Who turned out the lights?

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – Mylar balloons stuck in power lines caused a power outage for 5,800 north Idaho Falls residents, including all of us in the AeroMark hangar, home to the 3rd annual Idaho Aviation Expo.

Everyone took the power outage in stride and the power came back on about 12:30 pm. Luckily, all twelve display aircraft were already inside the 30,000 square foot hangar.

The aircraft and nearly 50 exhibitors made for a nice presentation area.

Friday lunch attendees were treated to a wonderful history of Idaho backcountry airstrips by author, Richard Holm. His book, Bound for the Backcountry, is filled with 1,200 pictures and countless stories and history of how the network of backcountry strips came into being and made for an inspiring talk.

Saturday’s luncheon kicked off with the Idaho Aviation Association annual meeting and was wrapped up with a talk by Mark Petersen, a resident of Boise, Idaho, and current owner of “Hell-er Bust” a P-51D Mustang.

The expo ended with a Saturday night banquet at which Flying magazine’s Martha Lunkin entertained the crowd with stories from her many years working for the FAA and years since.

Forums on backcountry flying, weather, avionics, and more were sprinkled throughout both days of the expo. One session of particular interest to many was Colleen Back’s “Rebuild Big Creek“. The popular backcountry destination was destroyed by fire in October 2008. The Idaho Aviation Foundation seeks to save, and rebuild, “an Idaho Treasure”.

The Idaho Aviation Expo won’t set any attendance records, but that isn’t the point. Having a chance to connect with old friends and make a few new ones makes the trek to Idaho Falls worthwhile.

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