On Saturday, Jan 23 the Everglades Air Park will host a fly-in for ‘vintage’ aircraft from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. There is no charge, and visitors will be welcomed with a free pancake breakfast, courtesy Wings of 10,000 Island Tours, and a chance to win 10 pounds of stone crab claws, generously donated by Triad Seafood Market and Café in Everglades City.
The experienced say, the highlight of the monthly breakfast is “watching intrepid airman John Apte scoop up the banner” before he circles to advertise its message.
The first commercial airline carried passengers from St. Petersburg to Tampa in 1914, only 11 years after the Wright Brothers first flew. In 1923, the Ta-Miami Air Line began operations between Tampa and Miami, the same year construction of the road was begun across the Everglades.
In the 1930s Opa-Locka was opened as a Naval air base; Eastern and Pan Am were founded. Newspapers were flown to Sanibel by seaplane in the 1939 Dawn Patrol. World War II training bases sprouted in southwest Florida’s temperate climate at Fort Myers, Buckingham, Clewiston, and Naples.
In an attempt to bring back the old warriors and dare-devils, the Antique Air Aficionados are inviting everyone to Airfield X-01 on the edge of the Glades where fuel is available. Drop in by air, road, or sea and share your memories of vintage flying.
The event is being promoted by the Everglades Society for Historic Preservation. For more information, see their website www.evergladeshistorical.org or phone Mike at (239) 695-2244. AntiqueAir-012310-poster