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Thread: Does anyone know the history of "fly-in"?

  1. #1

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    Does anyone know the history of "fly-in"?

    I'm involved is a couple of fly-ins, and whenever I try to promote them to the non-aviation public, there is always a big obstacle over the term "fly-in"; why would anyone other than a pilot go to a fly-in? I was surprised over the lack of information I could find on the web. At one time, "air fair" was in common use (and really captures the spirit better, IMNSHO), but some where along the line, the term "fly-in" became the more common term.

  2. #2

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    You have a good point; and terms that might appeal more to the public may be "airport open house day". That is what they call it at Boulder. The Young Eagles flights brought out quite a few parents and kids as did the CAF TBM that they got to climb the ladder up to the cockpit for.

  3. #3

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    Numerous events call them simply "Fly-In/Drive-In" so there's no ambiguity.

  4. #4

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    I'm guessing that the term "fly-in" started within the aviation community in some by-gone era. Barnstormers flew all around the country in the 1920's and "flew into" small towns where they sold rides and put on air shows. As this activity became popular with the public the pilots got more organized and larger numbers of them "flew into" the same place to put on bigger shows. At some point the pilot population started to use the term "fly-in" to mean a gathering of aviators and aircraft for a specific purpose, like making money or just having a good time. Pancho Barnes started the "Happy Bottom Riding Club" and lots of famous folks from the Hollywood scene would "fly-in" to Muroc Field to party. That ended in a sad story when USAF created Edwards AFB, and pretty much stole her land. Today we use the "fly-in" term to advertise and promote aviation to the general public and get "grass roots" aviation excited to participate. As a pilot I like to think of the fly-in as social event for pilots, where an "open-house" is for everybody, but given it's use and history I'm OK with promoting aviation to the general public. Lots of people have been bitten by the aviation bug at fly-ins, and for some of us the infection stays with us for life!

    Joe

  5. #5
    JimRice85's Avatar
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    My experience is a Fly-In is for pilots, not open to the public. The AAA Fly-In at Blakesberg, IA is an example. We have fly-ins locally which are invitation only or open only to pilots. Others are larger and open to everyone, but called fly-/ drive-ins.
    Jim Rice
    Wolf River Airport (54M)
    Collierville, TN
    1946 Globe GC-1B Swift N3368K
    1946 Piper J-3C Cub N7155H

  6. #6
    Adam Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Finney View Post
    some where along the line, the term "fly-in" became the more common term.
    flyin.jpg

    EAA may not have invented the term, but certainly played a huge part in popularizing it. "Fly-in" was part of the EAA lexicon from Day One (the attached clipping is from the very first newsletter, Feb 1953) and continued through Rockford, Oshkosh, Sun n' Fun, countless Chapter and regional events. For many years EAA published a manual on how to run a fly-in, and even the very first EAA website was www.fly-in.org

  7. #7

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    Does anyone know how to get a copy of the manual EAA used to publish on how to run a fly-in?

  8. #8

    "Fly-in" History

    Look up the history of the Porterville, California Fly-in. I think you'll find your answer for the phrase "Fly-in".

  9. #9
    I think "fly-in" was a kind of soup served at airport restaurants ...


  10. #10

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    Pilawt,

    Yes, and you can hold "fly-in" races with them swimming the back stroke across the bowl in tomato soup!

    Joe

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