by Sarah Einselen Pharos-Tribune
---- — The Logansport-Cass County Airport open house is adding aircraft this year.
Saturday’s fourth annual event at the airport — which is open to the public — is bringing in three aircraft for display and rides that are new to the open house, said airport manager Tim Dalton. One, the Purdue University Phenom jet, will be flown in by Logansport native and third-generation pilot Braxton Baker, grandson of airport board member Bob Barr and student in Purdue University’s professional pilot program.
The others are an American Huey 369 helicopter from Peru and an World War II-era training plane. The Huey was assigned in 1971 to a medical company that had deployed to Vietnam and returned to the U.S. the next year. The helicopter was retired in 2001 to make way for a new Blackhawk helicopter and was acquired by Peru brothers John and Alan Walker in 2005, according to the website for the helicopter.
It’s now being maintained by a nonprofit organization with more than 60 core volunteers and air crew members.
“There’s a real big following among Vietnam veterans,” said Dalton. “Whenever it’s out and about, they’ll come.”
The third plane, an AT-6 Texan from the World War II era, is being brought in from Kokomo for display and rides. Some items from Grissom Air Museum in Bunker Hill will be on loan as well, Dalton said.
He’s expecting a few pilots to fly their own planes in for impromptu additions to the sights.
“You’ll see some things that you were like, ‘Wow, I didn’t think I was going to see that,’” said Dalton.
The open house is run by the local chapter 1471 of the Experimental Aircraft Association. Four EAA chapter planes will be offering $10 rides to children. Chapter members will also serve up pork chops and hot dogs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Two clubs for remote-controlled aircraft will fly large-scale airplanes, with wingspans of up to 3 feet, throughout the event. A children’s play zone, including bounce houses and the Logansport Fire Department Smokehouse, will be set up.
For pilots, the airport is bringing in a simulator for crosswind landings. The machine gives pilots the feel of keeping their plane in line with the runway while fighting a wind blowing perpendicular to the runway.
“Crosswind landings are never fun,” Dalton said. “Just imagine being in your car and having the wind keep pushing you off the side of the road.” So it’s safer, he said, to practice in a simulator because “it’s a lot easier to crash in a simulator.”
Dalton wasn’t sure how many visitors to expect for the event, which has grown consistently since its inception three years ago.
“We just hope everybody comes out and enjoys the day,” Dalton said.
The open house’s partner event, the annual Grissom Air Base fly-in, will also be going on Saturday.
Named the “GUS Fly-in” for the air base’s radio letters, KGUS, it’s sponsored by the Grissom Air Museum and Montgomery Aviation as a fundraiser for Down Syndrome of Indiana.
The fly-in starts with a $5 pancake breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m., then a lunch of hot dogs and hamburgers will be served after 11 a.m. Shuttles will take pilots and their families from Montgomery Aviation, where the breakfast will be, to the museum for free admission.
Other visitors to the breakfast or museum will have a discounted admission of $3 per person during the fly-in.
As a statewide EAA event, the fly-in “gives aviators a chance to see us, and also allows us to support a charity, which is very valuable,” said museum director Jim Price. “We get more people for breakfast than for lunch, so what it allows us to do is if you fly in to GUS for the fly-in, you can hop in your plane to the open house” at the Logansport airport.
Price expects up to 100 aircraft to fly in, all told.
“It is kind of an air show,” Price said. “There’s no stunt flying, shooting, but there are aircraft. They have a really vivid past, some great stories.”
Sarah Einselen is news editor at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at email@example.com or 574-732-5151.
If you go: WHAT: Logansport-Cass County Airport open house WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the airport, 3735 S. Airport Road COST: Admission is free; airplane rides start at $10 WHAT: GUS Fly-in WHEN: Starting at 8 a.m. Saturday WHERE: Montgomery Aviation and Grissom Air Museum at Grissom Air Base, Bunker Hill COST: $5 for pancake breakfast at Montgomery Aviation; $3 for admission to Grissom Air Museum (free for participating fly-in pilots and their families)