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Wild Kentucky Derby has Wild Aviation Side!

The finish was one for the ages, as was the fly-in for the event

If you missed the finish to this year’s Kentucky Derby, you just have to see it, as 80-1 long-shot Rich Strike came from way behind to capture the roses. The comeback was so surprising, in fact, that the race announcer didn’t realize that Rich Strike was going to a factor until after the horse was overtaking the leaders in the last furlong.

What this has to do with aviation is, hundreds of airplanes flew into the Louisville, Kentucky, area for the race, and we’ve got video courtesy of Jodie Gawthrop, who happened to fly into Louisville-area airport Clark Regional in Sellersburg, Indiana, the day after the race. In the process, she got this terrific video footage of the procession of high-priced hardware in line to head out from one of the three main airports that served the destination for Saturday’s spectacular. We’re guessing the passengers had a few mint juleps the night before.

We’re also guessing that some of the folks at the back of the line wish their plane could be weaving through tight traffic like Rich Strike did on Saturday so they could be first in line!

FlightAware, which does an amazing job of providing statistics for special events like this, recorded 1,400 flights into the area, the vast majority of them presumably carrying racegoers.

Industry observers were generally worried about how the pandemic would affect general aviation, and the consensus was that maybe it wouldn’t be that bad. Instead, the segment has enjoyed growth—in the case of business aviation, record growth—with flight activity up by nearly a third to record levels in the United States.

These folks who got to see arguably the best Derby ever are surely going to be return customers.


Thanks, Jodie, for letting us share this video!


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