Plane old fun
Aircraft lovers crowd Easton Airport Day
— 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.
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.
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.