Festival of Flight set for April 28-29

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, April 19, 2012

Visitors to the Virginia Regional Festival of Flight next weekend will be able to see airplanes like this one up close, talk to their owners, visit workshops and forums, participate in children’s activities, watch the Parade of Flight and perhaps even take a spin in an airplane themselves.

This year’s Virginia Regional Festival of Flight will include a Parade of Flight, the opportunity to see and touch aircraft ranging from powered parachutes to antique planes, children’s activities and more.

The event will be held April 28-29 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

“We’ve had quite a number of requests from people wanting to see airplanes fly, rather than just on the ground,” said Dee Whittington, the public relations chairman for the Festival of Flight.

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The event is presented each year by the Virginia Aviation Council. It has been held in Suffolk since 2008, when it outgrew its former location in Dinwiddie.

During the fly-in, the Parade of Flight will take place from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. Pilots will fly in patterns to show off their aircraft.

On the ground throughout the event, visitors will be able to see and touch aircraft of all shapes and sizes and talk to their owners.

Richard VanGrunsven is set to bring his RV-1 plane to the fly-in for both days as part of its Tribute Tour. The RV-1 was the first of the entire Van’s line of homebuilt aircraft, what Whittington called one of the most successful homebuilt companies.

“It’s pretty neat,” Whittington said. “It’s headed to a museum. It’s a piece of history as far as homebuilt aircraft are concerned.”

Youth activities on both days will include radio-controlled airplanes, making windsocks and bottle rockets, and giving away candy airplanes and popsicle airplanes.

In addition, from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, free airplane rides will be given to young people between 8 and 17 years old through the Experimental Aircraft Association Young Eagles Program. Each child must have a parent or guardian sign a release form.

For aviation enthusiasts, more than 16 scheduled forums will be held on topics including weather, accidents, aircraft paint, engine failure, medical certifications, aviation photography and more.

For visitors driving to the event, the admission is $10 per person. Children 13 and under get in free, and parking is free. Camping in recreational vehicles, travel trailers or tents is $10 per night without power or $15 per night with power. “Under the wing” camping is free. Visitors who fly in are $5 each for people 14 and older; 13 and younger are free.

Volunteers are needed for the event. For those who volunteer at least four hours, there is a volunteer dinner on Saturday night.

For more information on the event, visit www.virginiaflyin.org.