Friday, September 24, 2010

Fly-In To Attract Hundreds

By John Larson

SOCORRO – The Socorro Municipal Airport will be the setting for the third annual ‘M’ Mountain Fly-In and Aviation day this Saturday, Sept. 25. Hundreds of people from Socorro and the surrounding area are expected to attend. Last year. the show attracted close to 600 attendees.
A wide assortment of aircraft will be on display from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., but visitors may want to make sure they are on the scene at 2 p.m. “The United States Air Force is bringing down an Osprey tilt rotor aircraft,” said Dave Finley of the Civil Air Patrol. “It has two engines that can be tilted straight upfor take-off, and then level for flying. It will leave around 2 p.m. and will be very exciting for the kids to see. It may also do a fly-over.”
 Another special event will happen at 8 a.m. when the first 10 people to sign up will get a free ride in a Remo Spirit aircraft.
Laura Haines, aviation consultant and pilot, has been involved with the yearly event since its inception in 2008.
“We’ll have pilots and planes from all over the state and some from surrounding states,” she said. “The vast majority will be civilian planes, but there will be a World War II vintage military plane, a T-6 Texan trainer. It can do aerobics, fly in and fly out, and will be making a low pass over the runway with a smoke generator.
“There will be a huge variety of planes to look at, vintage to homebuilt,” she said. “These people have put in a tremendous amount of work into their planes, especially the homebuilt full-sized planes and have huge pride in what they’ve built – some from kits and some from working from plans and collecting parts.”
Other aircraft include motorized gliders, commonly known as “trikes.”
“They’re like a hang glider with an engine,” Haines said. “A group of them will come in flying in formation.
“I also understand a medi-vac helicopter from PHI will be on display, too.”
At 10 a.m. up to five skydivers from a skydiving club in Belen will be making a jump.
“Bob Martin of KRQE will be flying the jump plane,” Haines said.
A $5 pancake breakfast provided by the Socorro Chile Proppers will start the day at 7 a.m. The Chile Proppers will also be cooking green chile cheeseburgers for lunch. Lunch is $5.
“Vendors selling jewelry, t-shirts and aviation memorabilia will be on hand, as well as Bill Marcy’s ‘Kiddy Hawk’ ride for the kids,” she said.
The airport’s neighbor, the Socorro Animal Shelter, will have a pet parade and adopt-a-thon throughout the day.
The Socorro chapter of the DAV will open activities with a color guard ceremony.
According to the ‘M’ Mountain Fly-In’s Facebook page, Socorro's airport history goes back nearly eight decades: A “Socorro Muni” with four dirt runways was listed in 1931. This field was 2.5 miles north of town, not the current location.By 1934, Socorro Municipal was listed in the current location south of town, with two dirt runways.
In 1941, the designation changed to "Socorro CAA 16." Both the 1941 listing and one for 1938 show three dirt runways. Listings for 1943 and 1944 show "Socorro (Aux)#4" at the current location, with two "hard" runways. The designation changed back to "Socorro Municipal" in 1945 with the end of World War II.
On May 19, 1938, pioneering female pilot Harriet Davidson, who had taken her flying lessons from Bill Cutter in Albuquerque, flew the first bag of airmail from Albuquerque to Socorro. This reportedly was a big event in town, with schools being dismissed and a large crowd gathering to see the plane.
Local residents recount seeing USAAF B-24s practicing touch-and-goes at Socorro's airport during WWII.Sometime during the 1960s, two B-36s, the giant bombers with six piston engines and four jet engines, reportedly landed at Socorro Municipal, enroute to the NM Tech boneyard. According to local residents, the wings were cut off these planes and the fuselages towed through town to NM Tech. These would be the largest planes ever to land at Socorro.


No comments:

Post a Comment