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Fly-in Attracts Crowd
Monday, August 24, 2009, C-T
C-T Photos/Laura Schuler

CAPTION: A youth gets ready to take a 15-minute flight around the Chillicothe area Saturday morning at the 17th annual fly-in at Chillicothe Municipal Airport.

Nearly perfect weather conditions, coupled with attractions like free Young Eagle airplane rides, face painting, a drawing and breakfast attracted a huge crowd Saturday to the Chillicothe Municipal Airport for the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter No. 944's annual fly-in.

Organizers say there were 43 planes at the event, which started with a pancake breakfast which served 350 pilots and aircraft enthusiasts. Twenty-six pilots flew in for the event coming from as far west as Bonner Springs, Kansas, and as far east as Memphis, Missouri. Pilots also came from as far north as Tarkio, Missouri, and as far south as Versailles, Missouri. One of the pilots flying in Saturday morning was U.S. Congressman Sam Graves, an aircraft enthusiast from Tarkio. The event also featured the Missouri State Highway Patrol's "Convincer" apparatus, which "convinced" people to wear their seat belts when in a vehicle. The LifeFlight helicopter was also on hand, as was Ducks on Parade, the Green Hills RC Model Planes and a face painting booth.

The event also featured drawings for several items which were donated by local merchants. The proceeds raised go toward the EAA's scholarship fund or are used to purchase fuel to fly Young Eagles. EAA's primary goal is making aviation education and experience available to young people, which is why the group developed the Young Eagles program. This is a grass-roots program to turn dreams into reality for children ages 8 to 17, according to EAA chapter spokesman Jim Summerville.

Through the program, young people are given instructions about flight and a free airplane ride with one of the chapter's pilots. Each Young Eagle receives a certificate, pin and brochures. Ten pilots flew 128 Young Eagles (between the ages of 8 and 17 years old) and a total of 189 children during the day.

CAPTION(left): Ryan Fleming, 9, of Chillicothe, prepares for flight with pilot Raymond Hamilton.

CAPTION(right): U.S. Congressman Sam Graves, one of the pilots flying to Chillicothe Municipal Airport, gets a plate of pancakes and sausage Saturday morning during the pancake breakfast at the 17th annual Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter No. 944 fly-in. Approximately 350 pilots and aircraft enthusiasts were served breakfast Saturday.

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