A decades-old tradition is set to continue this weekend at the Gainesville Municipal Airport as the Texas Chapter of the Antique Airplane Association hosts its 57th annual fly-in Friday and Saturday, Oct. 11-12.
The fly-in brings antiques, classics, warbirds, replicas and home-built airplanes for display. Group fly-bys and various kid-friendly activities are also in the works, the chapter’s website indicated.
Fly-in Chairman Joel Meanor said 250-plus planes could descend on Gainesville for the event.
“When the weather is right — and everything about aviation events revolves around weather — we could see as many as 300 show,” Meanor said Monday, Oct. 7.
Last year’s fly-in was rained out. Gainesville’s Depot Day festival the same weekend was also curtailed because of rain.
This year, a thunderstorm could form Thursday evening, Oct. 10, according to meteorologist David Bonnette with the National Weather Service office in Fort Worth.
“The threat is marginal right now, but at least the threat is there Thursday night,” Bonnette said Wednesday, Oct. 9. Following the storm, a cold front is expected to drag down temperatures.
Thursday’s expected high temperatures in the upper 80s are forecast to be followed Friday by a high of 56.
“That’s almost a 30-degree temperature change in one day,” Bonnette said.
A strong north wind will keep gusting Friday. “It’s not the best, but it’s doable” for pilots, he said. “It depends on the size of the planes, of course.”
“If you have tents or anything like that, keep those strapped down,” Bonnette added.
Saturday’s weather should clear up and be slightly warmer, with highs in the low to mid-60s.
“The wind should also subside so Saturday looks like a gorgeous afternoon,” he said.
Meanor said the fly-in will take place regardless of the wind in the forecast. All aspects of the fly-in are open to the public, he said. Admission is $10 and parking is free.
A few seminars are planned, covering weather challenges, safety, flying clubs and pilot proficiency, the release indicated.
Gates will open at 1 p.m. Friday and at 8 a.m. Saturday. Among other events, airplane rides and fly-bys will run 1-5 p.m. Friday and the Cheri King band will perform from 7-9 p.m.
On Saturday, a children’s Aviation 101 class will be at 10 a.m. Aviation education forums and FAA WINGS seminars, as well as a weather challenge class, will be at 8:30 a.m.; a safety spotlight at 10:30 a.m.; flying clubs at 12:30 p.m.; and pilot proficiency at 3 p.m.
“The cool thing about that is pilots can learn, and if they just learn one thing to help save their lives — we love that safety piece,” Meanor said.
A flyover and moment of silence for deceased pilots will take place at noon Saturday, according to the event schedule.
The full schedule of events including meals is at texasantiqueairplane.org.
The airport is at 2300 Airport Drive near U.S. 82 and I-35.