Don’t miss it

Published 10:21 pm Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Based on the simple coolness factor, there may be no better event in Suffolk all year long than the Virginia Regional Festival of Flight, scheduled for this weekend at the Suffolk Executive Airport.

For airplane enthusiasts, there’s no question that this event is the biggest thing of the year. Even for people with a minimal interest in flight, the Festival of Flight offers a broad array of interesting sights to be seen, along with a few interactive opportunities that can’t be beaten. And this year a traveling exhibit about the Tuskegee Airmen promises visitors an exciting connection to the past.

The Commemorative Air Force Red Tail Squadron, in town for the Festival of Flight this weekend, features a documentary film screened inside a mobile theater. The organization will also display a restored P-51C Mustang fighter — the plane the “experimental” African-American squadron flew with such a high level of success in World War II.

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The Festival of Flight attracts pilots and planes from all around the eastern part of the nation, but a visit to the airport where it’s held can feel like it’s one of Suffolk’s best-kept secrets. Indeed, light crowds in the past couple of years have allowed folks to get a close and lingering look at the historic, experimental and unusual planes visiting the city for the weekend.

Old military planes? Check. Brand-new kit-built planes? Check. Single-seat parachute planes? Check. Radio-controlled model planes? Check. Helicopters? Yep. Multi-passenger executive aircraft? Oh yeah.

There will be free flights for youngsters with a taste for adventure. There will be a car and motorcycle show. There will be exhibits and lectures and an in-the-air rally adventure for pilots to hone their flying skills. And this year there will be an air show on Sunday at 1 p.m.

In a city with lots of great events throughout the year, the Virginia Festival of Flight stands out as one of the best. Don’t miss it.