Friday, July 10, 2020

Everglades Antique Air Aficionados Fly-In

PT-17 World War II training plane at Everglades Airpark during a Pancake Fly-in last year. Photos courtesy of Phill Lawry.

PT-17 World War II training plane at Everglades Airpark during a Pancake Fly-in last year. Photos courtesy of Phill Lawry.

The first commercial airline carried passengers from St. Pete to Tampa in 1941, only 11 years after the Wright Brothers first flew! And, in 1923, the Ta-Miami Air Line started operations between Tampa and Miami, in the same year that construction of the road was begun across the Glades.

Air history goes on. In the 1930’s, Opa-Locka was opened as a Naval air base; Eastern and Pan Am were founded. Newspapers were flown to Sanibel by seaplane in the 1939 “Dawn Patrol”. World War II training bases sprang up in Southwest Florida’s clement climate at Fort Myers, Buckingham, Clewiston and Naples.

Bring back the old warriors and dare-devils!

That’s exactly what the Antique Air Aficiaonados are trying to do on Saturday, January 22, when Everglades City Airpark hosts a Fly-In for old aircraft from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. There is no charge. Just arrive at Airfield X-01 on the edge of the Glades where fuel is available.

You will be welcomed with a free pancake breakfast, courtesy of Wings 10,000 Island Tours, and a chance to win 10 lbs. of stone crab claws, the local delicacy generously donated by Triad Seafood Market & Café in Everglades City. The highlight of the monthly breakfast is watching intrepid airman John Apte scoop up the banner before he circles to advertise its message!

Everyone is invited. Drop in by air, road or sea and share your memories of vintage flying.

The event is being promoted by the Everglades Society for Historic Preservation. For more information, see their website www.evergladeshistorical.org or phone Mike at 239-695-2244.

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