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Aircraft enthusiasts gather for annual Cracker Fly-In

Vintage flying machines will be on display at Lee Gilmer Airport

POSTED: July 5, 2012 1:00 a.m.

From monoplanes to biplanes, and helicopters to jets, the 44th annual Cracker Fly-In on Saturday will have something for aircraft enthusiasts, collectors and restorers, no matter how young or old.

“This is kind of a car show for airplanes,” said Winn Fletcher, a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 611, host of the event. The group anticipates more than 2,000 visitors.

“We have around 150 planes flying in. There are a few jets, some antique biplanes that really look cool and even a few ex-military war planes.”

The group will collect a $2 donation at the gate to help offset costs. Children ages 12 and under are admitted free.
The family-friendly event will be held at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport, 1137 Aviation Way in Gainesville.

Festivities will kick off with a pancake breakfast at 7:30 a.m., which costs $5 per person.

“There’s going to be lots of activity — even up in the air,” Fletcher said.

“We encourage the public to walk up and meet the pilots and check out their planes.”

Rides in a Vietnam-era Huey helicopter will be back by popular demand, as will the Georgia National Guard’s Black Hawk helicopter.

“They let the kids crawl all over it,” Fletcher said.

The aviation group has also arranged for Joe Shepherd of Fayetteville to bring in his 1936 Lockheed Electra.

“It’s the exact same plane they used in the movie ‘Amelia,’ which was about Amelia Earhart,” Fletcher said.

Shepherd’s plane is thought to be one of only eight surviving Lockheed Electras of the original 121 built in the 1930s, Fletcher says.

In addition to a love for all aircraft, organizers are encouraging attendees to bring their cameras for photo opportunities with the planes.

Touching down fashionably late is fine, but don’t be too tardy for the high flying party because things will be wrapping up around 2:30 p.m. Saturday.


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