2012 Fly-In on Jekyll Island, GA


Each year SouthWings hosts a fly-in to celebrate and honor our group of dedicated volunteer pilots. This year's event was held on gorgeous Jekyll Island, GA at the Jekyllhotelshot.jpg Island Club Hotel. Pilots were able to meet all staff, board members, local partner groups, and fellow pilots. Also among our group was Lighthawk Executive Director Rudy Engholm. LightHawk is a sister environmental flight organization to SouthWings and serves the west coast, mid-west and northeastern parts of the United States.

We had an all-star line up of presenters this year. Jon Engle, retired Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, spoke about his accounts as a pilot for the U-2 spy plane with an amazing slideshow of pictures. johnamos.jpgOur friend John Amos from SkyTruth kicked off the main event day with a compelling presentation on new threats on our environment and ways that we can collaborate and use reportingkeydismukes.jpg systems to better protect against these threats. Dr. Key Dismukes, a retired NASA Chief Scientist for Human Factors, gave a interesting and informative presentation on the effects of age and pilot performance and safety. On our last evening retired Altamaha Riverkeeper James Holland shared stories about his life trying to protect the environment and how essential it is to aerially monitor areas that would otherwise by inaccessible by foot.
Thanks to our volunteer pilot David Mauritson, we were able to plan a flight during the fly-in from Jekyll Island with James Holland to for an essential land survey. With the perfect location and weather, wonderful attendees, and an all-star line-up of presenters, this fly-in was an event not to be missed. We could not have done this with out the help of our volunteer pilot Rich Van Iderstyne. He provided us an excellent setting each evening at his restaurant Red Bugs Pizza, arranged specials for our group with electric cars called Red Bugs, and provided everyone with great hospitality at his restaurant and the Jekyll Island Airport, which he also owns and manages. We also thank Patagonia and REI for generously donating items for our volunteer pilots.