The 22nd annual North Central Missouri EAA Chapter 944 Fly-in / Dive-in Breakfast and Young Eagle's Flights event was held Saturday at the Chillicothe Municipal Airport.
BY BRITTANY TUTT firstname.lastname@example.org
The 22nd annual North Central Missouri EAA Chapter 944 Fly-in / Dive-in Breakfast and Young Eagle's Flights event was held Saturday at the Chillicothe Municipal Airport. The Young Eagles program was introduced in 1992 to give young people an opportunity to fly in a general aviation airplane. Chapter 944 has flown more than 2,200 Young Eagles since the creation of the organization. This year was a record-breaking year for the annual fly-in event. There were more flyers and more food was served than ever before, EAA member Jim Summerville said. He labeled this year's event "one of the best ones ever." Pilots flew 141 Young Eagles (ages 8-17) and 85 others this year. They also gave eight helicopter rides. There were 375 people served at the pancake and sausage breakfast and the Wabash lunch. Also, 107 kids got their faces painted. The Fly-in had over 200 sponsors this year. Milo Costner was one of the 141 Young Eagles who got to fly on Saturday. He is 8 years old and lives in Chillicothe. It was Milo's first time in a plane. His mother Danielle said before he got on the plane he asked if she could request that he have a more experienced pilot because he was scared. However, Milo was all smiles after getting off the plane and claimed it was "a lot of fun." He also was amazed how when he got up into the sky he, "couldn't tell what was what." Milo was also proud he didn't get sick and when his mom asked if he would fly again, he smiled and nodded his head. Ten pilots were present on Saturday – Larry Warren, David Warren, John Bryan, Doyle Leppin, Raymond Hamilton, Bill Kieffer, Randy Stockwell, Bob Peniston, Pat O'Donnell and Dyle Wilson. Pilots traveled from Marceline, Independence, Brookfield, Trenton, Meadville and Maysville to take part. Gaylen Potter was master of ceremonies for the day. Other EAA members in attendance that did not fly were Jim Summerville, David Munson, Bill Singer, Jim Totten, Jerry Sturguess, Noah Holland, Cliff King and Eli Leininger. Booths were set up at the event also, including the Chillicothe Fire Department, Chillicothe Police Department, City of Chillicothe, Green Hills RC Model Club, face painting and Steve Holt's wood carvings. Local National Guard Battery B also was present at the event. It brought in big trucks and tankers. The Boy Scouts helped park cars, Hedrick Medical Center did blood pressure checks and the Life Flight Eagle was present. Summerville said there is always a great response from the community, and that support has always been fantastic. "We are happy we get to provide this type of experience to these kids," Summerville said, emphasizing that would not be possible without the community's help. For the first time at the annual Fly-in, veterans were honored at 8 a.m., which is believed to be the reason their was a record breaking number of people served for breakfast this year. 93-year-old, Warren Culling of Mooresville was honored at the event. Culling went on stage and Larry Warren, a veteran, interviewed him about his time as a Marine Corps pilot during World War II. Culling was assigned to fly a B-24 which, according to Warren, is very rare. Culling went on 85 missions, each lasting 8-10 hours. After interviewing Culling, a special tribute to veterans was given by asking all veterans in the audience to come on stage as the color guard marched to halt in front of the stage and Connie Martins sang the National Anthem. Then a remembrance of three Livingston County military aviators who gave their lives in service to our country was given by Warren. After Warren spoke about each person, a bell was rung in honor of them. The three lost aviators honored were: Lieutenant (JG) Joseph V. “Joe” Murray, United States Navy Reserve, who was among the early pilots lost in the Vietnam War in 1966; First Lieutenant William “Bill” Grothe, whose aircraft crashed in Libya on a bomb training mission in 1967; and Captain John W. Seuell, who was shot down over North Vietnam in the later stages of that war in 1972. Warren advised the C-T he found out after the ceremony that he missed one Livingston County pilot veteran who died in the service. Robert Jones of Dawn was killed while defending our country as an Army helicopter pilot during Vietnam. Chillicothe Mayor Chuck Haney said a few words and welcomed spectators after the remembrance ceremony. There were roughly 35 volunteers at the event this year. All proceeds of the Fly-In will go into the EAA'a scholarship fund, which will be handed out in the spring to three individuals to help with their flight training on their way to obtaining their private pilot's license. People ages 17 and older can apply. All applicants will go through an interview process.