The “candy bomber” is circling back to make another run over Greene County.
The C-54E Skymaster that wowed crowds last year during Aviation Day at the Greene County Airport is scheduled to return and offer tours of the flying museum and drop candy bars attached to miniature parachutes for children waiting below.
The “Support Our Aviation Resources” group, or S.O.A.R., which organizes the annual Aviation Day events, wanted to bring back the cargo plane used at the height of the Cold War during the Berlin Airdrop in the late 1940s. Its popularity last year, along with pilot Timothy Chopp’s ties to the area, made it an obvious choice to be the centerpiece for this year’s show Aug. 13 and 14, the first time ever it will be a two-day event.
“It’s such a large aircraft, and you just don’t see that kind of activity at our airport,” S.O.A.R. volunteer Dan Connor said. “A lot of people in our area just don’t get to see something like that.
But to bring it back and run the two-day show, the group needs donations from the public. Connor said the group right now is trying to raise money to bring back Chopp and his Skymaster for tours of the aircraft and flying demonstrations.
“We need to have enough going on to make it attractive (for the public), and the money to support us to do it,” Connor said. “We definitely could use some donations to bring it back. It’s an expensive aircraft to fly.”
Last year’s arrival of the aircraft, one of the largest planes ever to land at the airstrip, brought a hero’s welcome for Chopp, an Amwell Township native who has flown the airplane at numerous shows and demonstrations for 22 years, and his crew.
“It was a fantastic turnout,” Connor said. “You walk through time to see all of that history in the airplane because it’s a flying museum. It was a hit for us.”
The event culminated last year – and organizers hope it will again this year – when Hershey bars were dropped from the cargo plane in parachutes to simulate what American crewmen did for children in West Berlin, which was surrounded by Soviet Union troops, during the airlift in 1948 and 1949.
Other guests will include the author of “Turbo The Flying Dog,” a children’s books series, and the Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team, a local group that flies to pick up animals that are about to be euthanized.
To donate to help S.O.A.R. fund this year’s Aviation Days, go to the group’s website at www.SOARofGreeneCounty.org and click the “Donate” tab. Checks made out to S.O.A.R. of Greene County also can be sent to Connor’s home address at 185 Bradford Road, Waynesburg, PA 15370.
For more information about Aviation Days or other ways to help, contact Dan Connor or his wife, Heidi, at 724-833-3912 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.