By Pete Soyer
The seventh annual Fly-In, sponsored by the Montana Pilots Association, is happening July 7 at the Big Sandy airport.
The Fly-In has been held in Havre in the past, but was moved to Big Sandy this year. John Anderson, president of the association's North Central Hangar, said the Fly-In is being held in Big Sandy because the North Central Hangar has members in the Chinook and Big Sandy areas as well and wants to give those communities a chance to host the event.
The Great Falls Experimental Aircraft Association will be giving free airplane rides to kids between the ages of 8 and 17. The goal of the EEA Young Eagles Program is to give 1 million kids a free airplane ride by the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers' first powered flight in 2003. They have already reached 700,859 free flights to date, and Anderson said the EEA Young Eagles Program should "reach their goal pretty early."
Kids must have a parent's permission before flying. The flights will be given between 9 a.m. and noon.
The event also will feature flying competitions consisting of flour bombing and spot landing. Anderson said pilots fly at about 200 feet and drop bags of flour toward a target. The pilot who comes closest to the target wins.
After the bombing, pilots have to try to land on a painted line on the runway. Anderson said the pilot who comes closest to the line without overshooting it is the winner.
Airplanes are not the only reason to come out to the Fly-In. Modern and historic tractors, motorcycles and classic cars will be on display.
Anderson said people can show up with their own vehicles for display. "There are no fees, just a charge for breakfast," Anderson said. "It's just supposed to be fun."
Breakfast is served at 7 a.m. for $4.50 with door prizes being given out to people in line. Pilots can camp at the airport Friday night. "If you have a motorhome we'll find a place to put you," Anderson said.