Jet Rally to attract Midwest fliers

BALDWIN — The Lake County Modelers and Flyers Association will host the first annual West Michigan Jet Rally at the Baldwin Airport from Friday, June 13, to Sunday, June 15.

Club President Leonard Todd said the weekend-long event is designed to attract visitors and provide a boost to the local economy. Spectators are encouraged to visit downtown Baldwin following each day’s activities.

“It will help the economic situation, and we can bring people in from all around the Midwest,” he said. “We’re just trying to stir up as much economic support as possible.”

The rally will be free and open to the public, and pilots can register to participate for $10. Overnight camping will be available for pilots on site at the Baldwin Airport.

The event will be set up on Friday, with an open fun-fly session beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday will be reserved for demonstrations and shows, which can be arranged with the LCMFA ahead of time. Another open fun-fly session will be offered after 5 p.m. 

Sunday will consist of open fun-fly and the tear-down of tents and equipment. Access to the nearby car track will be offered all day throughout the weekend for racing radio control model cars. Food and refreshments also will be available.

“We have a car track and we also have two grass runways,” Todd said. “Those will be available for people to use as long as they don’t interfere with air space for the jets.”

The LCMFA is chartered by the Academy of Model Aeronautics, a national organization that represents all aviation clubs and hobbyists to the federal government. Todd said it can be difficult for hobby pilots to find adequate space for flying jets, as they require so much room for landing. This rally was created to accommodate fliers from all over the Midwest. 

“Unfortunately, when you’re a jet pilot there aren’t a lot of places to fly them,” Todd said. “You need at least 1,000 feet of runway to land them. We’ve got the perfect place because we’ve got this airport runway.”

Approximately $300 worth of raffle prizes will be available for pilots, who will be able to race in groups of four. To preregister for the rally, pilots can download a form from the LCMFA website, lcmfa.com, and send it to P.O. Box 398, Baldwin, MI 49304.

The LCMFA is planning a West Michigan RC Expo in July to cater to model car racers. The organization will provide five to six cars and will offer lessons for kids as well as prizes for racers.