Aviators choose Rogers City for stop on tour

Some members of the Michigan Air Tour arrived early for their stay in Rogers City. Formal welcoming was set for Friday at noon.

The Michigan Aviation Association (MAA) has put the Presque Isle County Airport in Rogers City on its list of stops for the 2013 tour.

The airplanes will arrive Friday around noon at the Presque Isle County Airport in Rogers City. The group will have approximately 65 crew and passengers flying in on 32 aircraft ranging from vintage single engine to modern light twins. Rogers City along with Marquette will be one of two overnight stops.

Mike Jermeay, the local airport manger, met last week with Rogers City Area Chamber of Commerce president Jim Fleis, chamber board member Ellen Planck and Rogers City mayor Beach Hall to finalize local hosting plans.

A bus will pick up the pilots and passengers to give them a tour of the city and transport them to their motel and dinner. A lunch will be served only to pilots and their guests.

At about 12:30 p.m. the city, county and chamber plan a welcome, with the public invited to greet the guests. At 1:30 p.m. the pilots and their passengers will be transported to their motel with a bus tour to follow. The group will get a guided bus tour of Rogers City from the ground. After tour, and until 5:30 p.m., they will have free time to shop and browse the town.

At 8 p.m. a bonfire is planned behind the Driftwood Motel, where the pilots and their passengers are staying the night Friday. This is a private event for just the Air Tour.

Planck is donating luminaries, which will be launched at the bonfire, and is preparing welcome packets that will be presented to each pilot on behalf of the chamber.

The Michigan Air Tour 2013 is a commemorative reenactment of the original 1929 air tour and is the countryís oldest air tour still active. The first Michigan Air Tour consisted of 42 pilots who flew to 32 cities from June 10-16, 1929. A similar tour of the Upper Peninsula was also held. At that time, there were no aviation charts by which to navigate.

Each year a different route is planned and statistics are gathered from the state of Michigan as to how much money each airport on the tour contributes to its community. Today, general aviation accounts for nearly $10 million annually of Michiganís economy. This would not be possible without a network of airports that support general aviation. This network conservatively returns $2 to the community for every $1 invested.

The MAA operates exclusively for charitable, scientific and educational purposes, including specifically promoting and advancing aviation, aviation education and safety among its members and the general public.