By Bob Shane
Casa Grande Municipal Airport, in Casa Grande, Ariz., hosted the 34th annual Copperstate Regional EAA Fly-In, held October 26 through 29. The event was held later in the year than previously scheduled.
Copperstate President Bob Hasson explained that complaints from past participants about the heat in early October prompted the event to be moved to the last week in October, to take advantage of the cooler weather. The decision proved to be the right one. With an early morning temperature of 60 degrees and daytime highs in the 80s, the weather was perfect.
Many past participants also had a second complaint. They said that
having an air show limited their arrival and departure options and curtailed the time available for individual fly-bys and vendor demonstrations. The air show was dropped this year.
Airport improvements made since last year’s event included adding an additional aircraft tie-down area. Show enhancements added new “how to” exhibits. The long-term plan for Copperstate is to mold it into an EAA Fly-In that will also be an aviation expo. The initial step has been taken by further developing forums and workshops.
The city reportedly has plans to develop the north side of the airport, but work on this project hasn’t yet started. The airport received a federal grant to extend the aircraft parking ramp westward an additional quarter mile, doubling the available airplane parking.
The Copperstate Fly-In is successful because of its volunteers. When Hasson was asked why he invests the enormous amount of time required every year to put on an event of this magnitude, he quickly responds, “It’s the fantastic volunteers we have.”
Hasson has been president of the Copperstate Fly-In for 21 years.
“It’s like getting married into a family you just can’t leave,” he says.
The Copperstate awards were presented at the Saturday evening awards banquet. Glenn Smith, from Henderson, Nev., was the Grand Champion winner for his RV-8. The Reserve Grand Champion honors went to Mel Bina from Tucson, Ariz., for his Velocity.
A complete list of Copperstate winners can be found at [http://www.copperstate.org].