HAGERSTOWN, Ind. – The 11th annual Hagerstown Fly-In will take to the skies over Hagerstown from 2 to 9 p.m. July 17.
More than a century of aviation will be showcased during the free gathering of planes and families, formerly known as the Hagerstown Flying Circus.
“This year, we will be honoring two Hagerstown area icons of aviation: Wilbur Wright and Marvin Stohler,” said Denny Burns, chairman of the Hagerstown Optimist Club that sponsors the fly-in. “Wilbur Wright, co-inventor of fixed-wing air travel, was born near Millville, just about 5 miles from our airport as the crow flies. And, Marvin Stohler, the long-time manager of the airport and leader of the Experimental Aircraft Association, also will be honored.”
A tribute to both aviators will begin at 6 p.m., as the Hagerstown Town Council’s action, re-naming the airport Marvin Stohler Field will be held.
“Because we’re honoring Wilbur Wright and Marvin Stohler, the fly-in will be expanded to include both vintage and modern aircraft,” Burns said.
Many of the nation’s top pilots, including those who are featured in aviation films led by Andrew King, will arrive throughout the day and will continue flying as daylight allows. Also, for the first time, airplane fuel will be available at the airport and pilots participating in take-offs and landings will be provided free fuel.
More than 40 aircraft are expected to take part, including two open cockpit bi-planes that may offer rides, weather permitting.
About 3,000 fans attended last year, Burns said, adding, “The only problem we’ve had is the congestion on Washington Street between 5:30 and 6 p.m. We encourage everyone to come as early as possible and for those who must leave early, it would be helpful if they could plan to leave the airport before 5:30 p.m. or after 6:30 p.m. this year.”
The Optimist Club will serve an expanded menu, and there will be a wide variety of vendors offering ice cream, kettle corn, snow cones, cotton candy, honey, jams and much more. Optimists also will have a bounce house for children. The airport has no seating, so everyone is asked to bring a chair or blanket.
Brent Meadows will sing the national anthem as the American Legion Post 333 Honor Guard presents the colors at 6 p.m.
“We expect pilots and aircraft from Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Maryland, North Carolina and Arkansas,” Burns said.
The pilots especially enjoy visiting with folks of all ages, explaining the workings of their perfectly restored planes, nearly all from the World War II era and earlier.
The event has always been free, thanks to the generosity of the pilots who are flying on to the nation’s largest vintage air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, later in the week. The rain date is July 18.
Any vendors interested in setting up at the airport may call Mary Anne Butters at 765-886-5098. And, everyone’s invited to visit Facebook/HagerstownFlyingCircus.