Local fly-in still grounded

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Peach Fly-In will not be among the activities at this year’s Chilton County Peach Festival.

Billy Singleton of the Chilton Airport Authority said there are plans to restart the event, which was last held in 2007, but those plans likely will not come to fruition this year.

“Right now, it’s hard to get a static display,” Singleton said. “Those aircraft are extremely expensive to operate.”

In addition to operating expenses, decreases in funding and donations to aviation organizations make it difficult for pilots of vintage aircraft to justify visiting multiple fly-ins.

Also, most agree that summer is not the best time of year to hold a fly-in. While nothing is certain, Singleton said the event would likely return in the fall — but probably not in 2009.

“The temperatures were so hot the last couple of years. It was just miserable out there,” he said.

The Chilton County Airport is also in the process of closing a major acquisition deal that would allow the entire runway to be used. A significant portion of the runway was going unused because of obstacles in the takeoff and landing path of aircraft.

Singleton hinted that a special event is being planned in conjunction with the closing.

As for the fly-in, he asks for everyone’s patience until it can be reorganized.

“It takes a lot of effort to put something like that together. We’re certainly trying to resume that, but unfortunately it won’t be this year,” he said.