‘It was me!’: Hear from the pilot of the biplane that mystified Grand Lake
Now that we have your attention…
Last Sunday, returning from the Morgan Adams Concours d’Elegance Children’s Cancer fundraiser, Highest Airshow on Earth airshow director Bob Evans and I flew over Grand Lake in my 1942 Army Air Corps biplane. The aircraft is based in Grand County during the summer.
The purpose of the flight was a sight survey as we consider producing an airshow in Grand County.
The Highest Airshow on Earth, started in 2012, is performed over the Dillon Reservoir with aircraft launching from McElroy Field in Kremmling. The show is used to bring visitors to the town of Dillon on an off weekend and we’re proud to say, we fill every parking space in town along with most of the hotel rooms and restaurants.
We have considered proposing a show to Grand County for two years and had the opportunity to do the aerial survey Sunday. We contacted Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce member and longtime friend, J.T. Piribek, Rocky Mountain Sup, and let him know we’d be over the lake before lunch.
Flying in the high country has many different challenges and the team at the Highest Show on Earth is a select group with less than a dozen pilots in the nation qualified to perform at these altitudes.
While the area over Grand Lake looks big enough for an airshow on Google Earth and on paper, you have to fly over the site to verify the actual conditions. The valley is actually pretty small and we made multiple passes and level turns to determine the feasibility of the site.
Safety is our number one concern and if it can’t be done safely we’re not interested. The smoke was used to visually determine turning requirements and allow those on the ground to follow the pattern. The smoke oil is non-toxic and we breath the smoke during an airshow event.
We didn’t mean to get anyone excited about government conspiracies, but we are glad you were excited about the flying. Now we have to sit down and evaluate what we learned and whether Grand Lake is a viable venue for an airshow.
– Gary Rower, president, Rower Aviation Inc., co-producer, Highest Airshow on Earth
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