Smoke-filled skies didn’t hinder the enthusiasm of pilots who flew to McCall for the annual Fly-In, sponsored by the Idaho Transportation Department’s Division of Aeronautics, Aug. 12-14.
Wildfires from eastern Washington and north-central Idaho generated enough smoke to create a foggy haze over the McCall area as the Fly-In was taking off.
A combination of safety seminars, social gatherings and aviation displays made up the weekend event, which drew more than 300 people and about 100 planes, as well as a number of McCall-area residents and visitors. Participants came from as far away as Texas and Florida.
“Pilots and their families from around the country are drawn to Idaho because of the unique access to the backcountry,” says Frank Lester, Division of Aeronautics. “McCall is the gateway to Idaho’s wilderness and the community provides an ideal destination point.”
• Nancy Lecklider of Bend, Oregon earned her pilot’s license at 60 years of age. Her Cessna 182 (“a good ol’ straight tail”) was built in 1956, the first production year for that model. This marked the fifth year Lecklider attended the Fly-In with husband Bob. A member of the Oregon Pilots Association, Nancy was one of nine people attending from the Central Oregon Chapter.
A resident of Aspen, Culwell told of a Colorado fly-in he once attended where the response to the DeHavilland was even more enthusiastic. With the plane parked (presumably under the watchful eye of security attendants), he and his wife departed for lunch. When they returned, stretching from the cockpit was a line of people.
Mothers were lifting their children into the aircraft, where the kids gleefully played at the controls. Culwell gently announced the plane was being closed, much to the disappointment of children still waiting.
• Jim Jones and niece Michele Nelson took a 30-minute ride in a classic 1928 Travel Air bi-plane with pilot Mike Carpentiero. The plane seats two passengers side-by-side in a front cockpit while the pilot flies from the rear cockpit.
There were approximately 1,100 flight operations (each includes a take-off and landing) at the McCall airport during the weekend. Ellen Roth and Sneaker the Dog had a prime vantage point from their campsite along the tarmac to watch the action. The family, including husband Dan Roach and son Chris, flew in from Seattle.
Federal Aviation Administration airworthiness inspector
John Walker conducted a PACE (Pilot and Aircraft Courtesy Evaluation)
check for Beverly Franklet of Orcas Island, Washington.
As part of the Fly-In, two FAA-sponsored pilot and aircraft safety programs,
Wings and PACE, were offered.