Fly-In expecting lots of airplanes — including war birds — hot air balloon and helicopters Saturday at Natchez-Adams County Airport

Published 4:58 pm Thursday, March 30, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Some involved with planning Saturday’s Fly-In at the Natchez-Adams County Airport haven’t been talking much about the weather.

“We were so nervous about the weather two years ago when we had the last Fly-In. I have learned from the balloon races that you just shouldn’t talk about the weather,” said organizer Tate Hobdy. “However, the brain trust at the weather service say the weather is looking pretty good for Saturday.”

He said since Saturday’s forecast has brightened, registrations from pilots who will fly-in their planes have increased.

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“Just a few minutes ago, we had two more war birds register,” Hobdy said. “When we did this two years ago, it was the perfect storm. COVID was still going on and we couldn’t have indoor events. And the big fly-in in Florida they usually have every year wasn’t going on. We ended up with 135 aircraft. I think this year’s Fly-In will be a little bit smaller, but we will still have a whole bunch of aircrafts.”

In addition to airplanes, this year’s Fly-In will also include a hot air balloon, at least one helicopter and several vintage World War II aircraft.

“And if you want to take a ride in an AT-6 Texan training aircraft, you can do that Saturday,” he said. “It’s a monster, has a big 700 horsepower radial engine.”

Those rides don’t come cheap.

“I think it’s $375 for a 20-30 minute ride, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Hobdy said. “And it takes about $100 just to crank the thing.”

Proceeds from the rides raise money for the Southern Air Heritage Foundation, which uses the funds to preserve vintage aircraft, including war birds, at the museum in Tallulah, Louisiana.

Food vendors will be on hand selling kettle corn, burgers, pizza, jambalaya and more.

“It will be a pretty good spread,” he said.

There is no charge to attend the Fly-In and see the airplanes up close and personal, and no charge for parking.

“Those who want to make a donation can do so. It costs us about $5,000 to put the fly-in on. And this year we are partnering with Pilots for Patients, which is a group of pilots, some local, who fly Miss-Lou patients who need non-emergency care out of the area to their appointments or other medical needs,” Hobdy said.

Any proceeds from the fly in after expenses will go to benefit that group.

If a pilot is interested in flying in, Hobdy asks that they go to Facebook events and register. No drones, please.

“And please do not bring your own golf cart to the Fly-In or anything like that. This is a walking event,” he said. “This is going to be fun. The weather is looking surprisingly good. And we will have some really cool airplanes out there.”