University of Oklahoma planes sat still, lined up one after the other at the OU Max Westheimer Airport, as a small plane buzzed high above them. The airplanes are a daily sight at the airport, but not one many get the opportunity to see.
The public will be provided that opportunity, for free, during the 8th Annual Aviation Festival. The festival is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25 at the airport, 1700 Lexington Avenue. Several OU planes, as well as many others, will be on display with pilots ready to answer questions and show off the planes.
Gates to the flight ramp will be open for plenty of parking space.
“The main reason we do it is for the kids,” said Ken Carson, Director of Aviation.
“With transportation security now, you’ve got to have all the defenses up. It’s hard for kids to go out and touch, feel (aviation equipment) and talk to pilots.”
Carson said the airport gets calls from time to time from parents asking if they could bring their kids out to look at an airplane or take a flight.
“There’s always interest in that. So we just kind of got together and (said) why don’t we do an open house?” Carson said.
Every year the festival has drawn crowds of anywhere from 2,000 to 3,500 if the weather is nice. Part of the planning coincides with the OU football schedule, as well, steering clear from any Saturday there is a big game going on, he said.
Aside from OU planes, there will also be business and corporate planes. While there is no airline traffic at the local airport, American Envoy airlines will be represented. Carson discussed the importance of having business jets there, as well.
“The business part of aviation is really important for Norman and economic development,” he said.