Aviation event set for visit from Golden Knights

Sky divers, fly-in could attract thousands this weekend

ASHEBORO – The North Carolina Aviation Museum and Hall of Fame counts on events to keep its operations running.

It has a big one this weekend.

An Army Golden Knights paratrooper in an undated file photo. (Public Domain)

The U.S. Army Golden Knights will perform as part of the fly-in Saturday.

“We got a chance to get the Golden Knights,” said Wayne Broome, chairman of the museum’s board of directors. “We met people who knew people. … The Golden Knights take (the event) to the highest level that I thought we could be. It’s rare that they would come to a small event. I honestly don’t think you can get any better than the Golden Knights.”

Broome said that board member Col. Guy Troy, 98, had key connections to secure a visit from the Golden Knights. He’s a West Point graduate.

The U.S Army Golden Knights are a demonstration and competition parachute team. Based at Fort Bragg, the unit’s 2021 sky-diving schedule includes the Army-Navy football game.

Planes will begin arriving at about 9:30 a.m. as part of the fly-in at Asheboro Regional Airport. The Golden Knights are expected to perform at about 1 p.m.

Admission is $10. It’s a fundraiser that accounts for more than half of the museum’s annual budget, Broome said.

The 2020 fly-in was cancelled because of COVID-19.

Kim Markham, the museum’s former board chairman, said bringing in the Golden Knights is a major accomplishment for an organization based at a small airport.

“That’s wonderful. That’s not an easy task,” Markham said. “I’m so impressed with the work ethic of the board.”

Markham said the museum doesn’t receive financial supplements, so the fly-ins and other activities put on by the group become the livelihood for the organization.

The fly-in was moved to the autumn a few years back as it fit better in the area’s social calendar and avoid some of the hot temperatures that impacted some June events, Markham said.

The 2019 fly-in drew about 60 planes.

Crowds for past fly-ins have usually been in the 2,500-3,000 range, Broome said. He said it’s possible more than 5,000 could come to this weekend’s event.

This could begin an important stretch for the museum and Hall of Fame. Plans are in place for the first induction ceremony for the Hall of Fame. Broome said it’s anticipated that more than a dozen inductees will be honored in April. The first class will be represented by inductees from across the state.

Before that, Broome said a “Flight Before Christmas” activity is being organized for December at the airport.

Broome, a retired commercial pilot, said the goal of the board of directors is to bring awareness to aviation and promote aviation as a potential career for some people.

 

By Bob Sutton

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