Bob & Carol Simmers, Event Coordinators
North Dakota once again had the opportunity to showcase its hospitality and ever-changing landscape as it hosted the International Cessna 195 Club’s Annual Fly-In and Convention. The club boasts of a worldwide membership in excess of 900 Cessna 195 enthusiasts, of which 75 members and 36 classic aircraft congregated in Bismarck in early September for their yearly get together.
The event kicked off on Sept. 4, 2019 with a fundraising barbecue in Bob and Carol Simmers’ back yard. On Thursday, we had great weather for an air tour over the Bakken and the Badlands with a lunch stop at Watford City. We were greeted by Luke Taylor and members of the airport authority and employees, with lunch served by the Smiling Moose Rocky Mountain Deli. We continued south over the Little Missouri River and Medora on our way back to Bismarck. The day concluded with the Foundation Banquet at the Radisson Hotel, which included a warm welcome by the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission Director, Kyle Wanner, and a presentation by Dr. Robert Roswick. Entertainment was provided by the Strolling Strings, an all-string ensemble made up of local area high school students.
Another day of great weather greeted us on Friday, as we ventured north to the Dakota Territory Air Museum at the Minot Airport. Lunch was served in the museum by JL Beers of Minot. Our route home took us over Prairie Rose, the largest dragline in North Dakota. A maintenance clinic was held after returning to Bismarck, primarily covering the 195’s propeller. The evening was spent at Fort Abraham Lincoln with a themed meal, a tour of the Custer House, and a visit from one of General Custer’s sergeants who entertained us and the kids.
On Saturday, the weather turned against us with rain and low ceilings. We had scheduled Young Eagle rides but we were unfortunately unable to fly. The ladies spent the morning at the Heritage Center and had lunch at the Apple Creek Country Club. The men spent the day “Hangar Flying” with a taco bar sponsored by the North Dakota Aviation Council. The annual meeting and banquet were held Saturday evening at the Stonehome Brewing Company.
After breakfast at the annual Bismarck Fly-In and Drive-In pancake breakfast, hosted by Bismarck Aero Center and Puklich Chevrolet, the Cessna 195 Club departed for their respective homes. All members left with an urge to return and see more of what we have to offer in North Dakota. Special thanks to Jon Simmers and Shae Helling, who helped plan this event.