To the delight of many aviation enthusiasts or those just looking to have a good time, the fourth edition of the annual Fayette County Airport Fly-In is offering more events, activities and displays than ever before.
For the first time since the inception of the Fly-In, a 5K Run will be held beginning at 7:30 a.m. this Saturday.
“Over 100 people have already signed up for that,” said Jerry Van Dyke, the manager of the Fayette County Airport, and the president of the Fayette County Pilots Association, which sponsors the Fly-In. “You can still sign up for the 5K the morning of the run.”
All proceeds from the run will go to Kamp Dovetail, a volunteer-run summer camp sponsored by Supplementary Assistance to The Handicapped (S.A.T.H.), a non-profit organization. The camp is for children with disabilities in Highland and surrounding counties, such as Fayette.
All participants in the run, sponsored by the Fayette Family YMCA, will receive a t-shirt and a medal. Also in the morning, a pancake and sausage breakfast will be served until 10 a.m.
The “5K Runway” is just the beginning of a fun-filled day for the entire family.
Also for the first time, a B-25 bomber, an American twin-engine medium bomber identical to those used in World War II, will be on display. For just $5, anyone can take a tour inside of the aircraft. The B-25, along with other aircraft, will be on display courtesy of Champagne Aviation Museum airplanes.
“This year we also have skydivers at our venue with the first jump from 11 to 11:30 a.m. and the second jump from 1 to 1:30 p.m.,” said Van Dyke. “Everybody can come out and watch those free of charge.”
These professional skydivers come from Team Fastrax, based in Middletown. The team competes at the highest levels nationally and internationally, and holds the highest ratings in their sport. With a combined jump total of more than a quarter of a million skydives, the teams consists of a professional four-way competition team, pro canopy piloting team, and pro demonstration team.
Airplane and helicopter rides will be offered throughout the day. “We have an antique biplane giving rides this time,” said Van Dyke. “Airplane rides will be around town, helicopter rides will be around the airport, and the bi-wing plane will be around the edge of the town. Most will average about five to 15 minutes. With six aircraft flying, we should be able to get everyone a ride who wants one.”
Airplane rides will cost $20, biplane rides $60, and helicopter rides $30. “The biplanes have a cockpit and they are a little more unique,” said Van Dyke.
In total, about 10 vendors will be at the airport Saturday, including the local RC aircraft club with model airplanes. Classic cars and trucks will also be on display.
The YMCA is also offering activities for children and Heritage Memorial Church is providing food, including hamburgers, hot dogs and homemade pies. There will be a bounce house, a blow-up obstacle course, face-painting, cotton candy, sno-cones and kettle corn.
The event is scheduled to end at 5 p.m.
“We originally started this because we wanted people to realize that there is a quality airport in Fayette County,” said Van Dyke. “I wanted everyone to come out and get a chance to see how great of a facility it is. This airport is the community’s airport. Anyone can come out and have picnics or parties there, it’s a great venue to have an outside party. We just built a new facility out there with a 40 by 60 covered patio.”
The event has been averaging between 800 and 1,200 people the past three years.
“I think we’re going to have a lot more this year because of the B-25,” said Van Dyke. “It’s a family-friendly event. And everything is free except for food, the B-25 tour and the rides. It should be a lot of fun.”
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica.