In Spite of Clouds, Organizers Pleased with AOPA Turnout
October 13, 2015
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  • Organizers of this past weekend’s Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) say that although the sky was filled with rain and clouds Friday night and Saturday morning there was a good turnout for the event.

    “We had 350 planes to fly in,” Tullahoma Regional Airport Manager Jon Glass said Monday morning.

    SouthWings Conservation through Aviation from Asheville, North Carolina was present at the AOPA fly in this past weekend at the Tullahoma Regional Airport. SouthWings is a non-profit organization that provides conservation groups and others with an aerial viewpoint of the impact of ecological disasters. Pilots have offered views of much of the mountaintop removal in East Tennessee and West Virginia, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the Kingston Fossil Plant coal fly ash slurry spill in Tennessee. From left are SouthWings flight coordinator and pilot recruiter David Moore and volunteer pilot Gilbert Pierce with Pierce’s 1949 Piper Clipper. Pilots flying for SouthWings volunteer their time, aircraft and fuel. –Staff Photo by Chris Barstad

    “Considering the rain, we were pleased with the turnout.

    Before the rain, he had anticipated 600-to-700 aircraft for the fly in, but he estimated that 1,200 people were in attendance Friday and Saturday.

    “We had people here from all of the country,” Airport Authority member Karla Smith said. She said that AOPA organization considered the event a big success. AOPA’s Erick Webb posted on Facebook that the soggy weather didn’t hamper the event and that he hopes to visit Tullahoma again.

    “Tullahoma AOPA had it all,” Webb wrote on Facebook.

    Those participating were treated to a tour of Jack Daniel Distillery and AEDC. They also had a chance to attend seminars to refresh their skills flying. Also those who were in attendance Friday night were entertained by Nashville singer/songwriter Paul Overstreet at the Barnstormers Party.

    Smith said those who attended the tours seemed well pleased as were those who attended the actual event.

    “We would like to have had better weather but we were glad those who came did so and took part in the event,” Smith said. She also thanked the over 300 volunteers who worked at the gathering.