Hundreds attend annual Fly-in, Drive-in at Whiteside County Airport
|Children took turns “flying” a small plane during the annual Fly-in, Drive-in breakfast Sunday at Whiteside County Airport. (Ross Haley email@example.com)|
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ROCK FALLS – There was just the right amount of sun and wind as families gathered at the Whiteside County Airport Sunday morning for the annual Fly-in, Drive-in breakfast.
This year marks the 40th birthday of Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 410, sponsor of the event, which ran from 7 a.m. to noon and featured a pancake breakfast along with an airplane display, rides and a classic car show.
Rock Falls residents Todd Bliefnick and his wife, Dawn, brought their three children. While Todd watched, 5-year-old daughters Kirsten and Marissa practiced flying on a parked plane. Son Ryan, 2, sat next to his sisters.
“I think it’s a nice family event. We have a little breakfast together, they get to sit in the little airplane and get to see everybody flying in and out,” said Todd, 41. The family also attended last year’s fly-in.
The Bliefnicks also plan to attend Warbirds over Whiteside, an aviation event that will be held July 21-22 at the airport.
Rick Allen, 75, of Dixon, was the announcer at the breakfast. He said the gathering is an important event for the community.
“If we don’t use this airport, the state’s going to say ‘close it up,’” Allen said.
Airport manager Mike Dowell agreed. He said the fly-in brings community members to the airport and gives them a chance to see planes up close and talk to pilots.
“It’s important for the people of Whiteside County to understand what a great facility we have and to bring them out and be able to show them, through breakfasts like this, what kind of investment the county has made,” Dowell said.
“It’s not just for the recreational flier, but also for businesses ... .”
By 10 a.m., more than 500 breakfasts had been served, Allen said. Money raised will be given to local scholarship programs.
Also at the fly-in, the Whiteside County Airport board inducted the late Leonard Skaggs into its Hall of Fame.
Skaggs, who was 64 when he died in 1965, helped create Rock Falls Airport, which became Whiteside County Airport. He also was a charter member of Eagles Lodge; a charter member of the Rock Falls Optimist Club, a member of the Rock Falls Masonic Lodge and past president of the Illinois Municipal League.
“He lived for flying, for Rock Falls and for racing,” said his daughter, Leta Milby. “He loved flying and car racing.”
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