Summer fly-ins are some the best entertainment you can find. They’re smaller, more intimate and you never know what will show up. Each one is a casual affair where everyone is there to enjoy the spirit of aviation. Now some of these events are invite only but there are many that are open to the public. The best way to find them is to look for events in your area either on facebook or online. You’d be surprised how many you will find.
The one piece of photographic advice I can give for a fly-in is to stay late. With airshows there is a time limit. The airshow will close at like 4 or 5pm and then the public is kicked off the field. This is due mostly for safety but also because most airshows are held at busy airports that shutdown for the event and then reopen afterward. Fly-ins are different. Most of the time you can stay late. Somebody almost always goes up later in the day when the temps cool off and the air is a little smoother during the summer days. A long lens can really serve you well during these times. So keep an eye out for these smaller gatherings and remember it’s about being friendly and having fun, not just business.
As any good photographer is often doing, I constantly look around for more areas and venues to go shooting. As has become normal with Aviation whenever you show up something turns up. Some of the CAF boys from Phoenix stopped by this past week with “Maid in the Shade,” their wings B-25 Bomber and besides hanging out around that beautiful bird, there happened to be a couple flyins going on, one of which I managed to catch.
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In Three Forks Montana the Montana Antique Aircraft Association put on a great little flyin with a surprising amount of local planes. Although not the biggest variety of warbirds, there certainly was a fair number of cessna’s and homebuilts. The Piper 135 and A36 Bonanza are perfect examples of what this flyin had to offer, apart of course from some very nice people. One of the most unique planes there was a 1928 Travel Air which had an absolutely beautiful restoration job, including wood working for most of the body and great attention to the canvas wrapping. Although not the most photographically best scenario with lack of clouds and middle of the day little but still a very fun afternoon.