Saturday, May 31, 2014

Learn to Fly Day landing at Frederick Municipal Airport (KFDK), Maryland

Airplane enthusiasts will get the chance to take to the skies next weekend at Frederick Municipal Airport.

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association is hosting its fourth annual Learn to Fly Day on June 7, which will feature free flights, simulated flights, and face painting and balloon animals for kids.

Organizers hope the event will encourage people to consider careers in aviation and raise the visibility of the airport.

“We want to raise awareness that aviation is active in the community. Some people don't even realize that there is an airport in Frederick,” AOPA spokeswoman Kristen Seaman said.

The first 150 or so participants who are at least 8 years old will be able to fly with AOPA and volunteer pilots to learn about general aviation.

The association is expecting up to 1,000 people at the event, Seaman said, but those who are unable to get a flight ticket or those who do not meet the age requirement can still get an introduction to aviation on the ground in one of the flight simulators.

“Once the flights are gone, there is still plenty to do,” Seaman said.

Jon Harden, a pilot and member of the City of Frederick Airport Commission, has participated in the event since the beginning. He normally volunteers to offer flights, but prior commitment this year will keep him from doing so. Instead, he will display his yellow Pitts S1S to the public.

The event has been important to him, he said, because it is an opportunity to pass on his interest in flight.

“Aviation has been not only a passion, but it's been really good to me. I think it's important for us as pilots to be able to share that passion,” he said.

He added that it is particularly rewarding to share the flying experience with young people because it is new and exciting to them.

Assistant airport manager Nick Sabo said operations at the airport will continue normally during the event.

The Learn to Fly Day activities will be centered on one area, and all flights will be constantly monitored by the control tower.

“Our number one priority is always safety,” he said.

He added that the event should highlight the importance of aviation and provide a chance to interact with the larger community in a fun way.

“This is what general aviation airports are all about, is bringing the community out,” he said.

If you go

WHAT: Learn to Fly Day

WHERE: Frederick Municipal Airport, 310 Airport Drive East, Frederick

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 7


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