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Fundraiser To Feature Wheels And Wings

Richard Stanley

A fundraising event next week in Great Barrington will showcase both land and air-based travelers.Richard Stanley runs the annual Berkshire Bike-N-Fly for the Great Barrington Rotary Club.

“One guy flew in with a single engine, turbo-prop airplane with his bicycle in it,” Stanley happily recalled. “Landed, parked his plane, took out his bicycle and took part in I think it was the 50-mile bike ride. This event was custom-made for him. Two of the things he really liked to do, flying and biking, he got to do in one spot.”

The event started four years ago with what’s known as a fly-in at the Great Barrington Airport.

“It’s an opportunity for pilots that are usually within an hour, hour and a half, can fly in, get together, talk about their airplanes and show off their airplanes,” Stanley explained. “That’s another key part of this. People can get up close and personal in viewing the airplanes that fly in.”

Last year, bike races were added with lengths of 20-, 35- and 50-mile road courses traversing the southern Berkshires, with the airport serving as the finish line. A kids’ bike course will also be set up on the airport grounds. Dante Hess manages the airport.

“The Great Barrington Airport is kind of a gem,” Hess said. “There are not many small friendly general aviation airports left anymore and we really try to promote that. A big event like this brings together the general public together with the general aviation community.”

Musical entertainment, food and a classic car show will fill the grounds. And while planes will be coming in and out of the airport, if you’re not afraid of heights, you can climb into an open cockpit biplane, a 1940s Piper cub, helicopters or a hot air balloon for an aerial view of the Berkshires.

“It’s a pretty special experience I think for anyone who goes up on a scenic flight,” Hess said. “For all of us flight instructors you know we get to see it every day and we love it every day. It never gets tiring to see the beautiful Berkshires from above.”

An FAA flight safety seminar open to the public is scheduled for the morning followed by performances throughout the day, including ones from pilots whose feet remain on the ground.

“I must tell you…I’m a pilot and I’ve been flying for many years,” Stanley said. “I have never seen airplanes do what these guys that are flying these radio-controlled planes can make them do.”

Admission is $10 per carload or $5 for those walking in. Proceeds go to the Great Barrington Rotary’s scholarship fund, which last year awarded $40,000 to 30 high school graduates pursuing further education. The Bike-N-Fly begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 16th and runs until 4 p.m. The bad weather date is Sunday, August 17th.

Click here for more information.

Jim is WAMC’s Assistant News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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