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High-flying fundraiser wings over Wiggins

WIGGINS -- Aviation enthusiasts, families and others looking for an unusual way to pass a gorgeous Saturday afternoon got to check out an air show at a small airport.

The second annual Wings Over Wiggins Fly-In at Dean Griffin Memorial Airport benefited Gateway Christian Academy in Wiggins.

Pilots from around the area, aboard modern and vintage airplanes, touched down for the event. Among the aircraft on display were a glider, several Cessnas, kit planes assembled by their owners, 1940s Stearman biplanes, and a forestry service rescue helicopter. Skydivers delighted viewers with their colorful smoke swirls as they descended.

Last year, the fly-in had raised enough money for the school to install a new PA system. This year, organizers are hoping to expand another classroom.

"This is a different fundraiser," said event organizer Cathy Whitney, GCA Booster Club president. "It is just something totally different, that you wouldn't normally see from a school.

Whitney, an air-traffic controller at Gulfport/Biloxi International Airport, was inspired by her love of aviation to organize the event for the school.

"We are a small Christian school located less than a mile from the airport. We have a building that is not complete that we intend on using for another classroom. Currently, our first- and second-graders are combined. We hope to complete the construction and add drywall and equipment by the start of the next school year."

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