By Laura Walker
MONTEZUMA -- A single engine plane dropped candy from the sky over Lakefield Airport Saturday as about 25 children raced across the airfield to snag the bundles.
The drop was part of the third annual Lakefield Airport Chili Fly-in.
After three drops, all 100 parachuting candy bundles floated softly to the ground safely landing candy, small plastic toys and Cancer Association of Mercer County (CAMC) bracelets. The green parachutes were attached to the candy bundles and prepared for destination by a multiple disability class at Fort Recovery Schools.
In the warmth of the office hanger the CAMC was selling chili, hotdogs, snacks and beverages. Nancie Hoyng dished a steaming bowl of chili and basically explained the idea is a promotion with the airport to showcase what they have to offer and to benefit the CAMC. They made over $1,500 Saturday.
As sponsor of the event CAMC registered the brave for airplane rides. With every airplane ride, an entry was made into a drawing for a night stay at Westlake Hotel Villas. A total of 62 rides were given by pilots volunteering their time and fuel was funded through ride donations. Jack Mesher, Gary Lefeld and Mark Heinel were the tour pilots for the day. Trips had different patterns going around the lake, visiting riders' homes and even peaking at the corn maze. For folks wanting more than just a ride, flight lessons were given by airport manager, Mike McCorkle. Currently McCorkle has 13 students with Luke Doepker, Wapakoneta, ready to take his test. While ogling over the new Cessna airplane, on display, Doepker explained the reason for two sets of controls in most planes, you have to learn to fly them somehow! The licensing process is similar to an automobile license, but takes more time and money to obtain.
Each year airplane and equipment dealer Sporty's, has a sweepstakes for the new Cessna Skyhawk airplane. Any purchase from Sporty's gains an entry. This year the sleak white model made a stop at the chili fly-in. New features include carbon dioxide powered air bags and a glass cockpit has two full color LCD screens that show the pilot safety and navigation information at a glance. The plane can carry four people up to five and a half hours. This would be a trip from Montezuma to St. Louis, Atlanta, Washington, D.C.,or Chicago. Pilot Matthew Tuemler, of new Cessna sales, shivering over a cup of hot chili said, "I like to see people come out and enjoy flying. I enjoy coming out to different airports and meeting the local people."
Assisting with safety throughout the day was the Civil Air Patrol (CAP).
Out in the chilly biting wind the CAP also was helping load and unload passengers from their flights. Cadet Ross Klosterman, a sophmore at Celina High School, explained with enthusiasm his activities with the CAP.
They do search and rescue exercises, create survival situations and work through them, attend air shows and activities at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Locally if a plane goes down they will be called to locate the crash using the emergency locator transimitter. For anyone joining the military, being in the CAP brings a benefit at the completion of basic training.
For example, graduated cadet Andy Stahl, from Montezuma, enjoys a raise in pay and rank as he starts advanced infantry training for the U.S. Army, he said.
CAP can be demanding and rewarding, as was seen when Cadet Klosterman and John Vondenhuevel found themselves in pursuit of children chasing parachuting candy at the Chili Fly-in.