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Vintage aircraft draw a crowd

MARION– The skies were crowded over Perry County on Saturday.

According to Dr. Sam Stevenson of Marion, 30 planes were counted onsite at the Second Annual Vaiden Field Fly-In.

“It was something fun for the pilots to get to fly their planes and show their planes off,” said Carrie Robertson Williams, MMI alumni director. “It gave the community a chance to come out an see the airplanes. It was a good social event.”

The free public event, which was co-hosted by the Marion Military Institute Flying Tigers, drew approximately 250 visitors who viewed vintage military planes to experimental aircraft.

The fly-in was thought up by University of Alabama Honors Fellow Bethany McAleer, a young pilot and designed to showcase improvements to the Marion airfield.

“The University of Alabama and our flight club did it in conjunction with each other,” said Williams. “Next year we will do it ourselves.”

Among those in attendance were Congressman Ralph Howard; Preston Sanders, Chairman of the Airport Authority; Ed Daniel, former mayor of Marion, Col. David Mollahan, MMI President; Col. Bill Hansen, representing Airport management; and Alabama author Dr. Julie Williams, promoting her latest book, “Wings of Opportunity: The Wright Brothers in Montgomery, Alabama, 1910, America’s First Civilian Flying School and the City that Capitalized on It”.

Plans for the Third Annual Vaiden Field Fly-In, to be organized by the MMI Flying Tigers, are already in place, but no date has been announced.