Columnists

Come On Out and See the Airplanes

(The Times photo by Betsy Reason)
Guests to the Noblesville chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s fly-in and pancake breakfast enjoy getting up close to the planes at the Noblesville Airport. The next fly-in and breakfast is Saturday morning at the airport.

There’s nothing better than flapjacks at a Saturday morning fly-in.

At least twice a year, aviation enthusiasts of all ages head out to Noblesville Airport to see all types of aircraft fly in and take off right in front of their eyes.

Visitors can get up close and touch the planes. They can climb on the aircrafts. And they can sit inside the cockpits. They can also talk to pilots. And some can even take a ride.

It’s all happening Saturday morning at the airport, 14782 Promise Road, Noblesville.

And don’t forget the pancakes. While the fly-in is free. Pancake breakfast is $7 for adults and $5 for ages 10 and younger, cash or credit cards accepted.

What a deal for breakfast and some aviation education.

Enthusiasts can see home-built, restored and military aircraft during the rain-or-shine event sponsored by Noblesville chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association.

The EAA chapter regularly has member meetings the first Monday night of each month at the chapter clubhouse at the airport, except for Labor Day in September, which is the second Monday. There is a pitch-in meal at 6:30 p.m., prior to the meeting.

Noblesville EAA is always looking for new members.

Why did Rob Morris join? “Initially, my love for aviation,” the 75-year-old Westfield resident has said. “I have always loved airplanes ever since I was a kid. I used to build balsa wood planes and crash them.”

He was halfway to getting his pilot’s license when he had to pull out of airplane lessons, due to an expanding family, Morris said.

But not being a pilot hasn’t stopped him from being involved in the EAA, thanks to his love of aviation and his drive to get kids interested in flying.

“We’re always looking for that kid who has a passion for aviation,” he said.

His enjoyment comes from seeing kids participate in the chapter’s Young Eagles Rally, which he coordinates three times each year. Kids can take 20-minute airplane rides at the airport. Parents or guardians must accompany. Participants receive an official logbook with personal code to activate their free student membership and learn-to-fly course. The next Young Eagles Rally is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at the Noblesville Airport.

Morris’ greatest satisfaction is to hear about kids who’ve participated in the Young Eagles program and then go on to get their pilot’s license or enjoy a career in aviation.

“I’m very proud about that,” Morris said of the former Young Eagles.

He’s also proud that the chapter sends kids, who have participated in the Young Eagles program, to attend a week-long EAA Air Academy in Oshkosh, Wis., during the summers. “We pick these kids out of Young Eagles,” Morris has said. “They got to experience adventure.”

The chapter covers each child’s tuition to the Academy. Money comes from pancake breakfast proceeds and donations.

His job at the breakfast sometimes is manning a registration tent and community-welcoming tent.

He signs in all of the pilots, who get a free breakfast. “They sign in and tell me where they’re from and give me their email address,” he said. Pilots fly in from Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan and throughout Indiana. The farthest is usually Cincinnati or Dayton, and the closest, Metropolitan Airport in Fishers or Westfield Airport, he said.

For pilots so close, it may “cost more in gas” than it’s worth. But they like to get out and “see their friends” and “talk airplanes to each other.”

Attendees at the breakfast can also sign up for the chapter’s newsletter and buy EAA chapter swag, including T-shirts, white with a picture of a blue Stearman, for $20 each.

“What we love, we at the airport, love it that the community comes out and sees what the airport is all about,” he said.

For the kids, Morris seems to have the most important job.

He said, “I give away those little (toy) airplanes. That’s the first thing they want. They want the airplanes.”

– Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.

Want TO GO?

What: Experimental Aircraft Association’s Noblesville chapter fly-in and pancake breakfast.

When: 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday.

Where: Noblesville Airport, 14782 Promise Road, Noblesville.

Cost: Admission is free to the fly-in. Pancake breakfast is $7, $5 for ages 10 and younger. Credit cards will be accepted.

Proceeds: Money raised sends kids to EAA Air Academy in Oshkosh, Wis.

Info: http://www.eaa67.org/