The Bensen Days Event schedule is generally very fluid. As such, this is a general overview of things you may expect based on events of the past and overall expectations. Use this information as a guide, but do not be at all surprised if extra features are added at the last moment or expected events are moved or cancelled without notice. People come from all around the globe to Bensen Days, and travel arrangements can alter expectations even at the best of times.
This schedule will outline expectations for the event from its “official” opening on Wednesday through the official closing Saturday evening. However, many people arrive early or stay beyond the event. This is especially true of people seeking gyroplane instruction. After Wednesday, effective instruction is not really practical due to the traffic on the airfield. As such, some instructors arrive as much as two weeks early to provide dual instruction for those who may not have a gyroplane certified flight instructor in their area or just prefer to learn at Wauchula to bundle instruction into their event plans. It is best to make arrangements with an instructor prior to arriving at the Bensen Days Event for such plans.
The general flow of the event is as follows:
- Wednesday Arrival and setup day. The bulk of those camping at the airport will be arriving. The food vendor will be up and running and it is generally a good day to fly, as the overall airport traffic will be light.
- Thursday Most of the vendors and campers will have settled in. Excellent day to fly, or just watch as pilots get used to the airport and area. This is probably the best day to get a ride or “introductory lesson” because the crowd is fairly light. Thursday Evening, many of the regular attendees will carpool to Solomon’s Castle for dinner. It is a loose tradition among participants. Information about Solomon’s Castle is on the Area Features page.
- Friday This is one of the main days of the event. Though some may still be arriving late in the day for Saturday, most of the gyroplanes will already be on site and available for up-close viewing and pictures when they are not flying. Weather permitting, the airport will be buzzing all day with gyroplanes, helicopters and even powered-parachutes or other non-rotorcraft. There will be plenty of activity in the hangars, in the camping area and on the field. Frequently, workshops on various aspects of rotorcraft-lore occur Friday.
- Saturday This is the busy day. The general public, along with the last of the pilot/aircraft stragglers bring the event up to capacity. There is a great deal of flying in the morning, but around mid-day, the bulk of the gyroplanes, helicopters and other aircraft of interest are put on display in the main aircraft tie-down area for the benefit of the public. From mid-day to early afternoon a variety of contests and other displays are scheduled that typically include:
- Short Landing Contest A skill test for precision landing.
- Egg Drop Contest Attempts to drop an egg from altitude on a human target (usually the SWARC President).
- Manufacturers’ Showcase A fly-by of a variety of makes and models of aircraft.
- Various Special Exhibitions Specialty flying exhibitions or aircraft demonstrations.
- Closing Banquet & Awards Presentation Around dusk on Saturday evening, participants with reservations gather at the event tent for the closing banquet and presentation of awards, prizes and honorable mentions.
- Sunday Those who have not done so already pack up and head out Sunday. Some fly a bit in the morning. A few hang around, especially if they have made arrangements for instruction or just plan to seek other adventures in the area.