Marianna Airport Sets May 18-19 For The 8th Annual Armed Forces Day Celebration and Fly-In
MARIANNA, FL-Plans are being completed for the 8th annual Armed Forces Day Fly-In at the Marianna Municipal Airport. Events will open Friday with, an FAA Pilot Safety Seminar, and the arrival of USAF, World War II and Vietnam era aircraft for the public to view. Gates will open for the public Saturday morning at 8:00 AM, and there will be numerous exhibits, vendors with food, arts and crafts, along with helicopter and free aircraft rides for the young.
Opening ceremonies will start at 10:00 AM, with the presentation of colors and a welcome address by Mayor Kenny Hamilton, followed by a formation fly-over of the Red Dragons aerial demonstration team, presentation of the American flag and singing of the National Anthem. “We believe this year’s event will be the best ever, with more aircraft, vendors and activities for the entire family. It gives us an opportunity to welcome pilots and aviation enthusiast from all over the Southeast, and to showcase the improvements we have made at Marianna’s Municipal Airport,” said Nixon "Nick" Harwell, chairman of the event. Harwell added, “This year’s event will host a number of activities that will interest and thrill all ages.”
As part of the opening ceremony there will be a high altitude “free fall” parachute demonstration by the Inertia Skydiving team from Fort Rucker. The airport will be closed to flying operations during the parachute jump. Pilots are reminded to check for FAA NOTAMS because the airport will be operating with a control tower all day, Saturday, May 19th.
Pilots from the Wiregrass EAA Chapter 1358 will provide free airplane rides for at least 25 youngsters between the ages of 8 and 17. There will be WW II AT-6 aircraft that trained pilots at the airport, along with many other types of “War Birds” on static display. One of the featured attractions at this year's Fly-In will be the appearance of the Friends of Army Aviation-Ozark legacy UH-1H Bell Helicopter offering rides for $50 per person. You will be able to experience close-up, the Huey, which was made famous by its service during the Vietnam War
Early in the day, there will be a “Fly and Ride” bicycle ride, and from 8-10 AM, there will be a pancake and sausage breakfast for pilots flying into the Marianna Airport. Also for those pilots wishing to “top off” their tanks, SkyWarrior Aviation, the Fixed Base Operator at Marianna Airport will be offering a discount of $1 per gallon to those flying General Aviation aircraft.
As part of the Armed Forces Day Celebration, there will be an opportunity for former Graham Air Base pilots and instructors to travel down “memory lane” and enjoy a display of WW II and Graham Air Base books and memorabilia. At noon, we will host the second regional meeting of United Flying Octogenarian (UFO) pilots. To qualify for membership, pilots have to be 80 years of age or older, and able to act as Pilot in Command (PIC) after reaching that birthday milestone.
“We are very proud of our municipal airport and SkyWarrior, the airport operator”, said Jim Dean, City Manager, “and this year’s open house/fly-in is an opportunity for the citizens of Marianna and Jackson County to learn more about general aviation, the military history of this airport, and the rich heritage that makes our community such a special place to live, work and play.
Officials are anticipating over 2,000 to attend and more than 250 different aircraft will be flying in to the event from all over Florida and adjourning states. We want to thank all those who have put in many volunteer hours to make this event happen, and we especially thank the Jackson County Tourist Development Council and the following advertisers who have provided the funding, so admission can be free to the public.