MANSFIELD – The focus of the sixth Mansfield Airport Day on the Fourth of July at Mansfield Lahm Airport will be youth in aviation, with a “Born to Fly” theme.
Saturday’s festivities kick off at 8 a.m. with the Mansfield Aviation Club pancake breakfast and Milliron-sponsored car, truck and cycle show, which this year has grown even more.
Bill Schmidt, chairman of the Mansfield Airport Day Committee, said this year’s event may be the largest. The purpose is to showcase the airport and its activities in a manner that informs, enlightens and entertains, as well as fosters an interest in aviation.
“It’s a great daytime family activity to come out to,” Schmidt said, noting last year’s event attracted 3,000 people. “It gives people a chance to see airplane and meet pilots.”
“We will be signing up children for the Young Eagles flying experience during Airport Day. We anticipate as many as 100 area children will be able to actually experience a flight,” Schmidt said. There is also a kids plane fun area.
Sign-up for the flight is 11:30 a.m. at the ramp area behind the Subway restaurant. Last year 109 youngsters took their first airplane ride.
This year a Simango Motor Glider will be on display. Schmidt said the plane is a rare motorized power glider that flies as both a glider or plane and has a 54-foot wing span.
The event will feature flyovers, weather permitting.
A variety of aircraft will be on display including aircraft from the 179th Airlift Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard, a business jet, a light sport aircraft called a CTLS and numerous single-engine airplanes.
The 200th REDHORSE will showcase its equipment too. The Mansfield police will bring the SWAT van for children to explore. Numerous other organizations will be on hand.
Mansfield’s first flying machine will be displayed again this year.
In 1859, Mansfield inventor Daniel McFarland Cook announced to the world that his flying machine “Queen of the Air” was about to take off on a cross-country flight. His craft never left the ground.
Cook’s flying machine will be exhibited for the first time in 155 years during Airport Day. The bullet-shaped airship — rusted but intact — stands 7 feet tall and 61/2 feet wide.
Complete with oval portholes in its sides, the vehicle was hoped to be “propelled and directed solely by the force of the electric engine, without hydrogen.”
Forty-four years before the Wright Brothers recorded their first flight, Cook’s anticipated aerial journey was reported in newspapers all over the nation.
In case of rain, the event will be held July 5.