Lancaster Airport Hosts a Drive-In (or Fly-In) Delight


Intelligencer Journal Correspondent

Over t Sunday for the 32nd annual pancake breakfast combination fly-in and cruise-in.

The event was sponsored by the Lancaster chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association, an international flying club with 180,000 members worldwide. It's made up of part-time fliers, many of whom have built their own experimental aircraft.

Sunday's event drew flyers in small planes of every description.

Lyman Bellinger has been piloting planes for 15 years and flew over from Smoketown in his open-cockpit Pober Pixie. It's a nonelectric craft, which Bellinger starts by turning its single propeller with his hand.

"I love low and slow flying, and the sense of freedom and awareness I get being up in the air over Lancaster County," Bellinger said.

It was the third year in a row that temperatures hit the 80s for the show, which Bellinger said made it a very nice day for flying.

There also were several hundred sport rods and antique and classic cars at the accompanying cruise-in.

Wilmer and Theresa Weaver of Fredericksburg drove to the event in their 1956 Mercury convertible. Wilmer described it as "the jewel" of their collection, which consists of no fewer than 18 '56 Mercurys. "Fortunately," he said, "we have quite a bit of property to store them on."

The Weavers also donated the cruise-in's baking contest prize for the cake that best resembled a classic car or airplane. Stephanie Lenhart of Lititz won for her yummy-looking replica of a '34 Nash Lafayette. The cake was auctioned for $60, which was donated to the Lancaster chapter of EAA to help pay for the event.

Many people combined an interest in planes and cars. Mark and Betty Shankroff, their daughter, Katelyn, 10, and her friend, Samantha Lloyd, 10, gazed in wonder at a tiny one-seater, ultra-light sport aircraft owned by Willie Zimmerman of Eagletown. Betty Shankroff said past generations in both families have been involved in flying. Mark said he's also a car enthusiast and had driven them over from Kutztown in a '69 Road Runner, which was on display at the cruise-in.

Besides the fly-in, cruise-in and $5 pancake breakfast, there was a host of other activities.

Brownstown parachutist Steve Lapp made an exhibition jump, expertly guiding his chute from 3,500 feet to land on a predetermined patch of grass next to the Airways hangar.

There also were plane rides for youngsters with an EAA pilot. Rachel Day, 13, of Mount Airy, Md., signed up for one of these. Her older brother, Mick, is a pilot, and she said she was very excited to see what it would be like to fly in a small plane.

Live jazz was provided by trumpeters Todd Engle and Dominick Raimato from Millersville University's music program. They played pieces from the 1950s, which was in keeping with the classic cars around them.

EAA president Jack Henderson and cruise-in organizer Ped Abreu were delighted with the turnout Sunday.

Henderson said the Lancaster EAA chapter has an active group of 30 members who build and fly their own planes. Besides the fly-in, they get together for a number of events during the year. The next will be a flying trip to the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome Antique Air Museum in June.

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