By every measure, the 42nd Annual EAA Southwest Regional Fly-In was bigger and better than at any other time over the past 10 years, according to officials of the event, also known as the Texas Fly-In.
Attendance for the two-and-a-half-day fly-in, held May 11-14, was 6,100, a 35% increase over 2005 and a 52% increase over 2004. It was the largest number of people to attend the SWRFI in 10 years.
About 760 planes flew into Hondo Airport (HDO), a 46% gain from 2005, as well as the greatest number in 10 years.
Campers numbered 210. “They camped beside their airplanes,” said E. D. Yoes, Jr., fly-in secretary. “They hooked up to electric power with highway RVs — as distinguished from RVs that fly. They pitched tents within walking distance of the brand-new outdoor showers. We can’t break down the camper count by categories, but the grand total is 90% larger than 2005. Clearly, camping is a big part of the EAA fly-in experience. Happily, Hondo Airport, with 2,500 acres of space, has plenty of room for more camping.”
Seventy-three exhibitors filled a large hangar and spread along the parking ramp in tents. Demonstrators of Light Sport Aircraft were particularly prominent and busy, he noted.
Forums numbered thirty-eight, the largest number in 10 years. “They were well attended, especially those given by Mike Melvill, the first civilian astronaut and pilot of SpaceShipOne two years ago above the Mojave,” he said.
Plans are already being made for next year’s fly-in, which is slated for June 1-2, 2007.