Pine Bluff Regional Airport Grider Field will host the Black Pilots of America in their Memorial Day Fly-In, “Operation Skyhook,” beginning Friday, May 25.
For the 22nd year, member chapters will fly in from across the United States for a weekend of aviation comradery and serious flying competition, according to a news release.
“The real fun begins each day at the conclusion of daily competitions as generous BPA, Inc. members from across the country volunteer to give airplane rides – ‘Young Eagle’ flights – to hundreds of enthusiastic kids,” according to the release.
Ken Johnson, a member of the local Black Pilots Association, is chairman of the Pine Bluff Aviation Commission.
“We are thrilled the Black Pilots of America have called Pine Bluff home for the past 22 years,” Johnson said. “Operation Skyhook has a significant impact on Pine Bluff’s local economy with all the hotels, restaurants and commerce this event generates. This is definitely Pine Bluff’s time to shine.”
The event draws numerous spectators from the surrounding area and the activities at Grider field are free to attend.
Events will include:
Friday, May 25 — The activities begin at 9:30 a.m. with the official Welcome to Pine Bluff, followed by the Flour Bomb Drop Competition at 11 a.m.
Saturday, May 26 — The Pilot Proficiency Competition begins at 10 a.m.
Sunday, May 27 — At 10 a.m., the pilots will compete in the Balloon Burst and Spot Landing.
The weekend culminates Sunday evening with an awards banquet where trophies are presented to the members who have demonstrated their superior flying skills, as well as the chapter with the highest accumulated points. There is also an individual “Top Gun Award” for the supreme pilot accumulating the highest number of points.
Grider Field Restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday, May 25, and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 26-27.
Details: Grider Field, 870-534-4131, or visit Black Pilots of America website at http://www.bpapilots.org/