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A Good Friday
By Ben Keirn, Contributing Editor & Photographer
Columbia City, Indiana
A pristinely polished Cessna 140.

The first Friday in October was the monthly "First Friday Fly In" at the Goshen Municipal Airport. I opted to drive, since that was really the only option, working just a few minutes from the airport. Grilled burgers and brats, baked beans, potato chips, a plethora of desserts, and a seemingly bottomless pot of coffee were offered to all who made the trip to KGSH. There were plenty of full bellies and a full FBO once I finally headed inside for the meal. There was an equally full tarmac and several folks parked beyond in the grass. Being a pilot, a plane nut, and a photography buff, I had to let the meal wait in lieu of wandering amongst the tie-downs.

A rarely seen, at least by me, Cessna 162 Skycatcher.
A New Horizons student returning from a midday lesson in time for the meal.

The Cessna crowd was well represented as I trundled across the cement and grass landscape of the airport. The usual suspects, 172's and 182's made their numbers known in force. The highly polished Cessna 140 drew my attention, both for the excellent condition and the tailwheel. With the tailwheel endorsement on my license for these past three years, conventional gear planes appear in my thoughts and daydreams often, "as to one untimely born." But the little Skycatcher caught my eye as well. I can't recall ever seeing one in person until this day. Quite a nice little Cessna, though I don't take any issue with its same-only-different cousin the 152. One of those other little Cessnas came in while I was taking photos; a 152 belonging to the local flight school, New Horizons Aviation.

Piper Cub, ‘nuff said. A happy Cub is a flying Cub, a happy pilot is a well fed pilot...both were happy today.

The ubiquitous Cub was present, in all its yellow and black regalia. The pilot found a nice place for his plane and then it was in for the meal. Donations are accepted and appreciated at the Goshen Air Center fly ins, but are not strictly necessary. The events are a big thank you to the flying community for their business and patronage at the Goshen Municipal Airport. If you have some cash, drop it in the bucket, if you haven't got cash, a few gallons of fuel on the credit card will do, if you haven't got a credit card, then God bless you!

Farm country fly in, replete with flying farmers!

Not all of the airplanes at KGSH were there on joy rides. Some of the planes were working aircraft, including this pair of Air Tractors operated by a local aerial applicator. Gone are the days when flying farmers were called crop-dusters. Nowadays these folks are more aptly called aerial applicators, as they put on dry and wet chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides, and most spread regular and cover crop seed as well. Some even change out equipment and fight fires with the same planes they use to ensure there is food on our tables. Pretty fitting that the pilots and crew of these big "tractors of the sky" were on hand to get their meal, since their calling in life is to make sure we get ours.

The helicopter crowd were represented the day of the fly in, too.
Another tail dragger to make me smile, and Snoopy along for the trip, waiting patiently in his Aeronca Champ for the return of his co-pilot.

A helicopter came in for the event over a sea of fixed wing aircraft. Not to be left out, the Rotor Heads had their representatives present and accounted for. Fitting, too, since Sweet Helicopters keeps several fling-wings at KGSH and offers flight instruction for those who no longer want to be vertically challenged. And just in time for The Great Pumpkin, the flying ace was there in his Aeronca Champ. Apparently the Sopwith Camel was still in the hangar.

A local Vans RV-4 came in for the meal.
And close on his heals was this racing red RV-6.
And rounding out the Vans contingent, this RV-12 came in for the fly in.

Quite the gathering of Vans aircraft started to accumulate at Goshen this day. With the gusting winds off the wing, it was a real show of skill for these folks to pop in for lunch in their taildraggers. Of course, for those not interested in gusting crosswinds in a taildragger, a Vans RV-12 was also on hand to entice you into purchasing something from their stables, even if tricycle is your flavor.

A close up of the big work horse and the prominently displayed nod to the country where it serves.
And the big feed, with several pilots filling out this room, the training room, and spilling over into the main lobby.

Talk about farm to table! Okay, so typically folks are talking about their meal, not the folks at the meal. But hey, it's pretty cool that some of these fellas were dive-bombing corn and entertaining corn-fed cattle moments before coming to enjoy the fruits of their labor. At the time of writing, there are still two more planned "First Friday Fly Ins" at the Goshen Air Center. November 1st I am told they will have chili on offer. A good thing, too, with the colder weather settling in. Some of the ultralights and homebuilts that show up don't have heaters, so I'm sure their pilots will be counting their blessings for both the chili and that bottomless coffee pot. There will also be a First Friday Fly In this December, then the meals will be on hold until April, counting on March to go out like a lamb, no doubt.

One of the fun parts of a fly in like this is the ability to see your future. Whether that's a joy ride in a highly polished Cessna 140, yellow Piper Cub, or racing red RV-6, or a new career in one of those big tractors of the sky, I'd wager you can see yourself in one cockpit or the other. Of course, if you would rather stop daydreaming and get in the cockpit, practically every aircraft in these photos has it's doppelganger for sale on And if you've already got your pretty bird and are looking for a place to fly, you are more than welcome at Goshen Air Center on the first Friday of November, December, next April, or any day in between.

By Ben Keirn, Contributing Editor & Photographer
Columbia City, Indiana
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