Ultra Light aircraft fly-in scheduled in Manila May 18

Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Benny Marr getting ready to take off in his Challenger II Clip Wing Special.

Benny Marr of Manila is organizing the first Light Sport and Ultra Lights Fly-in at the Manila airport from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday, May 18. Rain-out day will be June 1.

Marr has visited several fly-ins and is excited to be organizing one in his hometown. The event has been named Big Lake Fun-N-Sun in Manila and Marr said there will be a lot of fun activities for all ages.

He has worked closely with city officials and is looking forward to welcoming pilots and their light aircraft from five states.

The public is invited to spend the day. Breakfast, lunch and other food booths will be available.

Some of the events include a pancake breakfast prepared by the Manila Lions club at the Manila Airport Center. The breakfast will begin at 7 a.m. and will include pancakes, sausage, bacon, milk, coffee and juice. The Airport Center provides a nice dine-in area or carry-outs will be available. Tickets are available from members of the Lions Club or one can pay at the door.

The Manila Business Women will be selling their famous fried pies.

The Senior Citizens will prepare a hamburger luncheon available from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the community center. Again, dine-in or carry-outs will be available.

Other booths for non-profit organizations and information booths will be on site including cup cake sales, barbecue sandwiches and face painting. The FAA will have a booth at the event and pass out pins to the children. Jim Creecy will be serving as Air Boss for the event.

"The Manila Airport is a great place and we expect a good turnout," Marr said. "Pilots love to visit new places and we want the community to get a close up look at the small aircrafts. We will have 100 LL fuel available at the airport with credit card purchase. The Manila Airport has a new runway, new base radio, new lighting system, and the old hangars have all been renovated. At one time we had five ultra lights housed at the Manila Airport and we enjoyed meeting out here and flying until dark. We have about three still at the Manila Airport."

Marr fell in love with flying and helped build his aircraft in 2005. He has a Challenger II Clip Wing Special.

"It is known as the sports car of ultra lights," Marr said. "It handles well and makes quick, sharp turns. The aircrafts are lightweight and if the weather is windy, you just can't fly. I have had it up to 3,500 feet."

Marr said he usually flies about 35 miles per hour but has had this craft up to 110. He has flown it to Batesville and Cape Girardeau. He learned from a friend, John R. Lorren.

"He taught me the basics and one day I said a quick prayer and took off from the Manila Airport," Marr said. "When I landed John cut my shirttail off, signed it for me and hung it in the terminal."

Marr has been called the "Candy Bomber" as he has flown over his neighborhood dropping candy to his young friends. He got the idea from the Hal Halvorsen story. He dropped candy to children in Berlin during World War II.

"This is our first fly-in and we hope to make it an annual event and add new activities each year," Marr said. "We invite everyone from the community and the surrounding area to come out and see the aircraft, meet the pilots and enjoy the day."

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