Back To Basics Fly-In
I've been to many air shows and other aviation events over the years. Frankly, I got a bit tired of the "big" shows as they have in recent years become too commercialized...VIP seating, loud music, announcers who just won't shut up (I want to hear airplane noise!), etc. Shows in the past that were more about the planes were more fun.
So, I generally only go to smaller events, the kind of back to basics fly-ins that are held by EAA chapters and local flying clubs. My own EAA chapter held just such an event this past weekend. Oddly, it's not held at our home airport but at a grass strip some distance away that itself is a real throwback to the earlier days of aviation. We have always just called the event "Myricks" because that's the name of the field it's held on.
It's kind of funny how little effort we put into this. We basically just show up with a grill and some hamburgs and hot dogs to cook, light the fires and start serving when people get hungry. There's not a lot of advertising done either, but somehow people still know about it and show up. We usually get a motorcycle club, an antique car club or two (this year it was old Porsches) in addition to all the planes.
The planes that fly in are interesting too. Our local field is mostly run of the mill Pipers and Cessnas, though we do have more Grummans than most. But nothing homebuilt or really unusual. Myricks, though, seems to attract that sort of thing. There's always a Stearman or two, ex-mil planes like a de Havilland Chipmunk and this year for the first time an SNJ, plus various homebuilts, ultralights, helicopters and of course the Cessnas and Piper, though here it includes things like a Piper Tri-Pacer and Cessna 170.
There's no big schedule of events but planes are going up and down all day. A couple of the locals hop rides informally and those planes are really busy. The red Stearman usually puts on a little smoke show and the Chipmunk will do a pass or two. For the kids, there's a candy drop from one of the old time planes. Meanwhile the grills are cooking, cameras are snapping photos and pilots and aviation fans are chatting up a storm.
It's just simple, relaxing fun, spending a day at an old time airfield watching the planes and talking flying to like-minded enthusiasts. When it's all over, just hop in the plane and fly home--no miles of traffic jams to deal with like you see at the big shows.
Maybe it's not as exciting as watching the Blue Angels or a top aerobatic act, but still what a great way to enjoy a day of aviation.