Fly-In Showcases Modern, Antique Planes

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
Fifty-one aircraft, including 49 planes, a helicopter and a gyrocopter, took part in the Lincoln Airport Fly-In on September 22, from 7 AM to 4 PM. An estimated 350 to 400 people from the community attended the event, watching planes fly in and land. Attendees were offered the chance to talk to pilots, and were served breakfast and lunch for a free-will donation. Door prizes were also given out around noon.
“The original date scheduled for this fly-in was September 8th, but we were rained out by weather conditions in the south, and this was the makeup date,” said Jim Bentch, President of the Lincoln Municipal Airport Board. “We usually lose some folks when we have to reschedule the event, but this year the attendance exceeded expectations. We originally planned to offer free flights to youth through the EAA Young Eagles program, but there were scheduling difficulties and this perk was unavailable. We hope to offer it next year.”
Bentch said that there were a variety of aircraft, including antique, new and ultra light planes. One pilot, named Jesse, attended the fly-in by accident. He was headed down south when he got weathered at the Clinton airport. He heard about the Lincoln Fly-In and flew over to take part. He camped out at the airport Saturday night and got clearance to continue his original flight plans the next day. All planes landed on the airport’s grass field, which is one of the few in Missouri. 
“There are benefits and disadvantages with grass landing strips,” said Bentch. “Antique planes can set down, roll out and take off easier on grass. Some antique plane pilots won’t land on concrete or paved air strips. On the other hand, rain can muddy the airfield making it soft and hard to land on or take off.  Our airport was developed with grass. If we didn’t have a grass landing field, we wouldn’t have as big of a turnout during fly-ins.”
Bentch said that the airport has six hangars, or bases, but there is no fuel. Some pilots get fuel at the Warsaw Municipal Airport, and others use auto fuel, filling up their fuel cans at gas stations.
“Years ago (more than 20), there used to be a truck stop near the airport as well as a car wash,” said Bentch. “Some planes would land, taxi through an open airport gate, cross Hwy 65 and fill up with gas at the truck stop.  They would also taxi to the car wash and wash their planes. Of course, Hwy 65 was not like it is today.”
Funds raised by the Fly-In are used to help meet and maintain FAA requirements at the airport. The City of Lincoln also helps support the airport with maintenance. The amount of funds raised on September 22 had not been determined at press time.
Bentch said that support of the airport comes from volunteers, the City of Lincoln, the Airport Board and the community at large. 
“Volunteers provided food for breakfast and lunch, and helped park airplanes at the Fly-In,” said Bentch. “And maintaining the airport and planning events is carried out by so many, with no one doing any more, or any less than anyone else. We are a team and I appreciate all the help. The weather was beautiful on the day of the event, everyone was safe, happy, and got along well.”
The Lincoln Municipal Airport Board members are Jim Bentch, Stephen Kroenke, Janice Swearingen, John King, Dusty Koll, Nate Lions, Mark Bentch and Phil Fisher.