Just as NBAA was getting underway in Las Vegas, with its hundreds of mega-millions bizjets, in another part of the Nevada desert, hundreds of more modest but arguably cooler planes had already gathered on a remote dry lakebed as far from the neon and champagne of the Strip as imaginable. The event, the High Sierra Fly-In (HSF), which ran from October 17-20, this year celebrated its 10th anniversary, and has it ever grown. The event’s founder, Kevin Quinn, told Plane & Pilot that an estimated 600 planes, the vast majority of them taildraggers, flew in for the event, along with around 250 campers and 2,500 people in all.
Sponsored, appropriately enough, by a loose knit group of backcountry flyers called the Flying Cowboys—it’s a truly western vibe at the fly-in—HSF has been going on for a decade now, but this year the event reached critical mass. With its growth, there were questions about whether it could retain its grassroots charm. Since it concluded, we’ve asked that very question to attendees a dozen times. Without exception, they answer an emphatic, “Yes!”
And as it has grown, HSF has embraced a wider range of attendees, with more women at any previous show, including a number who competed in the STOL Drag Contest, and more kids, too.
Was it cold? You bet. Was it dusty? Really dusty! And neither did anything to diminish the high spirits of the pilots who attended. The pictures tell it all. Check them out.
Here are a few images of the magic that is HSF, and look for our big feature gallery on the event in our coming January issue!
Photo by Sonia Hanem
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