Airport Day ready for flight this weekend

NORWICH – Eyes will be on the sky for an exciting spectacle of aerobatics this Saturday at the Warren E. Eaton Airport in Norwich as the 25th annual Chenango County Airport Day takes flight.

Long hailed as a chance for local residents to get an up-close look at the world of aviation, Airport Day is an admission-free, family-friendly event that promotes Chenango’s very own aviation center. This year’s show features an itinerary that includes a hot air balloon launch, a “fly-in” breakfast, and free flights over Chenango for kids. And, of course, the popular air shows that keep audiences holding their breath.

The event takes off with a hot air balloon launch, sponsored by ACCO Brands, at 6:30 a.m. from the grounds of the airport.

“We have five teams doing the hot air balloon launch this year,” said Chenango County Planner Shane Butler, organizer of this year’s Airport Day. “We are hoping that people will see them and that will help draw them down to the airport for other events.”

Following the balloon launch will be the fly-in breakfast starting at 8 a.m. – the only function at Airport Day that will come at a small cost to attendees. “People will have to pay for food, but the breakfast attracts people whose hobby is to go around to different aviation related sites in different areas,” Butler explained. “It’s a draw for the community. If people fly in, then there’s airplanes for people to look at.”

Young Eagle flight sign-ups – that is, free flights for kids – also start at 8 a.m. and will continue until 4 p.m.

Airport Day will additionally include several displays from various community organizations, a close-up look at the LifeNet helicopter, an exhibition from the Oneonta Remote Control Flyers, and classic cars on display from the Rolling Antiquers Old Car Club. State Police will also be there with their vehicle rollover simulator, and the Chenango County Sheriff’s Office will be doing fingerprinting.

But the big draw will be the air shows, put on this year by two well-known professionals in the field of aerobatics: Dan Marcotte and Bill Gordon.

The shows are scheduled for 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.

“When people think of Airport Day, they usually think of air shows,” Butler said.

As the lead pilot of the famed Iron Eagles, Gordon has a lot of experience in stunt aviation. With a specially modified single-seat Super Christen Eagle I biplane, Gordon is among some of the most exciting pilots flying the circuit.

Marcott’s show features a unique biplane with four full-span ailerons that provide a 700 degree per second roll rate as he enters stunts at speeds up to 250 mph.

Of course, air shows are weather pending, Butler pointed out.

“Rain is a swear word this year,” he joked. “We are really hoping for good weather.”

Airport Day is made possible by sponsorship from ACCO Brands, Cars and Credit, Chenango County, Community Bank, Fiberdyne, Howard Johnson, Irmin A. Mody Real Estate, NBT Bank, Norwich Supervisor and Mrs. David C. Law, and The Pennysaver.

For additional information, contact Butler at 607-337-1640 or email Or find “Airport Day at Lieutenant Warren E. Eaton Airport” on Facebook.

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