Sparta Fly-In shares sky with hundreds

SPARTA, Mich.-- Hundreds of eyes were on the sky Saturday at the Sparta Airport as pilots from all over the state shared vintage, homemade, and experimental aircraft with Michiganders.

"We offer free rides to kids who are at least 8 years old but not yet 18, and they get a free introductory ride," said Paul Kovak, Sparta Fly-In organizer.

"Aviation attracts a large group of people," said pilot Dan Booker. "As an instructor, sometimes I'm teaching young kids that are 16, 17 years old. We also have guys that are 69 years old that are learning to fly."

Many of the planes are hand made. "You get a basic home kit and you put that together," Kovak said, "but at some point you have to make all of your other own decisions about the engine, about the interior, about the avionics, about all the other options. Everything's an option, and you have to make that decision, and that's where the fun really comes in."

The Fly-In is all about raising money so the next generation can join in that fun.

"We want to send kids to summer camp, but also we eventually want to offer scholarships to high school kids that might want to go to aviation college for any number of aviation careers," Kovak said. "That's our end goal."

The Sparta Fly-In included a big pancake breakfast. The EAA says they plan to host the event again next year, with even more people and planes.

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