I have been a little bit overwhelmed lately, so much so that I meant to actually write this and take some fresh pictures last Sunday when the first fly-in of the season happened at Seymour Lake. Unfortunately, I was just way to busy to attend. This is a total bummer for our family but I guess it is ok since we were a little bit concerned about the ice being solid as it was anyway.
Fly-in events are a super exciting event for me because a) obviously they are awesome, and b) who doesn't love something aviation related? Even those that do not get the thrill from flying the plane certainly get a thrill from seeing a cub doing a 20 foot take off or a 20 foot landing, right?
Here is a brief synopsis of the calendar year of fly-in events that I plan on attending (provided there are no scheduling conflicts before then). I actually am going to include the Seymour Lake event just for reference for next year.
Mar 29, 2015 - Alaska Airmen's Association Seymour Lake fly-in. This event is a home-grown event, exclusively for members of the Alaska Airmen's Association. It is a potluck out at Seymour Lake. One of the members maintains a plowed runway directly on the lake which goes directly to his home where he hosts the event. I didn't get back home until everyone was taking off and it was awesome to watch them practice their shortfield takeoffs off of my back porch. There was a yellow cub (I actually think it might have been a J3) which did an awesome takeoff that was fun to watch.
May 2-3, 2015 - The Great Alaska Aviation Gathering. This is the event of events for static displays and industry information in aviation. Both regular poor-boy wanna-be pilots like me and true to life industry experts attend not only to see what is new, but to socialize with other like minded people. On top of all that, it gives me a chance to sit in planes that I will probably never earn the right to fly. And what could beat that? They actually raffle off an aircraft. If you have not ever been, mark it down on your calendar. And not that I specifically want anyone to compete with me for the chance to win an absolutely bad to the bone SuperCub, I do grow tired of seeing them go out of state. Seriously. Go buy a ticket today. The instructions are in the link. The money goes to a really good cause and the chances are really good that you can win.
May 8-10, 2015 - Valdez Fly-in and Air Show. This particular fly-in holds a special place in my heart because it was the first one that we attended in the spring after we bought 9533A. We flew from Anchorage through the pass at Whittier and cruised along the coast to Valdez, then stayed that night in a bed and breakfast. Leila was only a year old at the time so we didn't feel like camping was the best option. I slept like a baby that night because our convoy vehicle which drove the highway (6 hours) was having mechanical difficulties and consequently I had to take a commercial flight back to Anchorage and blast back to Valdez with a different convoy vehicle. It was one of those things in life that I was cursing at the time but Stephanie and I laugh at remembering back on it. We were so young and full of energy back then! The Air Show itself features different highlights each year, the most popular by far is the STOL take off and landing. These videos are uploaded to YouTube most years and I could literally watch these for hours and hours without stopping. Another highlight that is exclusive to pilots in this event is the breakfast on the beach. Other than that, most of the events are a blast for anyone able to make the trip.
June 6, 2015 - 4th Annual Skwentna Fly-In. I will admit it, I have a crush of sorts on Skwentna. In the past I have had the same love affair with Talkeetna, Cooper Landing, Whittier, Seldovia, Homer, and Kasilof. I love small communities. I love basically everything about them. When I go out to the Skwentna Roadhouse, it is not hospitality like you have ever seen anywhere else. They (the owner's name evades me at the moment) literally treat you like you are a personal guest in their personal home. I have not been to their fly-ins but I am certain that they are as warm and welcome as visiting their roadhouse.
Fly-in season is a great opportunity for pilots to get together after the winter thaw and test their springtime skills at everything they will need for hunting season. From flour-bombing to shortfield take off and landing, it is a blast to watch. I hope that you attend at least one of these events this spring and summer.
Here are highlights from last year's STOL competition at Valdez. Skip ahead to 3:29 to see the really fun stuff!