Smaller-scale Event May Replace Airport Day
December 13, 2013
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  • Discussion continued Thursday on the future of an air show in Fort Scott.

    Members of the Fort Scott Airport Advisory Board met to continue their talks on the possibility of an air show, fly-in, or similar event in 2014. Present for the meeting were board members Greg Post, Ken Lyon, Jim Gladbach and Shawn Goans.

    Board members are in the process of trying to figure out what to do about an event next year as this year’s Airport Day was cancelled due to the fact that last year’s air show lost money.

    They’ve also been trying in recent months to figure out ways to raise money for the event and also looking for someone to step up and become involved in organizing the event to the extent former event chairman Bob Marshall did.

    Marshall and others who have been contacted have declined future involvement with the air show.

    Board members are leaning their focus toward a more downsized event than in previous years, such as a fly-in breakfast, next fall. Such an event could save time and money, require less involvement from the FAA, and provide other benefits.

    “There’s the possibility of bringing in more airplanes this way,” Airport Manager Kenny Howard said after the meeting. “It’s a cost savings plus all the paperwork. Cost is the biggest thing. And what we’re really lacking is someone to step up the way Marshall did.”

    Organizers are looking at possibly a general aviation fly-in for the second Saturday in September.

    During the meeting, Post said he has talked to the FAA recently about obtaining a list of pilots within a 100-200 mile radius of Fort Scott and discussed with the board the idea of mailing fliers to these pilots about a month before the event inviting them to participate.

    Lyon discussed the idea of talking with area chapters of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) about becoming involved with the air show. Lyon said he has looked online and found the nearest EAA chapter is located in Independence. Other Kansas chapters are located in Olathe and Overland Park.

    The EAA is an international organization of aviation enthusiasts based in Wisconsin that has more than 186,000 members and nearly 1,000 chapters worldwide.

    Lyon said Missouri chapters are located in the Kansas City area, Liberty and Maryville. He was not able to reach the president of the Independence chapter but did contact the president of the Overland Park chapter and said he is a plane owner with an interest in supporting the air show.

    “It was very informative,” Lyon said.

    Based on this, Lyon said he thought it would be a good idea to follow up by making contact with other EAA chapters in the Kansas City area. Board members agreed it would be a good idea to establish relationships and contacts with EAA chapters.

    “They’re passionate about flying,” Goans said.

    Lyon said he also talked to vintage plane owners about their possible support of an event in which they could fly in to the local airport to show off their planes and maybe perform some aerobatics.

    Howard said during the meeting he would research the differences between organizing a “full-blown” formal air show with involvement from the FAA versus organizing a more informal fly-in event with planes coming in to perform some maneuvers.

    Post said typically at fly-in events, awards are given to first, second and third place winners of the air show.

    Post said he thought perhaps by the board’s next meeting in January contacts with some individuals and groups will have been made. Lyon said he has a list of four contacts to reach about their potential interest in the event.

    The board agreed to set the next meeting on the topic for Jan. 30.

    Lyon said he will try to again contact Marshall about any useful information he has, such as records, that can be used in organization of next year’s event.

    Howard also gave an update on the local airport during the meeting. He reported on fuel sales at the airport and said “there are a lot of jet sales right now.”

    “Things at the airport are going well,” he said.

    In response to a question from a board member, Howard said maps are no longer sold at the airport as “everything is going to GPS now.”