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Spring Fling brings #8216;em in

CHESAPEAKE — Darla Moye came all the way from Princeton, W.Va., to wait for the clouds to clear. That’s because she planned to spend part of her Saturday afternoon jumping out of an airplane.

That’s a tandem skydive, of course.

“I love roller coasters. It can’t be that different,” Moye said. “My mom’s really mad at me. She thinks only angels should fly.”

The skydiving was a part of the day-long Spring Fling at the Lawrence County Airpark where first-timers could discover the skies with an aircraft or without.

Sponsored by the Tri-State Pilots Association, rides were offered to see the scenery from a couple thousand feet up, going from the Chesapeake airport to a small field outside Lesage, W.V., about a 20-minute flight.

“It’s to introduce people to the joy of flying,” Sylvia Fields, secretary of the association, said. “It’s the greatest passion. You are hooked. You see things no one else sees.”

Fields should know. She got her pilot’s license this April after being introduced to flying in much the same way those at the Spring Fling were Saturday.

The local pilots’ association is made up of about 25 active pilots who band together to take care of the airpark. They also do community volunteer work such as providing food baskets for needy families at Christmas.

It also provides a welcoming, family-like atmosphere for novice pilots, Fields says. And while no one will go fast enough to break the sound barrier, the association has definitely broken the sexism barrier as there are as many women pilots as men taking off at the airpark, she says.

Someone who may join the group soon is Judy Howard of Flatwoods, who came Saturday with two of her grandchildren, Kaytlyn Bradley, 9, and Justin Bradley, 7, both of Wheelersburg.

While the children, who went flying twice, were too shy to talk about the experience, Howard was almost rhapsodic about her time in the air.

“It was wonderful. Fifteen hundred feet. One hundred miles an hour. It was neat,” she said. “I want to learn. I like exciting things. I have never done a whole lot of exciting things as a grownup.”