Planes passing cropped

A plane came in for a landing at Reedley Municipal Airport while another plane taxied in preparation for takeoff during the Korky Kevorkian Memorial Barbecue and Fly In on May 11. The 41st annual event drew crowds of people who took advantage of free airplane rides over the greater Reedley area.

A streamlined Korky Kevorkian Memorial Barbecue and Fly In once again provided thrills for first-time and repeat flyers young and old alike on May 11 as it entered its fifth decade giving attendees an up-close look at aviation.

Hundreds turned out to the Reedley Municipal Airport to enjoy free airplane rides, a  free hot dog barbecue lunch, and flying experiences from guest speaker Raymond McClure. This was the 41st annual Fly In, which began not as a Fly In but as a “Salute to Reedley Aviation Night” in April 1979.

There were a few tweaks to the operation of the event. Parking for the airplanes moved north of the main hangar, and vehicle parking was set up at the former site. This eliminated cars parking along Frankwood Avenue outside the airport.

Another change was early signups for the free plane rides. Signups began at 8:30 a.m., with a limit of passengers reached shortly after the opening of the Fly In.

The old favorites remained. There was a free hot dog lunch, hosted by the Reedley Airport Commission and served by volunteers including Reedley High NJROTC, Reedley Police Explorers and other volunteers.

This year’s guest speaker was another renowned flight veteran — 94-year-old Raymond McClure, whose daughter, Lori Oken, is accounting manager for the city of Reedley. McClure shared stories of his war and peacetime flying experiences, including during the Korean conflict when a night raid on an enemy encampment put 400 holes into the outer skin of the B-26 Invader he was flying.

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