Chili Fly-in, 2015

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Also see article for 2014 Chili Fest

May 9, 2015

Chili Fest triumphs over weather - Again!

Low clouds lingered over the airport until nearly noon when patches of blue sky started to appear and sunlight finally pierced through. The show cars had arrived early and were attracting all the attention. As is usually the case, the weather was worse up north and around us, with fog preventing many from taking off. After a dry week of perfect weather forecasts it was looking like we were in for a disappointing day if prospective visitors made an early decision not to fly. Then they started to arrive, not quite the usual crowded skies but still they came and we were privileged to be able to view some magnificent restorations. Just a few of the treats were:

Stanly Sweikar brought back his EAA award winning 1929 FLEET Model 2 (he first visited us last June for the Biplane Fly-In); painted in brilliant red & yellow, the logo "GREAT AMERICAN FLYING CIRCUS - Est. 1922" seems most appropriate.

Mark Meredith had us all guessing with his DeHavilland Super Chipmunk, I can see where some might think it looked like a P-51. The IO-540 engine, with twice the original horsepower, gives it an aggressive, all business appearance that doesn't resemble any Chipmunk I've ever seen - Super or not. A 2014 EAA Vintage Classic Class Award winner.

Guido Rietdyk displayed his colorful 360 hp YAK-50 to the delight of all us buzzards encamped on "Mount Massey." Thanks for the Fly-Bys (and smoke) and to all those who indulged us - we enjoy watching.

Undoubtedly the highlight of the 2015 Massey Chili Fiesta Fly-In was the visit of Marlin Horst's 1929 Fairchild 71, one of only three remaining airworthy Fairchild 71s. This airplane was awarded what is generally considered to be the highest achievement in airplane restoration in the country: EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014 Vintage: Antique Grand Champion - Gold Lindy. It also received the highest award for Vintage aircraft at this year's Sun n' Fun air show at Lakeland, FL. Marlin's clearly not afraid to fly it around the country because he knows he made it reliable! An interesting feature of this airplane is that the wings will fold back next to the fuselage for storage. The wood instrument panel would make any Rolls Royce jealous. He brought his wife and a few grandchildren with room to spare. Marlin Horst is the owner of Smoketown Airport (just east of Lancaster, PA). He founded Premier Custom-Built Cabinetry of New Holland, PA in 1991. His experience in the cabinetry business shows in the incomparably fine woodwork found in the Fairchild restoration.

As always, the faithful provided more than enough food and no one needed to go home hungry - Thanks for sharing - The aviation spirit overfloweth, Long Live Grassroots Aviation.

See more photos in our Photo Library


2015, Massey Air Museum