The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Fly In fun for all despite windy day

Pilots grounded Saturday make up for it later


Valdez Star photo

Pilot Scott Sexton flew low and sideways Sunday during an encore aerobatics routine at the Valdez Fly In.

A breezy start to last weekend's Valdez Fly In did not stop pilots and landlubber spectators from having a great time during the 11th annual event.

Hundreds of attendees gathered at Pioneer Field in Valdez as over 200 airplanes from Piper Cubs to renovated retired military aircraft flew in and out of town for the much anticipated event.

A minor metal bender – pilot speak for damaging an aircraft, occurred during a wind gust, prompting organizers to delay Saturday's opening ceremony and planned STOL (Short Take Off Landing) competition until later that afternoon.

No worries.

Valdez Star photo

Windy weather Saturday gave Fly In attendees, pilots and other officials time to get reacquainted inside Pioneer Field Airport.

There was plenty of ground-based activities for all tastes and budgets - from flight simulator rides to face painting – to keep event goers happy, informed and entertained before the winds died down Saturday. By midday Sunday, the scheduled events were running nearly on time and spectators were even treated to an encore aerobatics show by pilot Scott Sextant. Flour bombing and other in-air entertainments added to the ambience.

In an online blog posting at, Fly In president Joe Prax kept event goers updated on the event.

"The wind was a bummer," he said in a Monday posting. "The Poker Run/Beach landing was doable but would not have been enjoyable so we pulled it. The wind was a challenge on Saturday as well. Several pilots wanted to fly in it to see how low the numbers could be and it was tempting to try but others would have backed out and we certainly didn't want someone feeling pressured to do something either."


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