Copperstate Fly-In Moves

Popular southwest aviation event offers new location.

Copperstate Fly-In Moves
Copperstate Fly-In Moves from Casa Grande to Falcon Field Airport in Mesa, Arizona.Rudy Morris

The Copperstate Fly-In, which has become a popular fall destination for aviators in the southwestern states since its inception in 1973, has found a new location. The Fly-In is taking a slight leap from Casa Grande Municipal Airport (KCGZ), five miles north of Casa Grande, Arizona, to Falcon Field Airport (KFFZ), five miles northeast of Mesa, Arizona.

“It seems that every year Copperstate is approached by a municipality with an airport who would like to host our annual fly-in,” said Stephen Bass president and fly-in manager of Copperstate Fly-In and Education Expo. “When you look at the hotel rooms we fill, the cars we rent and the avgas we sell at the local airport we are a viable economic boost to the local area.”

Falcon Field offers much more real estate for the show with two runways and plenty of exhibitor space, car parking and airplane parking. In 2015, Copperstate hosted about 525 airplanes, ultralights, warbirds and LSAs, and the organizers had to tap into an overflow parking area. Bass says the new facilities can accommodate at least 850 airplanes and the tower at Falcon Field provides additional safety for the mass arrivals to the fly-in versus the uncontrolled operations at Casa Grande. Copperstate did not have a temporary tower due to hefty user fees.

At Casa Grande, the exhibitors were offered spaces under an 11,000 square foot top tent, limited to 80 protected spaces. At Falcon field, exhibitors will be offered spaces in a 20,000-square-foot hangar, which provides additional exhibitor space and a space for forums.

The 2016 Copperstate Fly-In will take place on October 28 to 29. The event was reduced from 2.5 days to two; however, Bass said the fly-in may offer educational youth activities on the Thursday before the show.