The Experimental Aircraft Association’s Razorback Wing annual Wings and Wheels Fly-in again delivered loads of fun to aviation and automotive fans Saturday at Pine Bluff Grider Field Municipal Airport.
Cooler temperatures ruled the day, along with lower humidity after Friday’s day-long rains. A nice, breezy wind provided a bonus as the improved weather added to the enjoyment of show participants and attendees.
It was a “perfect day” for 6-year-old Alysa Parks and her parents, Cliff and Shaina Cheatwood of Pine Bluff. Alysa relished her family’s opportunity to be out and about together, especially with so many shiny planes and antique automobiles in such close proximity.
The girl, who said she longs to someday “fly a plane myself,” has had an exciting week, according to her mother.
“Her father bought his own plane (a Cessna 172) this week from Bill Custer of Las Vegas, who flew the plane here,” said Shaina Cheatwood. “We told Bill that we wanted him to spend the night at our house before returning home. I told Alysa and her sister (7-year-old Jenna Parks) that a pilot would be staying with us overnight.
“The girls were excited, but I didn’t realize until later that they had misunderstood me,” she laughed. “They thought I said a pirate was coming to our house. So, when Bill arrived, they wound up talking like pirates to him until we got everything straightened out.”
Alysa shared her best pirate impersonation with a reporter before shifting her attention to lunch, which was being served in the EAA hangar. The girl couldn’t decide between a hamburger and a hot dog, and indicated she might prefer to sample both.
Three-year-old Carson Wooten — son of Dustin Birge and Amy Wooten of Pine Bluff — was absorbing the sights and sounds with his mother and grandparents Frank and Shirley Hartwick and Don Birge, all of Pine Bluff.
An airport employee had given Carson a toy plane, and the boy shifted from holding it above his head to rolling it along pavement outside the terminal. His mother said Carson — who suddenly became shy when questioned — has “always been interested in planes and cars.”
The boy seemingly appreciated his mother’s thought of bringing him back to the airport for next year’s Black Pilots Association fly-in so he might be able to take part in BPA’s Young Eagle program in which children are given free plane rides.
Meanwhile, Pine Bluff’s Jim Caldwell was strolling past a number of antique cars near the terminal and EAA’s hangar. The vehicles stirred his memories, and Caldwell recalled once acquiring a 1940 model car.
While glancing at some nearby homemade aircraft, he related some flight principles he learned at a library.
Local independent photographer and writer Joe Dempsey was conversing with passers-by as he snapped various photos, which will be available for viewing on his Web sites at weeklygrist.wordpress.com and under “Photo of the Week” at corndancer.com.
T.L. Jenkins and Vernon Lutrell, members of Pine Bluff’s Friendship Auto Club, had their antique cars on display. Lutrell said he’s the same age as his 1939 Ford. Jenkins said he’s also “a 1939 model,” but his show car is a 1937 Ford.
Nearby was Aubrey Goodwin of Fordyce’s South Arkansas Auto Club. Goodwin was showing his 1965 Oldsmobile convertible.
Two members of the Pine Bluff Aviation Commission, which oversees the airport, were also in attendance.
Gerald Andrews, a Korean War veteran, spoke of his pride in the airport’s development and its potential for additional growth.
Ken Johnson, an EAA member, was on hand in part to display his antique 1968 Mooney Statesman plane.
Johnson said the show — which began at 8 a.m. and was to conclude at 3 p.m. — had drawn “a good, steady crowd.”
“And all are having a great time,” he added. “We look forward to the Wings and Wheels Fly-in every year.”