By Jordan Puckett
Sporty’s Pilot Shop, the largest pilot shop in the world, is hosting their annual Fly-In on Saturday May 18. This event has been going on for about ten years and attracts over 1,000 attendants each year. Last year, over 200 pilots and their passengers flew in to the Clermont County Airport from all over the country.
The Fly-In is a gathering of pilots from around the United States. It includes aviation seminars, exhibits from aviation companies, and displays of aircraft. Free hot dogs are served at the event.
Thirty aviation exhibits from companies all around the country will be at this year’s Fly-In. These exhibits include displays of headsets, aircraft upgrades, and presentation by aviation manufacturers. The free aviation seminars offered periodically throughout the day will include topics such as ForeFlight, Garmin, and Flying with the iPad, among others. These seminars have been popular among pilots in the past, particularly the one on the iPad.
There will also be an Airplane Giveaway Sweepstakes at the event. This will be the 30th aircraft Sporty’s has given away. Last year, a brand new Cessna Skycatcher was awarded to Dr. Matthew Smolin, cardiologist in the United States Army Reserves who has served time in Iraq. The prize this year is a new Legend Cub. The plane is worth about $145,000 according to Sporty’s employee Bill Anderson. More details about the aircraft can be found on Sporty’s website.
The winner of the sweepstakes is chosen by a random drawing of all who placed an order with the aviation store in the previous year. The size or content of the order does not matter. The winner is chosen at noon on the day of the Fly-In.
In order to win, the person chosen must be a pilot. If the winner is not present at the Fly-In, he is telephoned during the event, the phone call broadcasted over the speakers for all to hear. Sporty’s employee Mark Wiesenhahn, the winners are “surprised, to say the least.” Arrangements are made later for the pilot to fly his brand new plane home.
While primarily for pilots, the general public is invited to the Fly-In as well. There will be aircraft on display, as well as flight instructors and orientation rides available for purchase.
The Fly-In will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 18 at Clermont County/Sporty’s Airport in Batavia. For more information, visit www.sportys.com/flyin.