By WENDY MARTIN
Have wings, will travel.
The birds will definitely be on the move, and the Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF) and Havana Regional Airport (9I0) in Illinois are hoping pilots interested in a unique fly-in opportunity will be on the move too.
On Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, Havana will have its second annual Migratory Bird Fly-in and Photo Shoot.
The rural Illinois grass strip airport is located along the Illinois River and Mississippi River Flyway.
Also nearby are Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge, Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge and The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve, providing a bluff-to-bluff river area for migrating birds.
This is the time of year that hundreds of thousands of geese flock to the waters of the refuges and preserve where they can easily be observed — and heard.
“It is an amazing experience just to hear the racket they make between the sound of their honking and the sound of wings in the air as they restlessly circle, land, and take off to circle some more,” said Bob Martin of the Havana Regional Port Authority.
Havana Regional Airport features a grass strip, fuel, and a great pilot’s lounge, according to Mike Purpura of the RAF.
It is suggested that pilots and their passengers arrive by 9 a.m. Breakfast will be served to those who arrive earlier, courtesy of the local EAA Chapter.
Transportation will be provided from the airport to the refuges where participants can take photos and hear a wildlife biologist talk about the ecosystem, habits, and migratory patterns.
The group will stop at the nearby Big Horse Vineyard for lunch before returning to the airport.
Weather and birds are unpredicable. Be sure to dress warm. In the event of weather, the event will be rescheduled for Saturday, March 3.
100LL is available on the field. When landing or taking off at this fly-in turn on all lights and strobes, airport officials advise.