THREE FORKS — Rare airplanes are buzzing over the Three Forks Airport as pilots get ready for the annual Antique Fly-in. The community air show features old aircraft, planes used to train pilots during World War II and modern home-built planes.
Hank Galpin and Jay Billmayer are both members of the Montana Antique Airplane Association. They have been coming to the Antique Fly-In at Three Forks since the '90s. The oldest plane at the fly-in belongs to Galpin. It is a 1926 Travel Air 6000 used by Delta Airlines when they first started passenger service.
“This particular airplane is the oldest one that still exists and there's only about 5 of them,” said Galpin. “Most of them are in museums now.”
Billmayer’s plane is also rare.
“This is a 1938 Bucker Jungmeister, originally designed and used by the German Luftwaffe prior to World War II,” said Billmayer.
He says there are only 20 of them left.
Billmayer also says his favorite thing about coming to the fly-in is introducing a little bit of history to people and making connections.
“You always see someone you've never met before,” said Billmayer. “It's just been a joy and a big part of my life.”
Galpin says that’s what makes the fly-in so special.
"Theoretically, it's about the equipment, but realistically it's about the people,” said Galpin
At the fly-in, folks can mingle with pilots and see the planes up close. Galpin will even be giving free rides in his plane. He will also be competing in the spot landing contest - that he intends to win.
“I've done it before and I intend to do it again,” said Galpin while laughing.
If you want in on the competition, a ping pong ball drop will take place Saturday afternoon at 1:30 for kids 3 to 12 followed by flour bombing and the spot landing contest.
Board Chair of the Three Forks Airport, John Edwards said it will be a blast for the kids.
Vendors will be serving breakfast at 7:30 am and dinner at 6:30 pm. for more information you can visit the Montana Antique Aircraft Facebook page.
“It's just a great way for family to come out and enjoy aviation in Montana,” said Edwards.