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Ottumwa Stories: Keep The Antiques Flying

Published August 15, 2022

Every year over Labor Day Weekend, Wapello County becomes the destination for more than 300 antique aircraft from all over the country, thanks to the AAA/APM Fly-In. The Antique Airplane Association’s home airfield in Blakesburg will be filled with antique aircraft at this convention and reunion for aviation enthusiasts August 30 - September 5.

Here are five things the events organizers want you to know about the Fly-In:

  1. The AAA/APM Fly-In isn’t an air show open to the public, but a gathering of antique aircraft pilots and their families. It’s an AAA members event, and anyone can become a member whether they are a pilot or not. Memberships can be purchased at the Airfield for $45, which includes the new member, spouse and children under 17.

  2. Pilots with antique aircraft will be flying in from every corner of the country, and the event draws an estimated 300-360 planes every year. These historic aircraft date as far back as the 1920s and 1930s, with more than 25 states already being represented.

  3. The Fly-In is a great shot in the arm for Ottumwa and Wapello County’s economy. The influx of visitors from all over the nation means more people staying in our hotels, eating in our restaurants and shopping in our stores. Let’s show them our Iowa Nice and help them have the best gathering yet.

  4. The AAA’s Air Power Museum will be open to the public throughout the year. Visit this 20,000 square-foot museum on 30 acres of the antique airfield. It features various periods of aviation via models, engines, propellers, photos and original art. Visit the museum Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m. (seasonally)

  5. The airfield’s next public event will be the Mike Gretz Memorial Fun Fly October 15-16. Named for the longtime APM President and co-sponsored by the Naval Air Station Ottumwa, the event will teach kids about control line, RC and free flight airplane models. It’s a great opportunity for future pilots to get hands-on experience building and flying model airplanes.

For more information about the Antique Airfield, the Antique Airplane Association and all their events, click HERE.

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