Copperstate a grassroots fly-in

It is easy to get caught up in the business side of flying. The future of fuel, security directives, regulations, Congress, and the economy tend to stress a great many pilots out. An antidote to that stress is an old-fashioned fly-in. The 37th annual Copperstate Fly-In, held Oct. 21-23 at Casa Grande Municipal Airport (CGZ), fills the prescription.

This fly-in has been right-sized. It kicked off at noon on Thursday, and wrapped up at 5 p.m. on Saturday. (A great schedule I wish other events around the country would consider).

As can be expected, Thursday was a slow day with 50-plus aircraft on the ramp and a few late vendors still setting up. However, when I arrived at the airport on Friday morning, there were nearly 200 aircraft on the ramp. There is no airshow at Copperstate, so the field is never closed, making it far easier to get to the fly-in. By 3:30 p.m. I’d guess half the aircraft on the ramp at noon had left (with many saying they’d be back on Saturday). Including transient aircraft, more than 350 filled every nook and cranny of ramp space at CGZ on Saturday.

The mix of aircraft was remarkable (see photo gallery below – and if you use, tag your photos COPFLYIN10). And in such an intimate setting, it was easy to see nearly ALL aircraft. Try doing that at AirVenture or Sun ‘n Fun (not that I’m complaining). Some of the aircraft included a plans-built P-40 Spitfire, a Siai Marchetti 1019 which looks like a turbine-powered L-19, a Varga Aircraft Model 2150A “Faux Mentor”, a Scottish Aviation Bulldog, several Van’s aircraft, a brightly painted Rans S-18, a Pazmany PL-1, and much, much more.

As with most fly-ins, aircraft judging was fast and furious. Following are the results from the EAA-sponsored judging:

Grand Champion

  • N712AZ, Smith Replica Super Cub, Marvin Vanderpool, Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Reserve Grand Champion

Custom Built Metal

  • 1st Place, N3NU, Vans RV-3B, John Nystrom, Placitas, N.M.
  • 2nd Place, N110GS Vans RV-10, Glen Scherrer, Fort Myers, Fla.
  • 3rd Place, N69TU, Team Rocket (RV-4), Richard Johnson, Pine Valley, Calif.

Custom Built Wood

  • 1st Place, N951JT, GY-20 Minicab, John Todhunter, Hemet, Calif.

Custom Built Tube and Fabric

  • 1st Place, N712AZ, Smith Replica Super Cub, Marvin Vanderpool, Lake Havasu City, Arizona
  • 2nd Place, N498DL, Challenger II, Dan Lance, Chandler, Arizona

Custom Built Composite

  • 1st Place, N124AB, Giles G-202, Steve Bergevin, Evergreen, Colo.
  • 2nd Place, N762RJ, Eagle EZ (Long-EZ), Mitch Goodrich, Billings, Mont.
  • 3rd Place, N3644Y, Lancair 4P (Propjet), Norm Lios, Scottsdale, Arizona

Custom Built Replica

  • 1st Place, N72796, S A L P51D, Jerry Sides, Medina, Texas

Custom Built Best Rotorcraft

  • N62NT, Rotorway Exec 162F/Talon, Nathan Solesbee, Anaheim, Calif.


  • 1st Place, N3111N, Cessna 150, Rusty Gavagan, Chandler, Arizona
  • 2nd Place, N4532C, Cessna 170B, Russ Gilmore, Chandler, Arizona


  • 1st Place, N712L, Piper PA-18-150, Allen Otto, Mesa, Arizona
  • 2nd Place, N34DM, Cessna 182B, Chris and Kathy Burgess, Durango, Colo.


  • 1st Place, N9178H, Stinson V77, Larry Boehme, Fort Riley, Kansas
  • 2nd Place, N56099, Boeing A75N1, Larry Dustman, Chandler, Calif.


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