Grider Field will host experimental aircraft fly-in Sept. 21


Pine Bluff Grider Field Airport will host the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Razorback Wing annual fly-in from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, Airport Manager Doug Hale announced during a Thursday meeting of the aviation commission.

EAA spokesman Bruce Rodgers said the fly-in will feature a $7 breakfast and $5 lunch in the organization’s hangar at the north end of the runway. The breakfast menu will include eggs made to order, ham-and-cheese omelets, sausage, gravy and biscuits. Hamburgers and hot dogs will be served for lunch. Proceeds will benefit the Razorback Wing.

Rodgers said three World War II training planes will be on display in the hangar. Between 30 and 70 antique and experimental planes will be flying above the field at times and also on display while parked outside the terminal.

A car show will be held in conjunction with the annual fly-in, which typically attracts several hundred people. Hale stressed that admission and parking will be free.

During the commission meeting’s business session, the panel unanimously approved requesting the support of the city council’s traffic and aviation committee on an airport access road project. Hale said he has filed a grant application to help finance the effort. The request to the council committee would be inclusive of the city providing a portion of the project costs, and sending the matter to the full council with a recommendation for adoption.

The commission also unanimously granted a 30-day extension on an original 90-day agreement with the Dennis Food Group of Little Rock on determining the feasibility of locating an operation in a former U.S. Army armory on the airport grounds. David Dennis, a partner in the firm that provides food items primarily to federal military bases, said a local operation initially would employ up to 15 people. If successful, the company’s Grider Field location could eventually employ up to 30, Dennis said.

Hale told commissioners that work on an apron enhancement project is expected to start in early September. Redstone is the project contractor, Hale said.

The council recently appropriated $32,666 that will not only be reimbursed by the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics, but also netted the airport a $326,625 Federal Aviation Administration grant for the work. Hale said the apron update is the first of two segments in a two-year infrastructure improvements plan.