C-47 operated by the Arizona Commemorative Air Force (CAF), or a Bell AH1 Cobra attack helicopter.

Hands-on workshops teaching both composites and sheet metal were also offered to those interested in learning new skills and getting a small dose of what it takes to be a Copperstate award winner.

2016 Copperstate Fly-In Winners

Grand Champion Custom Built
N321TF Lancair Legacy RG     
Valin and Allyson Thorn; Sedona, Arizona

Reserve Grand Champion Custom Built
N424JD Van’s RV-7
Jeremy Schuld; Gilbert, Arizona

Grand Champion Restoration
N326M 1955 Beechcraft A45 (T-34A)
Glenn L. Anderson; Sandia Park, New Mexico

Reserve Grand Champion Restoration
N67957 1942 Boeing A75N1 (PT-17)
John Fedor; Fountain Hills, Arizona

Custom Built Metal
First Place N424JD Van’s RV-7                
Jeremy Schuld; Gilbert, Arizona

Second Place N184GC Van’s RV-8
Robert Anderson; Santa Fe, New Mexico

Custom Built Composite
First Place: N321TF Lancair Legacy RG
Valin and Allyson Thorn; Sedona, Arizona

Second Place: N86JL Lancair Evolution
John Lewis; Mesa, Arizona

Custom Built Best Tube and Fabric

N33W    Super Acrosport
Garry Adalian; Coronado, California

Best Wood

Kim Neibauer; Grand Junction, Colorado

Best Rotorcraft
N143PF Helicycle
Joe Goetz; Gilbert, Arizona    

Best Plans Built

N33W    Super Acrosport
Garry Adalian; Coronado, California

First Place: N712L 1956 Piper PA-18-150
Alan and Lori Otto; Mesa, Arizona

Second Place: N1823V 1947 Cessna 120
Scott Frazee; Gilbert, Arizona

First Place: N8809 1973 Bellanca 7EC
Chris Copeland; Queen Creek, Arizona

Second Place: N5325S 1966 Cessna 337A
Rosemary Gravett; Flagstaff, Arizona

First Place: N326M 1955 Beechcraft A45 (T-34A)
Glenn L Anderson; Sandia Park, New Mexico

Second Place: N67957 1942 Boeing A75N1 (PT-17)
John Fedor; Fountain Hills, Arizona

Best Piper Showplane - sponsored by Piper Flyer magazine
N244TW Piper Comanche PA-24-250
Terrance Williams; La Mesa, California

Best Cessna Showplane - sponsored by Cessna Flyer magazine
N9177B 1958 Cessna 172
Preston Bolan; Phoenix, Arizona

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