With the annual AAA/APM Invitational Fly-in but a few short weeks away, the staff and volunteers around Antique Airfield are quite busy with preparations for what we hope will be a landmark event. Even though the price of fuel and other economic worries seem to be curtailing peoples travels and their discretionary spending, we have been hearing from members across the country that plan on making the trip to Antique Airfield, for the fly-in, a priority this year.
Currently the latest issue of the Antique Airfield Runway is at the printers and we hope to begin mailing this 24 page issue, containing all the fly-in information, early next week. When you receive this latest issue you will note that we have unfortunately had to raise the price of registration for the week of the fly-in from $45 to $51. This represents an increase of $2 per day and is the first increase in our fly-in registration costs since 1999. Please note though, that as it has been in the past AAA lifetime members pay no registration fees and camping fees will remain the same as they have since at least 2003.
However in an effort to control the ever increasing costs we are facing in conjunction with production of the fly-in, the AAA and APM Boards have looked at other areas which may provide us with some financial savings.
One of those areas was the number of awards we present yearly. Specifically the "Best-in-Class" awards. For those of you whom are regular attendees of the fly-in and whom stay through the awards meeting on Sun. evening you no doubt understand why these awards have become known as the "Gone Home" awards.
It is our feeling that perhaps the antique airplane movement is maturing to the point that receiving a trophy is not as important as the direct recognition and praise from other owners, restorers and pilots involved with antique airplanes. This type of interaction and camaraderie is certainly available at a members only event such as the AAA/APM Invitational Fly-in. Further we see the quality of restorations constantly reaching new heights while the emphasis on flying the airplanes and not just "showing" them as a static feature at an airshow or fly-in seems to be another reason for the success of our events here at Antique Airfield. Or perhaps people are just too relaxed and having too much fun at the AAA/APM Fly-in to be bothered with voting for or worrying about receiving a Best-in-Class award.
So the upshot is that we plan on doing away with the Best-in-Class awards this year. Does that mean there will be no awards presented? Certainly not! There will still be the various type club and AAA chapter choice trophies awarded as well as the Grand Champion class awards to be presented Sun. evening at the awards meeting. One of the benefits we hope to realize, with the elimination of the Best-in-Class awards, is more participation/voting for the Grand Champion awards. We have always and continue to feel that the more members/guests that participate in voting for the various Grand Champion classes the more it provides for a deserving and qualified aircraft/owner being recognized as a Grand Champion over an aircraft chosen by a finite group of judges.
That idea carries over to our chapters and various type clubs as well. We would like to see more participation by AAA Chapters and appropriate type clubs in the presenting of awards. These type awards will more directly reflect what you, the chapter/or type club and it's members, feel is a deserving award recipient. So please consider presenting a chapter choice trophy from your AAA chapter or a choice from your type club at the fly-in this year.
Along with other ideas we are currently working on to help make the annual Sunday evening awards meeting a more fitting climax to the weeks activities, we hope this will provide for more participation at this, the final event of the fly-in.