About 100 people will visit Newton during the week of June 6-12, though they will not arrive by car or train. Instead, members of The International Cessna 170 Association will descend on Newton from their aircraft and give people nearby the chance to see them in action.
TIC170A, the club's abbreviated moniker, has over 1,000 members. Formed in 1969, TIC170A holds its annual conventions at various locations around the United States and Canada.
Charter member Bob Coats, who has served in nearly every role in the organization, will be one of the pilots making his way to the Newton City-County Airport for the 51st annual TIC170A convention.
"We have had the opportunity to meet some great people in every part of the country," Coats said.
Coats has attended 48 of the past 50 conventions and has flown a Cessna 170 over all 50 states and in each Canadian province.
"It's an airplane that is very stable and very safe," Coats said.
Cessna 170s, about 5,000 of which were built between 1948 and 1956, fly at about 120 mph.
"It's kind of like driving a car, only you get there twice as fast," Coats joked.
From flying over the forests of Nova Scotia to eating a meal on an oil rig in Louisiana, the annual TIC170A convention gives pilots and their passengers the opportunity to take in the sights and scenes of North America.
"We've had as many as 135, 145 airplanes at these conventions," Coats said. " ... You get a good history and a good visual experience of all parts of the United States and Canada."
Coats and about 30 other pilots, along with more then 50 passengers, will spend the week sightseeing around Newton, Hutchinson and Wichita.
The planes will arrive on June 6 and pilots will participate in a welcome party at Midtown Venue. The next day, the group will visit the Hutchinson Airport, Cosmosphere, Airport Steakhouse and Strataca.
The public is invited to see the planes and meet the pilots from 8 a.m. to noon June 8 at the Newton City-County Airport, 810 N. Oliver Road. The day will start with short takeoff, flour bomb drop and spot landing competitions, followed by a chance to visit the aircraft about 10 a.m and listen to a discussion of airplane safety, equipment and other topics at a pilot's forum at 11:30 a.m.
An excursion to see Doc, the restored B-29 airplane in Wichita, and fly-outs to Stearman Airport and Beaumont Hotel are also planned.
"We're excited to be in Kansas," Coats said. "This is the place where the airplane was originally built."
To commemorate their visit — and the 50th anniversary of the club's founding — a fly-in to the airstrip where Cessna first tested its 170s is planned for June 11.
Coats said he expects pilots from all over the U.S. and Canada to attend the TIC170A convention.
"This group is like one big family, getting together for a weeklong reunion — without fighting," Coats said.
For more information about The International Cessna 170 Association, visit http://www.cessna170.org.