See Rim Country From Above At Aero Fair

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Rim Country residents have a chance for a bird's-eye view of the surrounding areas from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday from the cockpit of a single engine or a twin engine turbo plane at the Payson Municipal Airport Aero Fair.

On Saturday, pilots from the local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association will give scenic flights to anyone who wants to go up in the air.

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Bravo Partners, Inc. will offer group rides in a Shorts, a short-range, twin-engine turbo plane.

The cost is $25 per person or $20 for each child, when accompanied by an adult.

"The smile on my passenger's face," is what makes the Aero Fair worth the time for Cessna pilot, Jim Garner.

There is a difference, he said, from what you see, even from standing on top of the Rim, to the sight straight down from a plane.

"It's like seeing the sights again for the first time," Garner said. He has been a pilot since 1979.

In addition to rides in single-engine aircraft, Bravo Partners, Inc. will be offering group rides in a Shorts, a short-range, twin-engine turbo plane.

"Go back in aviation history when you step up the folding stair door into the airplane. Learn how military parachute skydivers get ready for their jump to Earth," pilot Marie Fasano said, publicity coordinator for the event.

Pilots volunteer use of their airplanes and their flying time. The EAA and Payson Pilots Association use the donations to support nonprofit organizations in Payson.

Many new attractions are scheduled for this year's Aero Fair.

Attendees can start their aviation day with a hearty breakfast, from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. The PPA will be serving pancakes, sausage, eggs, juice and coffee for $5.

Vic "Span" Spankowski, a 10,000-hour helicopter pilot, will fly in to entertain visitors with his gyrocopter.

The Native Air ambulance helicopter will also be on hand to show passersby how they transport patients in emergency situations.

On display, there will also be an antique firefighting equipment, a 50-gallon tank and a pull cart.

The Rim Country 4-Wheelers have also joined the Aero Fair. They will be set up next to the asphalt ramp on the dirt.

Activities for children include face painting, toy helicopters and model airplanes kits.

The Old Time Fiddlers will attend.

Payson town manager and spare-time DJ, Fred Carpenter, will keep fair-goers entertained with music throughout the day, while announcing the day's events. Ned Hines will assist Fred and share information about the airplanes with those in attendance.

Cadets from the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) will direct visitors to parking outside the airport. They will also share information about how to get involved in search and rescue missions throughout Arizona.

Wander around the airport to view airplanes and videos about aviation.

"Pilots will be happy to show you their airplanes: Piper Super Cub, RV 6, LongEze, classic Cessnas, Bonanza, Piper Pawnee, Citabria, home-builts and many more," Fasano said.

Those interested in learning about the type of camping gear pilots take along in their airplane can find out at Paul Pitkin's tent camping display, next to his shiny Cessna 180.

Rim Country Flyers will be on hand to show the fabulous DC-3 and other detailed remote-controlled model airplanes. Stroll around the polished classic cars on display from the Rim Country Classic Auto Club, including a 1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk and a 1965 Chevy Impala SS.

Jewelry, artwork, photographs and toys will be offered by vendors. Other vendors will have a variety of munchies, such as popcorn, ice cream, peanuts, cotton candy or cookies. Soda and water will be available to quench thirst. For lunch, the Boy Scouts will offer barbecue sandwiches.

Community organizations will also be at the Fair to share information about their services -- Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Big Brothers and Sisters, Library Friends and Payson Gateway Project.

The Spring Pro Rodeo and the Payson Aero Fair work together each year to give the Rodeo Queens a scenic aerial tour of Payson. This year, rides will be given to our own Miss Rodeo Arizona, Elizabeth Scott and visiting Rodeo Queens from New Mexico, Wyoming, Colorado and Miss Turquoise Circuit at 9 a.m. Friday, May 18. Dona Rutherford, official escort for the Rodeo Queens, will join the ride. After their flight, Darla Annebel, owner of the Crosswinds Restaurant, provides the Rodeo Queens with a complimentary breakfast.

For more information, call (928) 468-2233 or e-mail paysonairport@usa.net.

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