Mar 2017 This Fly-In was For The Birds!
I really wanted to go to the ‘1st Migratory Bird Fly-in & Photo Shoot’ at Havana, Illinois, hosted by the Recreational Aviation Foundation. I wanted to go, I just wasn’t so sure about the 17 degrees on my thermometer at 6:00 a.m. yesterday. Yikes that’s cold! It was to be a day spent mostly outdoors and a part of me was thinking that’d be a good reason to hibernate inside all day. Glad I didn’t. Even though I cringed at the thought of climbing into a frigid cockpit, I put on my big girl long underwear, layered up and hoped it’d keep me toasty.
The ‘bird’ fly-in was the combined effort of the RAF, the Havana Airport, the City of Havana and the Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge. In the typical world of general aviation fly-ins, the organization of this event was a truly remarkable accomplishment. I commend Mike Purpura, the RAF Illinois Liaison and mastermind, for making it happen. It was COLD but I stayed warm and totally enjoyed this awesome flyin!
Through education and persistence, Mike was able to organize a grass strip fly-in to an out-of-the-way destination none of us would likely ever visit.
Mission Statement: â€œThe Recreational Aviation Foundation preserves, maintains, and creates airstrips for recreational access.â€
Their Mission Statement continues “We believe in collaboration with both public and private entities to arrive at solutions that provide benefit to all parties.”
This fly-in clearly followed that mission. On an unlikely, un-fly-in like morning, the event brought 10 aircraft to an absolutely wonderful, tidy and well kept grass strip, 9I0. Smiling faces, hot coffee and pancakes & sausages greeted us, a sure sign it was going to be a great day. Local volunteers spent a big part of their day driving us to multiple bird watching locations within the Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge and Â took us to lunch at the local favorite, “Grandpas”. Jake Randa from Fish & Wildlife led the way while sharing the habits of migrating birds and the local wildlife ecology.
This fly-in is testament to the endless possibilities that exist for G.A., the ability to bring non-flyers and aviators together, and to create new, unique and fun opportunities for everyone.