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One more time?

Pilot seeks input on creating a large-scale aviation show in Whiteside

ROCK FALLS – Nine years ago, 26 DC-3s and C-47s flew in to the Whiteside County Airport to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Douglas DC-3.

By all accounts, the “The Last Time” was a resounding success.

One of the organizers, 1979 Sterling High graduate and now Atlanta pilot and instructor Dan Gryder, is hoping to create another, larger, more diverse aviation show next year.

To that end, he will meet with members of the Whiteside County Airport Board on Sept. 14 at the airport, and he is inviting any and all other interested parties – aviation, business, tourism and civic leaders, food and other vendors, and members of the public who would like to see such an event – to attend and provide input.

He’s trying to gauge interest for such an undertaking: The Last Time succeeded “because of the excellent local support,” Gryder said, including a host of volunteers who performed all kinds of tasks.

“The entire aviation community knows how well participants were taken care of at that time,” Gryder said in a letter to airport board members.

He wants to be clear: He does not want to duplicate “The Last Time.”

“Rather, I would invite 4 or 5 warbird-type aircraft from many different categories with a sum total of around 50 varying unique and rare aircraft in total,” he said in the letter.

The type of aircraft that would be at the event would include DC-3/C-47s, B-25s, B-17s, T-28s, T-6s, and F4-Us.

Airport board members are interested in hearing what Gryder has in mind, airport manager Darin Heffelfinger indicated in an email to SVM.

“We hope with your article, and with us reaching to  the community leaders, we will have an idea whether or not there is enough community support to hold this type of event,” Heffelfinger wrote.

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