Cape Girardeau draws plane club for second year

Saturday, October 20, 2007
Commander airplane owner Ken Hilson of St. Marys, Ga., inspected one of the 33 Commander airplanes gathered from across the country Friday at the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport. (Aaron Eisenhauer)

For the second consecutive year, members of an airplane owners group are meeting in Cape Girardeau. They are flying in on single-engine, four-seat Commander planes.

"The Commander Owners Group is a very active association of people throughout the world who own Commanders. They correspond on an Internet board," said Claudia Horn, managing director, treasurer and chief financial officer of Commander Premier Aircraft Corp. "This is their opportunity to meet the people they correspond with."

The group typically meets at a new location each year.

"Last year was our first year in Cape Girardeau," Horn said. "They made the trip here to view the new facility. They so enjoyed coming here, they asked if they could hold it here again. Typically the owners come in with their spouses. The wives found so much to do. They had a great time, it was one of the best ones they'd been to. We had a lot of very positive feedback."

According to Cape Girardeau Regional Airport manager Bruce Loy, the pilots attended seminars and a reception Friday, with workshops and an awards banquet being held today.

Loy said the gathering is "great for us to bring in that much extra traffic to the airport."

Today, the planes will be on display for the public to view from 9 a.m. to noon.

"The kids love it, too," Horn said. "You can't climb inside, but some pilots open the doors so you can get a peek at the avionics."

Horn said 33 planes had landed by 6:15 p.m. Friday and more were expected. Pilots came from as far as Burlington, Vt., and as near as Bolivar, Mo., Horn said.

The pilots are expected to stay through Sunday.

To see the planes, enter the airport ramp near the Commander hangar on the northeast side of the airfield. The airport phone number is 334-6230.

335-6611, extension 127

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