The Northwest Mountain Family Fly-In, held Aug. 13-15 in McCall, was all about safe flying. And mountain biking. And Dutch oven cooking. And lake tours
The Family Fly-In, sponsored by ITDs Division of Aeronautics, was true to its name, providing a variety of activities for families, aviation enthusiasts and pilots. While the emphasis remains on pilot education and safety, this years event expanded to include a broad range of activities for non-pilots.
This years fly-in had something for the entire family, says Frank Lester, Division of Aeronautics. McCall is an ideal destination its a showcase for outdoor recreation and is easily accessible by plane.
Idaho is my favorite place to fly, no doubt, said Brick Loring of Salt Lake City.
He realizes that flying in Idaho often includes flying
in the backcountry; he places a lot of importance on knowing how to
do that safely.
We get used to flying over the mountains, but its important to know about flying down between the mountains, in the trees.
Kyle Garrett, also from Salt Lake City, attended the fly-in for the third time. What brings him back? Oohhhh, airplanes, he said, Homer Simpson-style.
Every time we come here, we learn new things about flying, Garrett said. Weve learned lots about backcountry flying. But we dont just go to get there, we do it for the flying.
Garrett usually flies his Cessna 206 to places where he can camp, hike and relax something that often includes a backcountry strip somewhere in Idaho.
Its the best flying in the lower 48 states, he said. Youve got 40-plus backcountry strips concentrated in one area its not like any of the other western states.
An estimated 220 pilots, many who brought family or friends along, registered for the weekend event. This nearly doubles last years attendance figures. Organizers attribute the dramatic increase to the diversity of activities, expanded events for kids, off-airport tours and an aggressive promotional campaign. In addition to news releases, postcards were mailed to nearly 17,000 pilots in Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and Oregon, and 1,100 received e-mails about the event.
Activities included mountain biking at Brundage Mountain, golf, a tour of the Tamarack resort, a walking tour of McCall and a land/lake tour in an authentic WWII Amphibious DUKW. Activities especially for children included free airplane flights with the Experimental Aircraft Associations Young Eagles, a visit from Smokey Bear, face painting, McPaws Regional Animal Shelter, learning about and looking at llamas and the opportunity for Boy Scouts to earn their aviation merit badge (see related story).
The event was organized by the ITDs Division of Aeronautics, the Federal Aviation Administration, the city of McCall, the McCall Area Chamber of Commerce and McCall Aviation.