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Surreal View: Copper Props promotes flight

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP – Fred Benzie started flying small planes in 1984. On Saturday he brought his 1977 Piper Archer 2 to the Copper Props Fly-In at Houghton County Memorial Airport.

Benzie said he was attending his third Copper Props Fly-In, which is organized by the Keweenaw Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 1270. He belongs to the EAA Chapter 850 in Marquette.

He said he’s stayed with flying for 32 years because it’s a special experience.

“It’s a very surreal and beautiful way to see the earth,” he said.

Although he hasn’t had any serious incidents when flying, Benzie said when people ask him about the danger of flying, he tells them flying in a small plane is about about as dangerous as riding a motorcycle.

“Flying is risk management,” he said.

Benzie was giving rides to people attending the fly-in, including Amy Newman’s three sons, Caleb, 12, Lance, 9, and 8-year-old Jack.

Newman said she also flew in one of the planes at the fly-in and enjoyed it.

“It was awesome,” she said. “It’s so amazing to see the area from that elevation.”

Her sons also enjoyed the experience.

“It was great,” Caleb said.

“It was fun,” Lance said.

Henry Nordsiek, organizer of the Copper Props Fly-In, said Saturday was the fifth time for the event, although not in consecutive years. One year was missed because of construction at the airport.

Nordsiek said the crowd was about the same as last year, and this year it was better organized than in years past.

“We’re handling the crowd better,” he said.

Five planes gave rides Saturday, and Nordsiek said 110 children and 26 adults took rides.

There was no entry fee for the event, and Nordsiek said donations were down from previous years. Despite that, he expected the fly-in would return next year.

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