Slated for March 11, 2017, the fly-in will allow pilots to get up close to hundreds of thousands of migrating birds, according to officials.
According to RAF officials, the association’s state liaisons are tasked with promoting recreational destinations unique to their areas. The Illinois liaison, Mike Purpura, found this one — along with lots of support from city officials.
The airport in Havana (9I0 – That’s nine-india-zero) is a small grass airport in the Midwest with mogas and a great pilot lounge, he reports.
“Havana is an old river town, rich in history,” he said. “It was a vital port on the Illinois river in bygone days. During Prohibition, Chicago gangsters would drop in to gamble and hunt ducks. Now it is home to the Emiquon Wildlife Refuge, Asian jumping carp, brick-paved streets, warm-hearted people, and good food.”
According to RAF officials, Mayor Brenda Stadsholt and other city officials recognize the importance of aviation in Havana’s community and are taking steps through this one-of-a-kind event to increase activities at the airport.
Canada geese, snow geese, trumpeter swans, pelicans and ducks numbering in the hundreds to hundreds of thousands are expected to be at the refuge.
“This is an unforgettable North American animal migration that must be seen to be believed,” officials note.
Pilots should arrive at Havana Regional Airport (9I0) by 9 a.m. They will be transported to the Emiquon Wildlife Refuge, where they will have an opportunity to photograph these birds. A wildlife biologist will explain the ecosystem that supports them, their habits and migratory patterns.
City officials also promise to do their best to get pilots and passengers close to the numerous species of birds that can form flocks of 100,000 to 500,000 birds.
After lunch at a local restaurant, pilots will be returned to the airport for their flights home.
According to RAF officials, 100LL is available at nearby fields. Mogas is available for purchase on the honor system with a check at the Havana airport.
A $20 donation to the Havana Aviation Event Fund is welcome.
RAF officials advise pilots that “weather and birds are unpredictable, so dress appropriately and be prepared.”
Pilots are asked to RSVP by March 5 to HavanaIL@grics.net. Write BIRDS in the subject line.
You can download the Havana Safety Briefing from the RAF.