Enthusiasts from three states take part in Concordia fly-in

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 31, 2003

VIDALIA, La. &045; Buzzing the runway with antique classics such as a single engine 1941 Waco, 51 aviators from Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi participated in the annual Spring Fly-In at Concordia Airport on Saturday.

The event, sponsored by the Concordia chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association, is the third of 10 EAA fly-in events scheduled in Louisiana this year, as pilots and flight fans mark the centennial of aviation history.

&uot;Planes come in from all around.

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It’s just a time for aviation people to get together and have fun,&uot; said local EEA chapter president Donna Maroon.

About 150 people attended the event, including several happy children who enjoyed their first flights through the Young Eagles, an EAA-sponsored program that allows pilots to provide demonstration flights for youth ages 8 to 17.

Ben Morris, an eighth-grader at Vidalia junior High School, was awed by the view and the speed of flight.

&uot;It was pretty neat.

You could see everything.

We said ‘Let’s go to Wal Mart’ &045; and we were there in, like 10 seconds,&uot; said Morris, who hopes to someday become a flight instructor.

Parents and kids were treated to boiled crawfish, hamburgers and hotdogs under shady tents, while pilots taxied their planes out to the runway for short flights.

Vidalia resident Carl Sayers, a member of the Concordia Airport Board, said maintenance work at the airport was completed just in time for the fly-in.

&uot;We just got the airport reopened Thursday.

It’s been closed since March so we could resurface the runways, taxiways and parkways,’ said Sayers, adding that the work was funded with a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Sayers flies a 1967 Cessna 172 that he purchased and remodeled about five years ago.

&uot;It’s a manufactured plane.

But most of these planes here today are built by individuals,&uot; he said.

Al Womack of Jackson, La. was awarded Best of Show for his Waco SRE, and Cliff Harkins of Waller, Texas was commended for flying his single-engine Tri-Champ the farthest distance to attend the event.

Established in 1953, the EAA has chapters in all 50 states and a worldwide membership of more than 170,000.