Residents are invited to head over to the airport this weekend to check out, and perhaps even ride, an airplane for a while.
The Greenville Mid-Delta Regional Airport from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday will be hosting its inaugural Greenville Aviation Day.
The event, which is being organized in concert with Mid-Delta Aviation, the managing firm for Mid-Delta Regional Airport, will offer people a chance to take an upclose look at the world of aviation. Two of the primary sponsors for the event are Titan Aviation Fuel and Washington County Economic Alliance.
Airport director Samuel Washington said there will be several activities planned on that day for adults and children to enjoy.
“It’s really just an introduction to some people and a reintroduction for others to the airport because there are probably a lot of people who live within a mile or two of this airport who have never set foot on it,” Washington said. “We hope this will spark an interest, especially in some of our younger people who maybe are trying to decide what they want to do in life.”
The public is invited to take part in this free and sure to be fun event as it will be a unique opportunity for the community of Greenville and surrounding areas to learn about the world of aviation and have a great time doing it.
At the event, folks will get to watch six T-34 planes perform flight demos and formation flying.
For $50, patrons can take a ride in a vintage Travel Air biplane. Helicopter rides will also be available for a price had not yet been determined by press time. The duration of the flights had not been decided by press time either
Other demos attendees can look forward to include a drone from Mississippi State University’s Raspet Laboratory, a local group of radio-controlled fliers and a general aviation plane.
There will also so be a group of Corvettes on display for people to take pictures with and explore at the owners’ discretion, along with other aircraft for people to peruse and take pictures of.
People will get a chance to see a Boutique Airline flight arrive and watch as passengers disembark.
For each group at the event, Washington said he wants to have a representative talk about what it is they do and how they got involved.
“The hope is just to get people to come see the airport environment and see what we’re doing,” Washington explained. “Especially some from our minority communities who aviation has never really been shown to as a viable career option.”
Washington County Economic Alliance executive director Will Coppage said he feels the airport is a major asset to the community of Greenville and is one of the main reasons why the alliance became a sponsor of Aviation Day.
“When we see something that’s giving back to our community, we just want to be a part of it, bottom line,” Coppage said. “It’s an opportunity for families to come out and see what the airport is doing and to be educated about aviation.”
Washington said putting together Greenville Aviation Day is his way of trying to give back to the next generation. He said he wants to be able to tell youngsters, “Ok, this is something you can do. It’s a good career and there are a lot of good paying jobs in the field.”
Washington and Coppage both said they see this event as having the potential to create long-lasting opportunities for the communities and people of Greenville and Washington County.
“We are on the cusp of greatness happening in Washington County, so events like this are the jumping off point for that,” Coppage said.
Washington said he hopes to be able to discuss the potential success that lies in bringing industry to the airport at Aviation Day and also the possibility of several hundred jobs being created because of that endeavor.
Having grown up on a farm and watching crop dusters regularly fly by as a child is why Washington said he was passionate about starting this event.
“Through the years growing up, we had nothing but cotton fields all around us so we had ag planes flying arounds us all the time. I was just utterly fascinated and would say, ‘Wow I really wanna do that.’”
Washington said he learned about aviation through reading books and watching programs on television because he did not personally know anyone who was familiar with aviation. As such, he said he wants to do his part to change such predicaments, especially in economically depressed areas.
“If we shut down at 3 o’clock Saturday and two children walk out of here saying, ‘By God I think I want to be a pilot,’ then we’ve done our job,’” he said.