After a few sporadic gatherings in the 1980's the Cessna 150 and 152 were among the few aircraft types that did not have an annual gathering. The Cessna 150-152 Club itself was revitalized when Club president Royson Parsons and Lori Colunga grabbed the bull by the horns and injected a massive dose of energy and innovation. Then they used all that energy and innovation and started the Cessna 150-152 Fly-In.
The Fly-In began as an impromptu event in 2001, with a group of Cessna 150 and 152 pilots and others, meeting in Clinton, Iowa to discuss issues and items relating to their airplanes. Over the next few years, the event grew as the word got out. In 2005, and ensuing years, spurred on by reports of the fun, and an ever-growing list of enthusiastic and diverse members, the Fly-In, sponsored by the Cessna 150-152 Club took on a life and synergy of it's own.
In 2009, saddled by the immense tasks of year-round planning for the event, the Cessna 150-152 Club leadership announced that it was no longer capable to plan, staff, and run the Fly-In by itself. A call went out to the membership, and a large group of individuals responded. The Cessna 150-152 Fly-In Foundation was formed. Headed by President Kirk Wennerstrom, the Cessna 150-152 Fly-In Foundation, a 501(c)3, seeks to perpetuate, grow, and improve the annual Cessna 150-152 Fly-In, and make it not only a model to be emulated, but also an event to be anticipated.
Why do we have the Cessna 150-152 Fly-In the same week as that other Fly-In?
Way back when the Cessna 150-152 Fly-In first started it ran from Thursday thru Saturday, the week BEFORE Oshkosh. Clinton was chosen because of it's location, near the center of the country, location, away from any major population center, and location, about an hour or so south of Oshkosh, WI. That way people from all over the country could come to the Fly-In, and fly around in the Iowa countryside without having to worry about a lot of traffic, and go to that other fly-in in one trip. The plan was fly to Clinton, attend the Cessna 150-152 Fly-In for three days, then on Sunday morning pack up and head up to OSH for a few days of AirVenture.
When the Foundation took over the operation of the Cessna 150-152 Fly-In we had several meetings, and spent considerable time discussing the calendar. They focused on two main issues:
The first issue: Ending the Fly-In on Saturday night gave our participants one day (Sunday) to get home before going back to work on Monday. For the east coast and Florida guys that was pushing it, especially when you added the usual summer weather in the mix. And the west coast guys need at least two days to get home. The fix for this one was easy, push the start back to Wednesday, and end on Friday night. That gave everyone two days (Saturday & Sunday) to get home.
The second issue was a bit more complicated. Members that wanted to attend the 150-152 Fly-In AND Oshkosh had to take two weeks off to do it. They had to attend our event one week, then AirVenture the next week. To fix that we moved the Confab to the same week as AirVenture. That way a pilot could head to OSH on Saturday, get there Saturday afternoon or Sunday, get a good camping spot, and be there for opening day. After a few days of AirVenture, he could head on down to Clinton and attend the Cessna 150-152 Fly-In. Heading home on Saturday after the Confab gets him home for work on Monday, and he only had to take one week off instead of two weeks before the change.
Moving back to the week before
Almost every year we hear from a few of our participants, and the general public regarding the timing of our event. Some like it, some don't. So this year, and next year we are going back to running the Cessna 150-152 Fly-In the week prior to AirVenture. We are still going to start on Wednesday and end on Friday night. That will allow our participants plenty of time to get home, or fly up to OSH and get a good camping spot. We want to hear from our members, and the public to determine once and for all if this timing is better, worse, or makes no difference to determine the timing for future events.