'40s-era Plane, Shuttle Astronaut Set for Fly-In

More than 25 pilots scheduled for 2-day event

SCOTTSBORO - A restored 1940s-era DC-3 commercial airliner will be among the featured aircraft the public can see, and even ride, at this weekend's fourth annual Fly-In at the Scottsboro Airport.

Chinese and Russian military planes will also buzz overhead, and pilots, including a space shuttle astronaut, will talk about their aircraft and flying.

"Kids will get to sit in the cockpit while the pilot explains the controls," said Mike Womacks of Scottsboro, a retired United Airlines pilot helping organize the event.

More than 25 pilots are expected to participate in the two-day event, which will be dedicated to World War II veterans. It will also allow the city an opportunity to show off several airport improvements made in the last five years or so, Womacks said Tuesday.

Womacks, a former C-141 transport pilot in the Air Force, flew missions in the Vietnam War, the 1973 Yom Kippur War and Operation Desert Storm. He also piloted a Boeing 747 that transported troops to Kuwait during Operation Enduring Freedom.

About 10 Russian Yak-52s and Chinese CJ-6s will be flown and on display, said Womacks, who co-owns one of the Yaks. The planes were used to train military pilots in those countries and others, he said.

The public will have the opportunity to take a 45-minute ride over the Scottsboro area on an American Airlines DC-3. The cost is $150 per person.

Womacks said 30 tickets have already been sold for flights on the 20-seat craft. The plane's six-man crew, including a mechanic, will be able to provide several flights, he said. Tours of the plane will be given for $3 per adult and free for children.

Proceeds from the ticket sales will go to a foundation for preserving the plane.

Womacks said retired NASA astronaut Col. Jim Halsell will also be on hand Saturday to fly in a Yak and sign autographs. Halsell flew on five space shuttle missions.

If you go

What: Fly-In (vintage planes, including a DC-3, Russian and Chinese military planes and other aircraft, including ultra-lights).

Where: Scottsboro Airport.

When: Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission: Free, but $150 for a ride in the DC-3 or $3 for adults to tour the plane (children tour free).

Drawings: Six each day for children to ride in a plane; two on Sunday for mothers.

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