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Tue, Jan 31, 2012

The Fly-In You Might Have Missed ... But Shouldn't Have

Palatka, FL Offers A Different Kind Of Event

By David Juwel

In a previous edition of Aero-News, we advised our readers about the second annual Fly-in at the Palatka, Florida airport this past Saturday. Well, if you missed this fly-in, you missed an excellent event, because it wasn’t like the typical fly-in where you just have a gathering of pilots and their planes with a few dissimilar models interspersed among the food and trinket vendors. No, not at all, this was much different.

The Key Larkin Field (28J) (pictured) in Palatka FL, is centrally located and has approximately 68 airports located within 50 miles of it  ... according to the iFlyWhere app. This gives them the ability to draw from a significant cross section of aviation, and that’s exactly what occurred. Approximately 125 aircraft showed up representing over 35 different models of flying machines. Everything was there; turbines, pistons, rotary and fixed wing, classics, experimental, light sport and parachutes. This fly-in had an extremely cosmopolitan character about it.

Everywhere you looked, whether you were new to aviation or an old pro, there were unusual aviation sights to behold. There was an award winning polished aluminum Lockheed Electra Model 12-A Junior, a scaled down version of the Lockheed Model 10-E that Amelia Earhart flew. This plane was manufactured in 1938 and only 70 of them were built.

Lockheed Electra 12-A JR

There was a fly-by with a large formation of Van’s RV’s led by an A-4 Skyhawk fighter. Impressive watching him fly-by in slow-flight as the compilation of different RV’s maintained excellent formation in close proximity to him. The RV-8 Mavericks precision formation team also flew and displayed at the show.

If you didn’t attend, you missed seeing a beautiful Lancair owned by Doug Brunner. It had oxygen, a Chelton EFIS, an 11.5 gal aux fuel tank, and thermal de-icing boots. This aircraft was raced at Reno in 2008. It is certainly a serious cross-country aircraft. You missed the opportunity to buy one of the 5 Quartz Mountain Aerospace Luscombe 11e aircraft that are for sale at this airport. This particular model of the Luscombe is a roomy 4-place powered by a 185 hp Teledyne Continental engine. It has a useful load of 830 lbs. and cruises at 115 kts.

You also missed a 4-place twin engine Seabee (pictured, below), a TB-30 Epsilon French Air Force trainer, a Turbine Legend, and an AirCam; talk about dissimilar aircraft! And if airplanes were not quite your lump of sugar, they also had an antique car show on the field where you could have seen a 1925 Model-T Ford, a 1930 Chevy Truck, and numerous other car models, all in excellent condition.

But perhaps the best thing about the show was the aviation camaraderie and the opportunity to talk with people like Jack Hudson, a WWII aviation crewman who now has 21,400 flight hours as a pilot.

All of this in a peaceful environment with a free lunch for all who attended. One of the most enjoyable times I’ve had at any fly-in in recent years. It was a remarkable single-day event, and I’m glad I didn’t miss it. I hope I’ve whet your appetite so you’ll be there next year. (Aerial photo courtesy Key Larkin Field. Others by David Juwel)



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