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MERFI Enjoys Successful Fly-In

Martin Jetpack
Ed McCormick Jr.’s flies his Smith Miniplane past the flight line at MERFI.

Martin Jetpack
A T6 in front of the Grimes Field Hangar.
Photos courtesy Tom Beech, EAA 766101

September 17, 2009 — Organizers of the 2009 Mideast Regional Fly-In (MERFI) held last weekend at Urbana, Ohio’s Grimes Field saw a healthy increase in attendees and aircraft on the field for the two-day event. Dave Millner, incoming MERFI president, said that they were very pleased with the turnout, which included just shy of the 400 aircraft they had set as a goal.

“We had an excellent gate, and the feedback we received was fantastic,” he said. “People really seemed to like what we did this year with the fly-in.” This was the 42nd MERFI, making it the second-oldest regional fly-in in the U.S.

Among the most popular attractions were Yankee Air Museum’s B-17 Yankee Lady and the Grimes Flying Lab Beech D18, which made an evening performance on Saturday. (The Grimes Flying Lab also appeared at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh this summer.)

A pleasant surprise, Millner said, was a vast and relatively unexpected number of warbirds attending. Also the B-17 restoration project on the field became a very popular destination for MERFI visitors.

About 20 vendors participated, an area Millner says they aim to enhance in the future. “We received plenty of feedback from our vendors and intend to grow this area to include more of a variety to engage more people,” he said.

Same goes for the forums area. There were a number of forums and workshops, but the aim is to add more content and strive to make it as interesting and diverse as possible, he said.

Plans are under way for the 2010 event, which is scheduled for September 11-12.

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