Belle Glade Sun

Belle Glade Fly-In set for Saturday

BELLE GLADE — The Future Farmers of America/4H Career Day-Young Eagles event will take place beginning at 8:30 a.m. this Saturday, Jan. 6, from the Belle Glade Municipal Airport.

Youngsters from 8 up to 17 years old are invited and encouraged to participate in the function so they can experience flight and, from the planes and helicopters that will be used, get introduced to agribusiness leaders that are based or have operations in Palm Beach County.

The county is one of the nation’s top producers agriculturally, growing most of the United States’ winter vegetable crops and feeding people from one end of the Western Hemisphere to the other.

“This has been a huge success the past couple years due to the participation of FFA-4H and the public school agricultural programs,” states a flier sent out by Carrie Muldoon of the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Cooperative Extension Service (CES).

“By offering airplane and helicopter rides,” states the CES flier, “we hope to draw young folks in from all around the agricultural area to be exposed to the leaders in South Florida agribusiness.”

The main objective of the event is “to enlighten the youth in the agricultural areas as to the opportunities they might expect after being educated in the agricultural sciences.”

Several cosponsors team up to help organize and produce the Fly-In event.

The Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagle program gives support by handling insurance coverage and providing manpower.

The Florida Cub Flyers, the local EAA Chapter 203, the Old Farts Flying Club and the Florida Antique Biplane Association provide the pilots and aircraft.

The scheduled flight path (as shown in the accompanying graphic) will take participants from the Belle Glade airport via a circuitous route over the Sugar Cane Growers Co-op’s and U.S. Sugar’s cane fields east of Belle Glade; the UF/IFAS Cooperative Extension Service’s Agricultural Extension Center nearby; the A. Duda Vegetable Farm southeast of the city; the Okeelanta Sugar Mill southwest of town; and the former crop-growing regions of the small islands of Lake Okeechobee near Belle Glade.

Many different types of aircraft will be on hand for the event, according to the flier, including two-seater open-cockpit warplanes, small commercial-type crop duster airplanes and privately owned, multi-passenger aircraft.

A long article published in Cub Tales Issue #73, produced after the 2017 event in February by the Florida Cub Flyers group, detailed what a big deal the Fly-In has become for the Glades region.

Accompanied by many photographs of the day’s events and participants, the article named many of the other companies, groups and civic organizations that took part.

Among them were Everglades Farm Equipment, Glade & Grove Supply, the City of Belle Glade, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and Fire Rescue Department, Aerial Crop Protection Inc., the Glades Agricultural Scholarship Fund, U.S. Sugar Corp., Florida Crystals, Howard Fertilizer, Bedner Farms, the Clewiston Chamber of Commerce, Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina & Resort, Airglades Airport and the Hendry County Airport Authority.