Planes and pancakes

Leslie Arntz

Aviation Heritage Fair entertains, despite canceled balloon launch

Charlie Huscroft plugs his ears as he and his father, Rick Huscroft, watch two F-15 jets preform fly-by stunts for the crowd gathered at the Kent State University Airport for the 2006 Aviation Heritage Fair. AMANDA SOWARDS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Jason Hall

The Kent State University Airport hangar was filled yesterday with the aromas of hot coffee, sausage, pancakes and Mrs. Butterworth syrup at the annual pancake breakfast at the Kent State University Aviation Heritage Fair.

About 1,000 people came out to eat pancakes served up by local mayors, principals, school board members, a senator and President emeritus Carol Cartwright.

“It makes it more interesting for people to know the mayor of their town served them breakfast,” Cartwright said. “It’s very good for the aviation program to have good relations with the community, to build relationships.”

President Lester Lefton visited the fair, though not to dish out flapjacks.

“I’m here to offer support to the College of Technology,” he said. “I’m not just here as the president of the university, though. I’m here as a member of the local community. It’s a very good program; it’s part of Kent State’s mission of community outreach and student instruction.”

When members of the Stow-Munroe Falls Kiwanis Club heard the aviation day was canceled earlier in the year, they worked with Isaac Nettey, senior director of academic programming for aeronautics, to bring it back.

All the proceeds from the breakfast go back to the community in the form of scholarships, said Kiwanis member Jerry Jensen, co-chair of the fair. Lannie Marsh, senior aeronautical studies major and vice president of the Kent State chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives, received the $1,000 scholarship given to school of flight technology students at the aviation fair.

“We’re trying to get students interested in the aviation program at Kent,” Jensen said. “We want to involve the community in aviation. Aviation is one of the number one pastimes in America. In Europe, people travel by trains. In India, they travel by boat. In the U.S., we fly.” Jensen said people just love to look at and touch airplanes.

“You can just watch the children get very excited about planes,” said Faith Cook, Kiwanis member and second co-chair of the fair.

Stow resident Joey DiRocco, 11, said he liked the planes and flying.

“(When flying) you can see all kinds of little cars (while) looking down,” he said.

His mother, Karen DiRocco, said her family and neighbors have come to the event for years.

She said it was the children’s idea to get up so early, and it was a “bummer the balloons didn’t go off.”

There was too much cloud cover for the scheduled balloon launch at 7:30 a.m.

“When you get up this early, you want to fly,” balloonist Lynee Bixler said. “You want to put on a show for people. It’s disappointing.”

One flyby was also canceled because of storms at the jets’ home airport in Toledo.

“If the F-16s could have come by, it would be a little better, but nothing can be done about Ohio weather,” said Richard Mangrum, assistant professor of aeronautics.

Junior accounting major Jimmy Redmond said his friends talked him into riding an airplane.

“I’ve never been in a plane before,” he said. “I’m terrified.”

He said the only reason he agreed was because it was free for all Kent State students.

“We’ve had a great turnout,” Mangrum said, not only for the airplane rides, but for the entire event.

Between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. more than 30,000 people attended the fair, Nettey said.

“This is what is remarkable,” he said. “You have cats, dogs, kids, parents, bicycles, strollers – all these parts of the community coming together. We achieved our mission.”

Contact College of Technology reporter Leslie Arntz at [email protected].