Redneck Fly-in set for this weekend

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 5, 2010

VIDALIA — This weekend, parachutes fly up.

That’s because the Concordia Parish Airport will play host to the second annual Redneck Fly-in, an event dedicated to aircraft that fly using parachutes rather than wings.

The aircraft are simple enough, being basically go-carts with parachutes attached to them, organizer Wayne Spring said.

“As the air flows into the parachute it inflates it,” he said. “The go-cart has an engine and a propeller, and to go up we give gas and to come down we come off the gas.”

Once in the air, the go-carts are steered by lines attached to the trailing edge of the parachute. Pulling the line accelerates the airflow through that side of the parachute, making the aircraft veer in that direction.

“Basically, if you want to go right, you push right, and if you want to go left you push left,” Spring said.

The fly-in began Friday, and will continue through Sunday.

The group chose to use the Concordia Parish airport because it has a lot of open ground, which allows them to fly at lower altitude because they don’t have to avoid things like power lines, Spring said.

“We typically fly at 30 miles per hour at 500 feet,” he said. “If we don’t have to fly over anything we might fly low.”

Last year’s fly-in brought in 50 people, and Spring said as of Friday 30 had arrived.

Concerns about the weather may have kept some away this year, he said.

“We are flying, but we aren’t really going off sightseeing,” he said. “Everybody is watching for the next thunderstorm.”

The fly-in was organized through Internet message groups, Spring said.

“If we are going to have a fly-in, we will announce it over e-mail and it will spread like wildfire and whoever will come will come,” he said.

And while some may call the parachute-powered planes unsafe, Spring said that’s not the case.

“We deploy our safety device before we ever leave the ground,” he said.

The group will take to the air at daylight and fly until the winds prevent them from doing any more.

When they’re not flying, participants will be having a pig roast and crab boil, and showing off things like a jet engine-powered bicycle, Spring said.

Concordia Parish Airport Authority President Carl Sayers said the airport is happy to host the group.

“We just let them come in, and they have their fly-in,” he said.

For more information about the fly-in, visit web.me.com/mhs70/Redneck_Fly-In_2010