FITCHBURG — The 7th annual Fitchburg Airport Aero Fair is scheduled to take flight on Father’s Day, the return of the aviation extravaganza that will take place for the first time in person since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those interested in all things aviation are in for a treat at the Fitchburg Pilots Association sponsored event being held on June 18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the FPA hangar at the Fitchburg Municipal Airport. Various static aviation displays and the chance to talk to the pilots who fly the aircraft, airport tours, a flight simulator, and the opportunity to learn about general aviation and more will be featured. Representatives from the Sterling based Greater Boston Soaring Club will also be on hand with a glider to climb into and check out.
UMass Memorial Life Flight will have two of their medical evaluation helicopters available to inspect and the Fitchburg Fire Department will have their special “smoke house” and a firefighter for kids to experience a non-toxic smoke-filled room as well as snacks and beverages available for a small fee.
Inside the hangar kids will be able to use a professional flight simulator with a pilot coaching them and the Fitchburg Radio Control Club will have samples of RC aircraft and club members who will be happy to explain how the modern radio-controlled models work.
In addition, children ages eight through 17 are welcome to register to book a specific time to fly in a private two or four place aircraft with one of the FPA pilots. The idea behind the free, national-sponsored Young Eagles activity that has 50 slots open is to encourage interest in aviation and STEM and perhaps a career in aviation.
“For most of them, this will be their first flight in a small plane, or perhaps any plane,” said FPA President Daniel Walton. “What a great way to kickstart their interest in aviation. These may be our airline captains of the future.”
While people are waiting for activities there will be tractor driven guided hayride tours of the airport so folks can see the aviation side of the field. A tour narrator will point out the many facets and facts about flying operations at the airport, such as departure and arrival procedures, fueling aircraft, and routine maintenance.
Civil Air Patrol cadets will be there helping with crowd control and managing parking at the event held with the cooperation of the Fitchburg Airport Commission and Interim Airport Manager Peter Kettle.
The last Aero Fair held in 2019 drew upwards of 1,000 people to the airport. Members of the FPA, which is made up of 100 area pilots, are thrilled to be able to welcome people back to the aviation showcase that will also provide a window into the workings of the airport.
“It raises the visibility of the airport to the community,” Walton expressed of the benefits of the yearly event. “Many people drive down Crawford Street daily without realizing that the airport contributes $17.7 million to the local economy. The city’s recent investment, increasing the runway length, is only going to increase this as it has led to significantly more bizjets bringing in executives to visit Fitchburg, Leominster, and Lunenburg.”
Walton conveyed that the FPA pilots “share the love of aviation and flying together” and enjoy sponsoring community events such as the Aero Fair, Young Eagles, and Santa Fest at their large hangar.