By STEVEN NALLEY
When members of the Experimental Aircraft Association fly into town for a meeting, they donâ€™t fly coach or first class. They fly in piloting their own airplanes, sometimes built with their own two hands.
Chapter 1189 of the EAA will meet Saturday at 8:30 a.m. at the Raspet Flight Research Laboratory Annex at George M. Bryan Field, featuring privately owned and homemade planes on display. Guest speaker for the event will be Rod Hightower, president of EAA.
The local EAA chapter has 100 members in the Golden Triangle, Macon, Meridian, Jackson, Tupelo, Grenada, Pontotoc and other communities at some distance from Starkville. Rodney Lincoln, airport manager at George M. Bryan Airport, said he wasnâ€™t sure if all 100 members would be there, but several of them would be in attendance. He also said several of them might fly in.
â€śThereâ€™ll be a lot of planes,â€ť Lincoln said. â€śIf the weatherâ€™s good, theyâ€™ll fly in coming into the meeting, and theyâ€™ll fly back out going home.â€ť
Lincoln said non-members arenâ€™t typically invited to EAA meetings, but this time they would have the chance to meet and talk with pilots at this meeting during a social hour with coffee and doughnuts starting at 8:30 a.m.
Then, at 9:30 a.m., Hightower will talk about experimental aircraft and the future of aircraft and aviators.
â€śItâ€™s a monthly chapter meeting, but this one is a special meeting because the special guest is the president of the EAA, and heâ€™s never been to Mississippi before this week.â€ť
Lincoln said Hightower flew his own airplane to Mississippi for the Mississippi Airports Associationâ€™s annual conference in Jackson May 18-20.
He said the chapter was planning on a good turnout and good weather.
The EAA started in 1953 with a group of amateur aviators in Milwaukee, Wisc., and it now has nearly 175,000 members.
Hightowerâ€™s visit to Starkville is part of his Grassroots Pilot Tour, and he will visit chapters across the country, from Rochester, N.Y. to Sacramento, Calif.