A 1948 Vagabond sits beside a 1954 Corvette at last years Vintage Fly-In held at Gardner Municipal Airport. File Photo

Amy Cunningham
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For the fifth year area residents and plane enthusiasts will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with vintage aircraft at the annual Vintage Aircraft Fly-in held at Gardner Municipal Airport this Saturday.
The event, sponsored by Vintage Chapter 16 of the Experimental Aircraft Association, will feature between 70 and 80 airplanes flying in from around the United States.  Dale Rose, spokesperson for Vintage Chapter 16 said last year his group hosted pilots from as far away as Florida and California. The group also expects local pilots from around the Kansas City Metro area.
With several certified judges among their ranks, Vintage Chapter 16 will hand out awards to show attendees.
“This is something to do to further the sport of aviation, it’s kinda like a car show,” Rose said. “People like to show their cars and (other) people like to go and look at the cars.”
Rose believes that the show will have something for everyone to enjoy from airplane enthusiasts and history buffs to people interested in automobiles.
“Everybody has a different type of airplane, none are the same. We’ll have vintage airplanes that date back as far as 1932,” Rose said. “We’ll just show some real nice old airplanes – we have one guy with a vintage airplane, he also has a vintage car that he brings out to park next to it.”
The group requests visitors to the exhibition contribute a donation to help fund future endeavors. Weather permitting they plan to erect a tent on site to offer grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, snacks and soda for sale. T-shirts will be available to commemorate the event.
According to the group’s website, Vintage Chapter 16 is dedicated to the preservation and maintenance of antique and classic aircraft. They are currently in the process of raising funds for a chapter hangar they hope to use as a museum to highlight the Kansas City area’s rich aviation heritage. The hangar would also house examples of aircraft built in the Kansas City area and the Midwest.
Prior to moving the event to Gardner, the group held their annual fly-in in Atchison, Kan. on the weekend following Memorial Day. According to Rose, while the people in Atchison were accommodating the weather was not always a friend to the event.
“We held it in Atchison for 30 years, but it got rained out about 25 of those years,” he joked. “We moved it to the weekend following Father’s Day and we moved it here and we have had real nice weather ever since.”
Pilots will arrive between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. and place their planes on display. Many pilots remain on hand to answer questions. Rose anticipates the show to wind down between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
For more information, visit: http://www.vaa16.com/