The Great Rubber Chicken Drop is one of the entertaining fundraisers featured in the annual Sisters Eagle Airport Fourth of July Fly-in. photo by Jerry Baldock
The Great Rubber Chicken Drop is one of the entertaining fundraisers featured in the annual Sisters Eagle Airport Fourth of July Fly-in. photo by Jerry Baldock

The planes buzzed overhead and the engines of hot rods and drag racers roared on Tuesday, July 4, as the Sisters community turned out to celebrate Independence Day at Sisters Eagle Airport with a fly-in that has become a Sisters tradition.

In a variety of ways, the event lived up to the theme of "The Sound of Speed."

Several dozen runners showed up early to run a 5K before adjourning to the Sisters Rotary's pancake breakfast to refuel. A chicken drop - essentially bingo using rubber chickens dropped onto the runway from a passing aircraft - was another fundraiser. There was also a 50/50 raffle and helicopter rides were available.

All proceeds from the event directly fund flight scholarships for students enrolled in the Sisters High School Flight Science program, which has grown to two full classes for next year. The unique combination of coursework completed at SHS, and flight training in the Outlaw Aviation Cessna 172 at the Sisters Airport, provides students with the opportunity to earn their private pilot certificate while in high school.

Drag races featured muscle cars and trucks as well as Corvettes and other sports cars. Competition was intense, with local bragging rights at stake.

Julie Benson, who owns the airport with her husband, Benny Benson, said they were still calculating costs and did not have an exact figure for funds raised at press time. She said that the event raised sufficient funds to support several more flight scholarships for SHS student pilots.

"We are happy to host the July 4th Fly-In at the Sisters Airport," said Benson "It has turned into a great annual event, and grows every year. We had planes, helicopters, powered parachutes, and gyrocopters fly in from across Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California, and Alaska. Many Sisters businesses sponsored prizes, like a free night at FivePine, or $200 toward a fly fishing trip. All the proceeds go toward flight scholarships for SHS student pilots. The success of this event shows how the Sisters community comes together to celebrate our country's Independence Day, the freedom to fly, the runway 5K run, drag races and car show, pancakes, and The Great Rubber Chicken Drop - all to fund SHS students' opportunity to learn to fly."