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Parade of planes at Meadow Lake

Meadow Lake Airport hosted its first open house in more than 20 years May 24. The Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 72 organized the event, and the chapter president, Jim Steward, worked hard to make sure it came to fruition. Businesses based out of the airport set up displays and booths, and pilots exhibited their planes. Early in the day, four pilots flew in formation over the airport and surrounding area, and several others demonstrated their flying capabilities in a parade of flight. Visitors could buy raffle tickets to win free plane rides.The runway maintenance equipment hangar served as the dining area, and Meadow Lake provided a barbeque for the public via food vendors. Members of the community chatted with pilots and other airplane aficionados and learned about their various types of planes. Trike ultralights, gyrocopters, canards, a Beechcraft Bonanza, Van’s RV 6 kit planes and a Grumman Ag-Cat were some of the several planes on display.The Grumman Ag-Cat made an impression on the crowd because of the strange cracking hum it sometimes produces in flight. Dave Elliott, president of the board of directors of the airport, said the design of the propeller creates that sound. ìThe airflow on the tips of the propeller creates a cracking sound as the tips go supersonic,î he said. The pilot, Tom Shook, allowed some of the children to sit in the cockpit of the plane before he flew it. Shook said that his particular plane is equipped with the 1340 Pratt & Whitney 600 Horsepower nine cylinder radial engine. He uses it for crop dusting in Iowa.Elliott said his vision for the airport is to make the open house an annual early summer event. Although the airport is privately owned and operated, it is a public use airport that functions as a major relief airport for Colorado Springs Peterson Field Airport. With a runway 6,000 feet long, Meadow Lake can handle a wide variety of planes, from homebuilt trikes to a King Air 200, which is the biggest plane based at Meadow Lake. The runway can handle planes weighing 12,500 pounds, with wingspans up to 49 feet.

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