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The Canard Fly-In at Rough River

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The Rough River Fly-In is one of the oldest ongoing canard events. It was started in 1986, the first year that the Central States Association (predecessor to COBA) was in operation.

The first one was organized by Buzz Talbot, Central States member and Midwest Rep for the International VariEze & Composite Hospitality Club (IVCHC). He actively promoted the development of this national Fly-in event. It was a popular idea and the attendance was boosted by the Central States Association, which decided to hold their fall meeting at that event.

The fly-in, tentatively scheduled for the weekend of October 10-13, 1986 was held in Kentucky at Rough River State Resort Park. It was an excellent location for the event, complete with paved 2,500’ runway, with an adjacent lodge and restaurant.

Buzz served in organizer’s role from 1986 – 1989. Elise and Colby Farmer were the organizers for a year or two starting in 1990.

David Russell and Sam Chambers, who live near Rough River, took over from the Farmers in the early 90s. David and Sam served as the park interface for more than 20 years and deserve the endurance award.  Their tenure ran from 1992 to 2012.

As the event attendance grew, so did the number of volunteers. In 2007 Nick Ugolini organized the first forums and ran that program for 5 years through 2011. Gradually the forums grew to a 2 evening presentation of wide canard interest. In 2012 Nick took over as Tech Tent Talk program manager.

In 2013 Nick stepped up as overall fly-in organizer and Rough River Park contact person. Later he attracted a food service vendor for light lunch at the field.

It was announced at the 2019 CSA business meeting that Ryszard Zadow would take over as the new fly-in organizer and coordinator. Unfortunately Rough River 2020 was impacted by the COVID pandemic.

The early canard fly-ins at Rough River drew about 25 airplanes. In recent years there have been as many as 65 Rutan-designed and Rutan-inspired aircraft in attendance, making it the largest gathering of canard airplanes, even surpassing Sun-n-Fun and AirVenture Oshkosh.

Fly In Location is 2I3

Rough River State Park
450 Lodge Road
Falls of Rough KY 40119-9701
270-257-2311 or toll-free 1-800-325-1713

The park has a 3,200 foot paved
and lit airstrip with tie downs.
Aviation fuel not available.

Future Fly-In Dates
2021 Sept 24 - Sept 26
2022 Sept 23 - Sept 25
2023 Sept 22 - Sept 24

The success of the Rough River Fly-In is largely due to the very laid back atmosphere that makes this event so special. The weather is usually good in the Fall, the staff of the Rough River State Park have been very cooperative, and there are a lot of great canard builders and pilots to share ideas and stories. You won't find this level of camaraderie and this many canard aircraft, builders and pilots at any other fly-in. The focus is on canard airplanes, flying, and fun.

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