The Fish Fry, Fly-Ins, and Open House: Why We Do What We Do
The past three weekend’s events at our three locations remind me and David and the great team of people who work with us why we do what we do.
It started with the Wings of Freedom Fish Fry in Smyrna where over 2000 people came out to the Smyrna Airport to honor the medical professionals who serve in our military and raise money for the community. Over 1.3 million dollars has been raised at this event over the past years that has helped numerous organizations in the Smyrna and Rutherford County Community. It is truly the big community event for the town of Smyrna. Friends from around the country who have attended this event comment on the patriotism and community pride they witness and are envious of what we have.
On September 21st the airport in Cleveland hosted an open house and fly in. I am not sure of the number of people in attendance but over 30 aircraft flew in from around middle and east Tennessee and supported the Civil Air Patrol’s Pancake Breakfast fundraiser. Numerous aircraft gave airplane rides including the Flagship Detroit DC-3, which took over 90 aviation enthusiasts for a ride in the oldest DC-3 flying. They got to experience a part of airline history.
This past weekend in Crossville we were part of the airport open house. Over 4000 people in attendance with a B17, a P51 Mustang, two T-28 Trojans, a T6, the Flagship Detroit DC-3 and numerous other aircraft that were on the ramp for tours and flights. In addition we had four aircraft that gave airplane rides all day long. Many people expressed that this was their first time in an airplane. Planes were flying continuously all day long.
I heard several stories of people whose fathers or grandfathers flew in World War II in aircraft similar to those on the ramp. You could see the excitement in the people in line who were about to fly in the B17 and those just excited about flying in a Cessna 172.
The joy and amazement of flight is still real. Somewhere in the group of passengers are the future aviators who will fly in the military, the airlines or general aviation, and will remember that the flight they took inspired them to learn to fly and pursue a career in aviation.
You have to be on the ramp and see the people and hear their stories to truly understand the impact.
The past three Saturdays over 6000 people showed up to experience aviation and over 500 people in two weekends got to fly in everything from a Cessna 172 to a B17 to a P51 Mustang.
I am grateful for the opportunity to work with a great team of professionals and dedicated volunteers who give hundreds if not thousands of hours of their time to make these events work safely and efficiently and provide a great experience for the people from each community in attendance. We may never know the impact of these airport events but somehow I think we will be hearing stories in the years to come as a result of what we do.
This is an awesome business to be in and we are blessed to be able to do what we do.
We hope to see you next September when we do this again.