NORWICH — The annual Airport Day event held at the Lt. Warren E. Eaton Airport will return this Saturday, June 10 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. with old favorites and some new exhibits.
"Airport Day is a community event where we try our best to get the community up to the airport to see all we have to offer," said Chenango County Airport Administrator Shane Butler. "Really getting people involved with airport and aviation careers, connecting the community to our airport."
This year's free event will see the return of the National Warplane Museum and their WWII airplane "Whiskey 7," which was the lead C47 in the second wave of D-Day.
Half-hour flights on Whiskey 7 are available now for individuals aged eight years and older for $150 by visiting NationalWarplaneMuseum.com and selecting "FareHarbor" under the "Book a Plane Ride!" tab, and searching for the Norwich event.
Young aviators aged eight to 17 will also have the chance to enjoy free plane rides provided by the EAA Young Eagles program, with a parent or guardian signature on approved forms. Registration will be available at the event.
More information on the EAA Young Eagles program can be found at EAA.org/eaa/youth/free-ye-flights.
New to Airport Day this year will be the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Red Tail Squadron's Rise Above free traveling exhibit.
"We’ve been trying for many years to bring this and this was the first time we’ve been able to do it," said Butler. "Definitely thank you to all of our sponsors for making it happen."
According to the CAF, the Rise Above exhibit features "a 30-seat temperature-controlled movie theater with a 160-degree panoramic screen. The Rise Above movie shown highlights who the Tuskegee Airmen are, how they overcame obstacles to be allowed to train and fight as U.S. Army Air Corps pilots, how more than 10,000 other black men and women also trained hard to support the pilots, and what the courage and determination they exhibited then still means to all Americans today. The movie will also give viewers a feel for what it’s like to pilot a Mustang!"
The Rise Above exhibit is currently on display at the Lt. Warren E. Eaton Airport and is open to the public beginning at 9 a.m. this morning through the end of Airport Day this weekend.
Butler said the airport has three schools that will be visiting the exhibit this week. The exhibit aims to "teach the six guiding principles of the Tuskegee airmen" and each student who attends the exhibit and watches the film will receive a free inspirational dog tag with the guiding principles inscribed on it.
The six guiding principles include "Aim high; believe in yourself; never quit; be ready to go; use your brain; and expect to win."
More information on the Commemorative Air Force Rise Above exhibit can be found at CAFriseabove.org.
Also included at this year's Airport Day will be a fly-in breakfast provided by the Donut Hut and Bakery. Pilots are welcome to fly in to the airport to enjoy breakfast before the festivities begin, but Butler said the breakfast is open to the public as well. For lunch, Columbus Public House will be providing their popular barbecue chicken.
Both the Air Force and Space Force will be in attendance with recruitment information and displays, and Mohawk Valley Community College will have a booth with information on their Airframe and PP Tech program. Butler said some other area employers will be in attendance as well.
A glider will be flying in and doing a display as well, and the Civil Air Patrol will be bringing a plane and a bounce house for children to enjoy.
Also for attending children will be several trucks and pieces of equipment from the Norwich Fire Department, Yacano's Paving and Excavating, and the Lt. Warren E. Eaton Airport for an experience similar to "Touch a Truck."
"Basically it’s an opportunity for kids to see these big old pieces of equipment up close and personal. So like last year the fire department actually allowed kids to get up inside the firetruck, so they could kind of see it firsthand," Butler explained. "Some kids, they don’t have access to that. The only time they ever see a firetruck is this blazing, 60 miles per hour down the road, with lights flashing and sirens going off. So this is kind of an opportunity to see that firemen aren’t scary."
Airport Day is a rain or shine event, however Butler said some displays will be dependent on weather conditions.
This year's Airport Day was made possible by the following sponsors: the RC Smith Foundation, C&S Companies, Commerce Chenango, the Pennysaver, GE Aerospace, Diaz Aviation, NBT Bank, Visions Federal Credit Union, Electric Coil Inc., La Bella Salon, and Upstate Companies.
For more information on the Lt. Warren E. Eaton Airport, visit co.chenango.ny.us/airport or the Lt. Warren E. Eaton Airport Facebook page.