Thursday, October 2, 2014

Lee Bottom Fly-In Review Part 2 - Stearman vs WACO

The subject of the Lee Bottom Fly-In Review, Part 2, is the first annual Stearman vs WACO Challenge. Created in the interest of fun and promoted around bragging rights, the idea of this contest was to draw planes to something other than just a type club gathering.  By pitting two long standing rival makes against each other, it was hoped owners would stray from the usual in the interest of defending their dignity and enjoying themselves in the process.  It was never really thought non-owners would be that into it.  We were wrong
To our surprise, some of the greatest interest in the challenge came from people who didn't own either aircraft.  Time after time, when the fly-in came up in conversation, the Stearman vs WACO Challenge was part of the dialogue.  People wanted to see aircraft owners having fun, pitting themselves against each other, and not being so serious. Aviation is starved for things like this.  Instead, what you typically have today are very focused, tight-nit, serious owners going to type club or vintage events and not really anywhere else.  It's a crime. People want to see these planes, owners keep complaining about a dwindling interest, and then they only go to two or three events, the same ones every year, and moan about a lack of new blood.

Well, I'm here to tell you the interest is there.  You just have to go and market to it. And who knows; maybe over time the Stearman vs WACO Challenge will grow to serve that purpose in some way.  We're even considering a similar Champs vs Cubs Challenge.  But for now, all we can say is that this one was fun and we will do it again.  
Oh by the way, if you're wondering, the Stearmans won.  Leading up to the event, many of the WACO owners grumbled that they didn't stand a chance because so many more Stearmans were built.  And yet, they only lost by one.  Of course, one multiple WACO owner went out of his way to step up to the challenge by bringing both of his but he's always been like that.  Others could learn from his example.  He can be serious but he never forgets the planes were meant to be flown and he enjoys them to the fullest.  
Thanks goes out to all the Stearman and WACO owners who participated.  2014 may have gone to Stearman but 2015 is a new year.  If you start on your friends now, we might be forced to give the challenge is own display area.

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