Plane old fun

Air­craft lovers crowd Eas­ton Air­port Day

Sunday Star - - FRONT PAGE - By CHRIS POLK cpolk@star­dem.com

— It was the big­gest crowd ever for Eas­ton Air­port/New­nam Field’s Air­port Day, Air­port Man­ager Mike Henry said, as hun­dreds packed the tar­mac and over-flow park­ing be­came the rule early on Sat­ur­day, Sept. 30.

The crowd was full of air­plane lovers from many gen­er­a­tions, from small, bright-eyed boys anx­ious for a chance in the cock­pit to World War II pilots rem­i­nisc­ing about fly­ing, some­times al­most lit­er­ally, by the seat of their pants in the 1940s.

“You see the whole spec­trum,” Henry said. “This event brings Talbot County out — ev­ery­body.”

Vin­tage planes were on the ground, sur­rounded by vis­i­tors. They in­cluded the iconic Bri­tish Spit­fire, an A-10 Warthog that just fin­ished a tour of duty in the Mid­dle East, aT-6G, a plane mas­querad­ing as a Ja­panese Zero, and and L-4 cam­ou­flage-painted ob­ser­va­tion plane.

There was a jet-pull con­test, with teams con­sist­ing of three men and three women tug­ging on the F-104 Starfighter that weighs five tons. Each team was charged with pulling it 50 feet, and the fastest team was de­clared the win­ner.

One of the most pop­u­lar events was the Rub­ber Chicken Drop.

Each plane made a pass down the run­way with the pi­lot throw­ing a rub­ber chicken out of the cock­pit, try­ing to drop it in the bed of a pickup truck, a tiny tar­get to hit when you’re moving that fast.

Henry said the win­ning pi­lot’s rub­ber chicken landed 60 feet from the truck.

All over the air­port, there were clas­sic car and air­craft dis­plays.

Chil­dren stood in line to get to sit in the cock­pit of the F-104 Lock­heed Starfighter, and the lines were long to tour a World War II B-25 that also took pas­sen­gers up for rides.

He­li­copters did steady business giving brief rides over and around the air­port.

There were mas­sive fly­ing for­ma­tions about noon, com­pli­ments of the Red Star Pilots As­so­ci­a­tion. Those fly­ing in for­ma­tion in­cluded Yaks — World War II Soviet fighter air­craft, “home builts” and T-6s.

Eas­ton Ru­ri­tans sold hot dogs, ham­burg­ers and more, with half their prof­its ben­e­fit­ting the air­port.

There were 26 ma­jor spon­sors for Air­port Day and about 100 vol­un­teers, Henry said. The event takes months to plan, he said, with the com­mit­tee be­gin­ning its work in March.

Pre­ston Ford not only helped fi­nan­cially but also loaned trucks to house speak­ers and sound equip­ment for the show.

Se­cu­rity and crowd con­trol was vol­un­teered by Mary­land State Po­lice cadets.

Ad­mis­sion was free. Pro­ceeds from events and ven­dors at Air­port Day go to sup­port works in the com­mu­nity.

PHO­TOS BY CHRIS POLK

Civil Air Pa­trol cadets Tyler Dasaro, right, a ninth-grader from North Dorch­ester High School, and Ai­den Buf­fum, left, an eighth-grader from Cen­tre­ville Mid­dle School, show what they know in the cock­pit of a Cessna 172 Sky­hawk dur­ing Eas­ton Air­port Day.

Vis­i­tors ad­mire a World War II T-6G dur­ing Eas­ton Air­port Day on Sat­ur­day.

PHO­TOS BY CHRIS POLK

An A-10 Warthog that just fin­ished a tour of duty in the Mid­dle East was one of the more pop­u­lar planes dur­ing Eas­ton Air­port Day.

Vis­i­tors get a les­son in lift and thrust from au­t­o­gyro pilots dur­ing Eas­ton Air­port Day on Sat­ur­day.

An L-4 cam­ou­flage-painted ob­ser­va­tion plane that was used in World War II is a fa­vorite at Eas­ton Air­port Day.

Hun­dreds pack Eas­ton Air­port/New­nam Field for the ninth an­nual Eas­ton Air­port Day on Sat­ur­day.

Lucy Olavs­rud waves from the cock­pit of an F-104 Lock­heed Starfighter dur­ing Eas­ton Air­port Day on Sat­ur­day. Pi­lot Barry Ec­cle­ston, left, helped chil­dren in and out of the cock­pit dur­ing the event.

Tpr. Scott Board­man, right, a flight para­medic on the Mary­land State Po­lice he­li­copter Trooper 6, gives tours of his air­craft, along with oth­ers on Sat­ur­day dur­ing Eas­ton’s Air­port Day.

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