Are aviation events storm ready?

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Amidst this year’s airshow season and continuing extreme/destructive weather, I wonder if aviation events are fully prepared. The National Weather Service’s Storm Ready program can help event organizers minimize weather catastrophes like 2011’s SUN ’n FUN tornado or the multi-fatality Indiana State Fair stage collapse. But how many fly-ins and airshows are so prepared?

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Honoring the WASP

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Michael Porter’s restored Stearman helps tell the women’s story

“Is that what I think it is?”

There’s something special about seeing a military aviator reunited with an airplane that he or, in this case, she flew during the war. It can be an emotional moment, like watching the reunion of long-lost family members.

During this year’s SUN ’n FUN, a handful of members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) were reunited with a 1942 Stearman that had been based at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas, during World War II and used in primary training. The reactions of the women ranged from smiles and eyes growing misty as the memories came flooding back, to girlish giggles and the sharing of war stories.

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Remember your first?

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Do you remember the first airplane you flew? For many people, this event is right up there with your first kiss.

And some aviators are lucky enough to find their first and make it their own many years later. Randall Patterson of Palm Coast, Fla., is one of those lucky people. He owns the very 1947 Aeronca L-16A that he logged his first hour in.

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The Spivey family flying station wagon

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There are many men who will tell you that buying an airplane very nearly resulted in divorce because their wives were dead-set against its purchase.

Kenneth Spivey Jr., from Vestavia, Ala., says he had a completely different experience: “My wife actually MADE me go buy this airplane!” he said, gesturing to his 1952 Cessna 170B.

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Indoor Free-flight Club initial meeting slated

The Central Florida Indoor Free-flight Club, which promotes the building and flying of all sorts of indoor free-flight model airplanes, whether an original design for high performance competition or kit models for scale or sport, will hold its initial meeting this Saturday on the SUN ’n FUN campus at Lakeland-Linder Regional Airport.

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