The skies over Tullahoma will be filled with airplanes this weekend as the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) holds a fly in at the Tullahoma Regional Airport.
According to Tullahoma Airport Authority board member Karla Smith, over 2,000 pilots and others associated with the group have registered for the event, billed as a get-together for pilots from the southeastern United States.
“We are anticipating 600 to 700 planes to fly in for the event,” airport manager Jon Glass said recently.
Smith said Monday that over 1,200 people have registered for a Friday night “barnstormers’ party” that will feature barbecue, a bonfire and entertainment.
“I expect at least 100 planes landing here by late Friday afternoon,” Glass said.
Those arriving by Friday will get a chance to tour Jack Daniel Distillery and AEDC.
Smith said that over 300 people from across the country have volunteered to assist. Volunteers will be helping park planes as well as registering pilots and they will help with a pancake breakfast Saturday morning. In addition to a breakfast on Saturday, gourmet food trucks will offer lunch to hungry attendees.
“The local motels are booked up and there will be a number of people camping here,” Smith said. “There will be a lot of people here over the weekend from the southeastern United States.”
Among the 54 vendors scheduled to appear are the City of Guntersville, Alabama, and the Dayton, Tennessee Convention and Visitors Bureau. There will also displays by Garmin, Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics, Avidyne Corp., Carpenter Avionics and the Women in Aviation set up at the Beechcraft Heritage Museum.
The vendors will provide a chance for pilots to see, test and buy new products and technologies.
“There will be many of aviation’s leading manufacturers and product suppliers on hand,” Smith said. “This event has given Tullahoma national coverage in the aviation industry. “And what better place to be the center of the fly in than the Beechcraft Museum?”
Smith said that in addition to the displays inside the museum, vintage aircraft will be set up outside the museum for those attending.
The airport board member acknowledged the help of Mayor Lane Curlee, Coffee County Mayor Gary Cordell and AEDC Public Affairs’ Jason Austin in putting the tours together.
“The Tullahoma airport is the first in Tennessee selected to host such an event for the AOPA and we look forward to welcoming our guests,” Smith said.