This past weekend’s Mid-Atlantic Fly-In and Sport Aviation Convention never reached full flight, inviting criticism of the decision to move the event to the fall from its previous date in May.
But in this instance, we aren’t sure that even hindsight is 20/20.
The event, which was held for a ninth time, has soared higher than ever expected since it debuted in 2003 as part of the centennial celebration of the Wright brothers’ initial flight at Kitty Hawk. The inaugural event was so successful the decision was made to hold it annually, and since then it has delivered hundreds of thousands of people to Lumberton and Robeson County, giving our sagging economy a booster shot, raised tens of thousands of dollars for local charities, and provided entertainment for those who have ventured out to Lumberton Regional Airport to watch the aerial acrobatics and check out the airplanes and various displays.
Still, the board of directors elected to move it away from its May date to the end of October for this year. The three-day event was limited to two days when the highlight of the activities, the airshow, was canceled on Saturday because of heavy winds that made flying dangerous and low clouds that made visibility difficult.
Organizers say the move to a later date was to ease the competition from other fly-ins and airshows, many of which are huddled in the spring. The Fly-In will always be subject to the whims of the weather, and October is typically drier and less windy than the month of May.
Perhaps some tweaking of October date is needed, but we will leave it to the Fly-In’s board to perform that examination. Fortunately for this county, there is no shortage of festivities during the fall, whether is the Chevee to the Levee, the Fairmont Farmers Festival or the Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair, but that limits the available weekends for the Fly-In.
The Mid-Atlantic Fly-In & Sport Aviation Convention has had a remarkable flight since 2003, and a little turbulence is guaranteed at some point. Here’s hoping for some better luck for next year’s event.