The fourth Annual Midway fly-in drew a crowd Saturday to Steve Berg’s grass runway called Berg Park Aerodrome on Old Gress Island Road in Midway. Fixed-wing aircraft, ultra-lights and remote control plane ruled the skies over the 2,400-foot runway.
There were also displays of wood burning art by David Beaudet, wood crafts by David Myers, handmade jewelry by Pam Anderson and Tina Harmon and Styrofoam relief prints by Nacha Korths.
Before the larger planes began arriving, Bill Parks and members of the Tri-County Remote Control Flyers in Savannah were wowing the growing crowd with aerobatics performed by model P-47s, Corsairs and Taylor Craft.
At precisely 10:30, Russ MacDonald landed his Cardinal RG Cessna after first making a fly-by to assess the clearance on the runway.
“I came here the other day to check out the field,” MacDonald said. “There’s a tower about a mile from this field you have to watch out for.”
It wasn’t that Berg’s airfield couldn’t be spotted. A large beacon light pointed skyward as it rotated full circle. On the ground, families with children moved from plane to plane, talking with the pilots about their planes and what it was like to be a pilot. Others gathered around Eddy Kemper as he worked on a demonstration airplane engine mounted on the back of a pickup.
“I’m a retired nuclear engineer who’s been playing with aircraft engineers all my life,” Kemper said. “I get excited about working with this D-motor because it’s direct drive and water cooled so there’s no problem with thermo shocking ... and it weighs between 104 to 123 pounds.”
The crowds gathered at Berg’s hanger as it neared 11 a.m. He had hoped they would get a fly-by from a B-17 as the colors were posted. But “The Movie” Memphis Bell had not made an appearance by noon, so Dennis Fitzgerald, commander of the East Liberty County American Legion Post 321 posted the colors and led everyone in the pledge of allegiance.
Mark Crabb’s ultralight aircraft drew spectators with tons of questions, many of them from teens interested in aviation.
“I’m a private pilot, so I started out on a regular fixed-wing plane,” Crabb said. “This (his ultralight) allows me to fly over the marshes for no more than 3 1/2 gallons an hour.”
Crabb’s ultralight drew so much attention that one mom gave in to her son and asked Crabb how much he’d charge to take her son up. Minutes later, the young man was taking off from the grass runway as dozens of other youngsters and adults looked on with envy.
Berg didn’t set up the airfield without help. Newcomers to the area, Lt. Col. Andrew Powell and Jodie Scott set up the signs at the gate and throughout the airfield and helped answer questions from visitors. Powell is the new commander of the Tuttle Troop Medical Clinic at Hunter Army Airfield.