The attraction of aircraft great and small More than 3,000 land at Lyon County Fly-In in Silver Springs |

The attraction of aircraft great and small More than 3,000 land at Lyon County Fly-In in Silver Springs

Jarid Shipley
Appeal Staff Writer
Photos by Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal Marti Gray, of Silver Springs, waves to friends before taking off for a ride with Pilot Randy McLain in his biplane on Sunday during the Lyon County Fly-In in Silver Springs.

Despite being surrounded by planes of every shape, size and color, 5-year-old Christopher Kennedy was only interested in a much smaller aircraft.

Christopher was fascinated by the model rockets being launched Sunday at the Lyon County Fly-In. The Silver Stage 4-H Rocketry Club was launching the rockets, but instructor Gregg Willimott said Christopher was so polite that he had to let him launch one.

“It went real high because I used the biggest engine,” Christopher said. “It hit one touch of space.”

While Christopher was excited by the rockets, it was a much bigger aircraft that caught Marti Gray’s attention. The Silver Springs resident couldn’t resist a ride in a biplane.

“I loved it, the water on (Lahontan) Lake was beautiful. I’ve never seen it from the air and I didn’t know there were so many inlets,” Gray said. “It was absolutely wonderful.”

It’s that experience that prompted pilot Randy McLain to begin offering rides in the biplane through his company, Sierra Biplane Adventures of Reno.

“It’s unique and fun, it’s a flying experience unlike any other. I enjoy being able to fly around with the top down,” McLain said. “It’s like riding a Harley in the sky.”

More than 3,000 people took in the two-day event at the Silver Springs Airport, which featured a variety of aircraft, search and rescue demonstrations, flights for children through the Young Eagles Program as well as food and craft vendors.

“This event is of paramount importance to us,” said Vanessa Stuart, Lyon County Fly-in Committee treasurer. “It keeps the rest of Nevada aware of the airport and the development taking place here.”

The airport completed several projects including paving another ramp and the entrance road to the airport. The committee hopes to finish the requirements to allow them to provide fuel by next year’s event.

“It’s a staged event. Certain things have to happen before other things can. We needed a water line before we could get fire suppression and we need fire suppression in order to provide fuel,” Stuart said.

That comes as good news for pilots like 82-year-old Ray Dutter. After 20 years and 1,100 hours of flying, Dutter completed building his first experimental aircraft in 2006.

“Why do I like to fly? Why do some people like beer,” Dutter said. “Once it gets in your blood it sticks with you and there’s no cure.”

• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at or 881-1217.


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