By JONI M. FISHER
This is not your port-a-potty and picnic table kind of fly-in. No, siree. The 8th Annual Triple Tree Fly-In near Greenville, South Carolina, will be held Sept. 3-7, featuring the finest in Southern hospitality.
A veteran of six Triple Tree Fly-Ins, I enthusiastically recommend it. In rain and shine, Triple Tree Fly-In offers good clean family fun.
The privately-owned Triple Tree Aerodrome (SC00) has a grass runway (03/21) with a tower manned by FAA volunteers from Greenville for special events.
Pat Hartness, retired CEO of Hartness International, bought the tower for $100 from a nearby military airfield and had it cut into quarters from top to bottom and reassembled on the Triple Tree airstrip. He won’t admit how much that effort cost.
Surrounding the grass strip you’ll find 400 acres of lush campground, two small lakes, a wooden pavilion, two wooden restroom buildings, a large building on the crest of a hill overlooking the north lake that has a walk-in fireplace and kitchen, all manned by an army of friendly volunteers.
Triple Tree Aerodrome is also known for hosting radio-controlled airplane events that feature one quarter-, one-third and even half-scale models. (The power to weight ratio is off the scale for these models.) The September fly-in is referred to as a full-scale model event.
Hartness has a hangar full of radio-controlled airplanes on display at the south end of the field near the larger of the two lakes and the large pavilion where the Saturday night BBQ is held on a bluff overlooking the field. His full-scale toys, like his Spartan, are also kept there when he doesn’t need the hangar for concerts and parties.
Greenville Jet Center supplies a fuel trailer and a van for the event. The local chapter of the Civil Air Patrol volunteers manpower and a VHF Comm Radio for the control tower. Vendors offer food, souvenirs, and some airplane supplies.
Hands-on workshops in riveting, fabric covering and composite require pre-registration through the website. Seminars this year include an ATC Roundtable discussion, iPads and Aviation (with demonstrations of tips and tricks for using ForeFlight), Flying to Canada and Alaska, and Introduction to Soaring.
Volunteer Judy Ellis plans the Ladies Day trip on Saturday, which brings ladies to beautiful downtown Greenville for shopping. The downtown river walk offers a shady stroll amid shops and restaurants.
Fishing, hiking, karaoke, and cookouts around the lake make this a fun family getaway. Demonstrations of radio-controlled model planes, live bands, hot air balloons, and a DC-3 have also added to the fun in previous years.
Participants can camp by their airplanes at the north end of the field. The larger curved lake at the south end of the field can accommodate sea planes. Those wishing to bring campers or recreational vehicles can park near restrooms and showers at the south end of the field where there are limited power hookups.
Tent camping and self-powered trailer camping falls under the trees at the north end of the field. Walking on the landing strip is not allowed for safety reasons. For those who prefer to stay in hotels, see the website for local listings.
Last year 800 planes stopped in at Triple Tree. Helicopters, experimentals, Stearmans, Cessnas, Mooneys, Pipers, a few ultralights and more will be on display. See you there!