Plenty to celebrate for 2014 Airport Appreciation Days Putnam County Regional Airport Appreciation Days, always an opportunity to learn about and celebrate aviation in the Putnam County community, will have a little extra meaning this year.
Not only did the airport reopen recently, but it did so with a new runway surface, new taxiway, improved markings and signage and even a repaired driving surface on Ballard Lane.
Most importantly, the project was completed on time and under budget, a report Airport Authority President J.R. Scott recently gave to three impressed Putnam County Commissioners. Those are not words thrown about lightly at a government meeting.
With that in mind, the annual celebration of the airport, set for Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 6 and 7, will not only celebrate 84 years of general aviation in Putnam County, but will also toast the return of aviation to Putnam County, following a brief interruption this summer for some much-needed repairs.
Following a 9 a.m. opening ceremony on Saturday, Airport Appreciation Days will feature two days of fun celebrating the airport.
For kids between the ages of 8 and 17, the Harold Broyles Young Eagle Rally will provide “meaningful flight experience,” as members of Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 1374 volunteer their time and planes to take kids on free rides throughout the weekend.
The “not-so-young eagles” out there will also have some paid options for taking flight, including bi-plane rides from Robinson Aerobatics, Sky King plane rides and helicopter rides by Freedom Helicopters.
For the historic plane enthusiast, the weekend will feature a Titan T-51 Mustang demo flight as well as display aircraft of various shapes, sizes and ages.
The weekend will also feature midway attractions by Big Bounce Fun House, pony rides by Hope’s Way, the National Guard Bootcamp Challenge as well as food and merchandise vendors.
Specific to Saturday will be the Rotary Club cruise-in for classic cars as well as the Crown Street Music Festival from 3-7:30 p.m.
Sunday will feature a community praise and worship service from 7:30-9 a.m., followed by the EAA Chapter 1374 pancake breakfast at 9 a.m.
Also on Sunday will be a high-altitude balloon launch and the Rotary Club tractor show. The entire weekend will also be a chance to see the improvements made by the recently completed $3.9 million project that removed a hump from the runway and lengthened it to more than 5,000 feet. The project came in two phases, according to airport project manager Jason Clearwaters of Butler, Fairman & Seufert Civil Engineers. The first, which involved closing a portion of the runway, was to take 75 calendar days.
Contractors completed it in 55 days.
The second portion involved the total closure of the airport for up to 20 days, but it took only 18.
So, while airport officials held their breath all summer to see if there would indeed be an open airport to appreciate, the reopening came more than two weeks before the annual event.
Officials from the airport, county and city will celebrate the reopening on Saturday with a noon ribbon cutting to officially reopen the runway.
For more information on Putnam County Regional Airport Appreciation Days, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.