MANTI-EPHRAIM AIR- PORT—The Sanpete County Fly-in last Saturday had no shortage of people, activities or excitement.
The event included at least a dozen activity stations or things to see, ranging from the University of Utah Air Med Helicopter, to a group from Southern Utah University showing off their flight training program, to a station staffed by the Ephraim City Youth Council where kids lined up to shoot of bottle rockets.
The morning started with Leon Roullard of Nephi, who is associated with a company called Skydive the Wasatch, parachuting into the airport carrying an American flag. As he landed, the crowd applauded. Skydive the Wasatch offers tandem sky diving at the Nephi airport.
Ephraim City offered a free pancake-and-egg breakfast with orange juice, but so many people showed up the operation ran out of eggs and orange juice.
Hannah Larsen, events coordinator for the Ephraim City Recreation Department, said last year she served 250 breakfasts, so this year she planned for 300. “We’ve served close to double that number,” she said.
One of the most popular attractions was the helicopter rides provided by Utah Helicopter, a helicopter and fixed-wing flight school based in Spanish Fork.
People could sign up to take rides in groups of up to four. The cost was $40 per person. The helicopter took the groups on a ride lasting about eight minutes. The helicopter traveled south from the airport along the West Mountains. At about the Manti Temple, it turned north and returned to the airport.
Colby Zeeman of Ephraim and his stepson Jaymison Nielson, 12, were on one of the first flights. “It was fun,” Jaymison said. “It’s pretty outside.”
Another man exclaimed, “That was the best. Absolutely amazing,” as he walked away from the helicopter with his wife and child.
At an activity station inside one of the airport hangars, kids could make paper airplanes and hook strings to them with paper clips. Then, holding the string, they could fly the planes as they walked around the fly- in.
The bottle-rocket station was also popular with youngsters. McKay Steck, a member of the Ephraim City Youth Council, worked the station most of the day.
Helpers from the youth council filled large plastic pop bottles with water, which reduced the amount of air that had to be pumped into the bottles. Then Steck pushed a bicycle pump up and down vigorously to fill the rest of the space with air.
When a bottle reached the right pressure, a child waiting in line got to pull a cord to release a clasp. The bottled sailed at least 100 feet into the sky.
“You learn about air pressure, and it’s fun to launch things,” Steck said.
Helpers at the bottle-rocket station included Gracie Gordon, Tate Wayman, Byrelle Kimball and Mara Thompson.
Throughout the morning and early afternoon, private planes took off and landed at the airport. At one point, three identical medium-size private planes swooped down and then rose back up, flying west.
The fly-in is an annual event organized by the Manti-Ephraim Airport Board.