Regional Airport Fly-In Inspires Young Minds
Vol.7 Issue 8
Spectators from the El Reno Regional Airpark’s Annual Fly-In admire a B-25 “Mitchell” Bomber on display

The El Reno Regional Airpark recently held their annual Fly-In and Community Day, in El Reno, OK. The airport hosted over 100 aircraft and drew over four thousand people to the event. Additionally, seventy-three children were given their first opportunity to fly as well, thanks to the Young Eagle Program.

Adam Fox, Director of the El Reno Regional Airport

Adam Fox, El Reno Regional Airpark Director states, “We are proud of the turnout we had this year at our Second Annual Fly-In/Airshow. Getting the general public out to the airport and around aviation is how we secure the future of our great industry. Our hope is that young people see the thrill and excitement that the aviation industry produces, and they will want to seek careers within the industry.”

Two Sikorsky H-34 “Choctaw” helicopters fly in formation during the El Reno Regional Airpark’s annual Fly-In

Fox planned this salute to aviation in El Reno, and brought pilots from seven different states to perform aerobatic maneuvers that amazed spectators on the ground. Several Warbird aircraft were on display for the crowd, including two Sikorsky H-34 “Choctaw” helicopters, which later flew together in formation for the first time in over two decades. Making several passes over the flight line, the huge beasts were a sight (not to mention sound) to behold, and thrilled the audience with a final, front-and-center approach. Performing a synchronized left-face maneuver, the pair and set down onto the runway and filed back to their display positions for the crowd to enjoy.

A Cessna UC-78 training plane taxis to the flight line after 2 Sikorsky H-34 “Choctaw” helicopters fly by
A Beech Aircraft C-45 does a photo pass

Several planes from the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) took to the skies during the flying portion of the event, including: a Cessna UC-78 training plane based out of the CAF’s Jayhawk Wing in Wichita, Kansas, and a camouflage-colored Beech Aircraft C-45 from Guymon, OK, which flew with two other planes in rotation with a privately-owned AT-6 Texan Trainer from Tulsa. One of the main attractions was a B-25 bomber from the “Devil Dog” Squadron in Georgetown, Texas. This kind of bomber was famous for feats performed during the Doolittle Raid, (during World War II) when 16 of them took off from the deck of an aircraft carrier (USS Hornet) and bombed Tokyo. The other main attraction of the airshow was an AT-6 Trainer, flown by Texan Steve Afeman, who performed exciting attack-dives and multi-point rolls and loops with smoke trails!

A B-25 bomber from the “Devil Dog” Squadron provides a glimpse into the past with several fly-bys
Steve Afeman of Texas put his AT-6 Texan Trainer through its paces with a series of loops, rolls and dives which pleased the crowd

In addition to the historic aircraft performances, helicopter rides were offered to well over a hundred individuals that day. Food trucks were also made available, and vendors from local businesses and schools provided information booths inside one of the hangars at the airport. Entertainment was provided by a live band as well, making the event very enjoyable all around. Plans for next year’s event are already beginning. Fox said, “We’re going to have some even more special things next time.” He continued, “Aviation is the second largest industry in Oklahoma and the fastest growing in the state. For those reasons, it’s imperative that area youth are exposed to the industry.”

Historic Boeing Stearman bi-plane. This plane was one of the original trainers flown in Ft. Reno when it was a training base during WWII
An R-44 helicopter flies near the original flagpole of Ft. Reno at the El Reno Regional Airpark Fly-In and Community Day. Though it has weathered many Oklahoma storms, the original pole still stands proud.

He continues, giving emphasis to the importance of involving young people, “Most everyone in the industry today has a similar story that always starts with them being brought to the airport and introduced to airplanes/helicopters in some fashion. It is imperative that we continue that tradition!"

Over 100 aircraft flew in for El Reno Regional Airpark’s 2nd Annual Fly-In and Community Day
Airshows inspire young people to think about careers in aviation
Federal Aviation Aministration (FAA) seal