Kent State Aviation Heritage Fair takes flight



The 2012 Kent Aviation Heritage fair took place Saturday at the Kent Airport in Stow. The fair featured historic aircraft, a pancake breakfast, plane rides and music and entertainment for aviation enthusiasts as well as casual fans. Photo by Matt Unger.

Bobby Batyko

The 2012 KSU Aviation Heritage Fair took to the skies Saturday at the Kent State University Airport.

The free event featured both military and civilian aircraft displays and several flyovers.

Gates opened at 7 a.m. During an early morning pilot safety briefing, guests who arrived early viewed aircraft displayed on the tarmac.

At 8 a.m., guests began taking airplane rides around the airfield flown by Kent State instructors.

Dan Gittinger and Toby Snyder, both flight technology graduates of Kent State, were among the flight instructors on hand.

“We’re going up and taking them around campus and then circling around and coming back here,” Gittinger said. “I just flew a really small kid. He’s a Down syndrome kid. He was awesome up there. It’s a lot of fun to see the big smiles on their faces.”

The rides cost $30 per person or $75 for three people.

Notable additions to this year’s Aviation Fair included a dark green B-25 World War II bomber. Paul Stojkov, commander and pilot of the B-25, said the event was great.

“They always invite us and we enjoy coming out,” Stojkov said. “It’s a real honor and a privilege to keep the history alive and teach the next generation the real price of their freedom.”

Edmond Haoui, a flight engineer in training aboard the B-25, said the aircraft is a rarity. “This is definitely the nicest looking [B-25] you’ll ever see,” he said.

Rachael Porter, freshman marketing major, said she enjoyed the event. “It’s pretty cool looking at the different planes,” she said. “It would have been nice if the airplane rides weren’t so expensive.”

Guests had the opportunity to ride in a Navy SNJ-4, a World War II trainer. Prices were steep at around $300 for a single ride but there were takers throughout the day.

Bethany Jones, senior aeronautics major, worked at a table for Women in Aviation, an organization that provides networking, education and scholarships for women and men in the aviation industry. Jones, along with Jessica Pace, freshman aeronautics major, sold raffle tickets to fund a trip to the International Women in Aviation conference in Nashville.

Around noon, a Cessna Citation Sovereign private jet landed on the airfield. The jet, owned by the Parker Hannifin Corporation, was not made available to the public but was parked close enough for attendees to see in detail.

The show ended with the 60-year-old B-25 bomber taking off down the runway.

Contact Bobby Batyko at [email protected].