The Great American Solar Eclipse is just over a week away and pilots from all over the country will flock to East Tennessee to catch the view.
On Saturday, the Monroe County Airport held its monthly “fly-in breakfast.” It’s a chance for pilots around the region to come together for a signature “fly-boy” omelet. But this time, the talk around the table was all about the eclipse.
"I think everyone in the nation is looking forward to the eclipse," Tom McCosh, director of the Monroe County Airport, said.
Pilots across the country have their eyes on the skies, looking for best place to view the eclipse. The Monroe County Airport falls just along the path of totality.
“If the skies are clear, that's going to draw a lot of pilots to the area," said Charlie Carver, a pilot from Sweetwater.
Carver has been flying on and off for 20 year. But, of all the sights he’s seen, nothing can prepare him for August 21.
"To be able to see an eclipse from the air without the obstruction of clouds or haze…the pilots really like that kind of experience," Carver said.
While most will be bound to the ground, on eclipse day, if skies are gray, Carver will fly about the clouds to get a view like none other. He’s not alone. Other pilots plan to chase from the sky.
"We've talked to pilots that are going to be, as long as they can stay with it, they are going to stay with the eclipse," McCosh said.
Pilots will come from as far as Canada, Maine and Virginia. Some even plan to camp out at the airport overnight.
"We think we're going to have just about every inch of grass covered with a plane," McCosh said.
With a view of the horizon, the pilots will get the chance to see the eclipse in a different way.
“It will be amazing,” McCosh said.
Carver said on eclipse day regulations in the air will stay the same. Pilots at the Monroe County Airport will have an extra emphasis on safety, especially with the amount of pilots that may choose to watch the event from the air.