News & Events >

2023 SouthWings Fly-In

April 18, 2023
April 20, 2023
Hendersonville, NC
SouthWings is hosting its annual Volunteer Pilot Appreciation Fly-In April 18-20, 2023 at the Kanuga Conference and Retreat Center in Hendersonville, NC. You're invited!
Register For This Event

We had an absolutely amazing time at the Fly-In this year. Thank you so much to everyone who came. We are so grateful to each and every one of the Volunteer Pilots who make up this organization, and we enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with so many of you!

Can't wait for the next one!


Kanuga Conference and Retreat Center

471 Kanuga Chapel Drive

Hendersonville, NC 28739

**For those of you flying in**

Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) is the closest airport with fuel.

DISCOUNTS for VPs: Signature Flight Support at KAVL has agreed to discount the parking fee to $15/night and will offer full service fuel for the self serve price. The $35 Handling Fee will be waived if fuel is purchased.

Alternatively, the Hendersonville Airport (0A7) has 6 tie down spaces and parking will be discounted to $10/day for our VPs. However, there is no fuel at 0A7.


We are honored to have Kemp Burdette, Alex Kolker, and Jeffrey Hunter joining us at the Fly-In. Read their bios below!

Kemp Burdette

Kemp Burdette is the Cape Fear Riverkeeper and works to protect and improve the water quality of the Lower Cape Fear River. He is a Wilmington native who grew up exploring the waterways and swamps that make our area so special. Kemp has lived and travelled around the world as a US Navy search and rescue swimmer, a Fulbright Scholar, and a Peace Corps volunteer. At home and abroad Kemp has always been interested in the way humans interact with their environment.

Kemp has flown over 30 flights with SouthWings volunteer pilots in his work holding polluters accountable and keeping the Cape Fear River clean.

Read his full bio HERE.

Dr. Alex Kolker

Dr. Alex Kolker is an Associate Professor at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium. He studies climate change, sea level rise, resilience, and change in coastal systems. He has worked in systems across the world, including the Mississippi River Delta, Florida Everglades, the Atlantic Seaboard of the US, and North Africa. Among his current research projects, Dr. Kolker is actively studying Neptune Pass. This is the largest crevasse to form in the Mississippi River in decades- and a potential mechanism for large scale land building in the region.

Dr. Kolker received his Bachelors' degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz and his Master’s and Doctoral degrees from Stony Brook University. During the 2019-2020 academic year, Dr. Kolker was a Fulbright Scholar in Morocco, and he presently serves on the Fulbright Specialist Roster. He currently lives in New Orleans, LA.

Read his full bio HERE.

Jeff Hunter

Jeff Hunter is a senior program manager with National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) in Asheville, NC where he works on issues related to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

He spends most of his time coordinating a collaborative project focused on improving wildlife’s ability to safely cross Interstate 40 in the Pigeon River Gorge, just outside of the Smokies.

Read his full bio HERE.


One person: $115 (room) + $65 (meals)= $180/day

Two people: $124 (room) + $130 (meals)= $254/day

Though our reservation link is closed, make your reservation HERE, and then email or and let them know you are with SouthWings to get you the discounted rate. You will not get the discount unless you send that email.

Kanuga's cancellation policy: Cancelling 10 or less days before arrival equals a fee of one night's stay; anything before that will receive no fee. (April 7th is the last day to cancel your room reservation with no penalty.) No-shows will be charged one night stay to the card on file.

Commuters are welcome! Commuter fees are $65 per person per day which covers your meals. In order to pay this, you will simply pay for each meal at the dining hall register.

Kanuga Inn
Kanuga Lake


Tuesday, April 18

4pm  Check in time at Kanuga

5pm-6pm  Cocktail Hour

6pm-7pm  Dinner*

7:30pm-9:30pm  Bonfire

Wednesday, April 19

7:30am-9am  Breakfast Hours*

9am-12pm Morning Session

     9-9:15am Welcome and staff introductions

     9:15-10am Program Update

      10-11am Presentation: Kemp Burdette, Cape Fear River Watch. "Boots on the Ground meets Eye in the Sky -                       Aerial monitoring in the Cape Fear Basin"

      11-11:15am Break

      11:15-12pm Pilot Roundtable

12pm-1pm  Lunch*

1pm-2pm  Down Time/Nature Walk

2pm-3pm  Presentation: Alex Kolker, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium. "Neptune Pass: How Aerial                        Imagery Helped Inform The Science Of The Mississippi River's Largest New Outflow Channel"

3pm-4pm  Presentation: Jeff Hunter, National Parks Conservation Association. "Safe Passage: The I-40 Pigeon                         River Gorge Wildlife Crossing Project"

4:30pm-6:30pm  Cocktail Hour w/ Bluegrass music from Blue Ridge Tradition

6:30pm-8pm  Private Dinner Reception and Volunteer Pilot Awards*

8pm-9:30pm  Bonfire

Thursday, April 20

7:30am-9am  Breakfast Hours*

9am-10am FAASTeam Presentation, Emmet Bartholomew.

                        Presentation: Fly Like a Pro!

                        Description: Not many GA pilots pursue flight careers.  Although a pilot may not be paid as a                         professional, it does not limit anyone from acquiring professional knowledge and abilities to fly like                         one.  This presentation addresses general concepts allowing one to further their understanding,                         skills and, as important, their approach and attitude to gain the highest level of professional                         performance.

                        Time: 1 Hour

                        Credit:  Advanced Wings

10am  Checkout Time

11:30-1pm  Lunch*

*All meat will be provided by Hickory Nut Gap (Fairview, NC) and Joyce Farms (Winston-Salem, NC).

To register for the Fly-In, CLICK HERE!

If you have COVID or accessibility concerns that would prevent you from fully participating in this Fly-In, please let us know HERE and we will do our best to find a remedy.

Questions? Email Chelsea Easter at or call (828) 552-4907.

Hope to see you there!

THANK YOU to our 2023 Fly-In Sponsors and Event Partners:

Back to NEWS & Events

Stay in the know

Join our email list today to receive periodic updates about SouthWings' activities.
* indicates required