Three of the MAC’s six smaller, general aviation airports hosted big crowds the weekend of July 13-14, as air shows and historic aircraft attracted aviation buffs and military veterans.
Thousands of people attended the AirExpo at Flying Cloud Airport (FCM), where about 40 iconic aircraft were on display. Visitors were able to book a ride in a B-17 Flying Fortress and watch the Red Bull skydivers and wingsuit daredevils fly out of the clouds and onto the airfield.
The event, put on by Wings of the North, also featured food and beverage concessions, a pancake breakfast and plenty of aerial entertainment.
“There aren’t many places you can get this close to planes and skydivers,” said Bill Hamilton, a St. Paul resident attending AirExpo on Sunday with his two young children. “My kids were excited to come to the airport and they haven’t been disappointed.”
That same weekend at St. Paul Downtown Airport (STP), a rare B-29 Superfortress bomber – one of the largest planes in the world credited with helping end World War II – was on display and available for rides.
Also on display in St. Paul were aircraft from the Commemorative Air Force Minnesota Wing, including a B-25 bomber of the same era.
Among the hundreds of people who came to the event to see the B-29 Superfortress was 90-year-old Herb Cook of St. Paul.
“I saw them fly when I was in the service during the Korean War,” said Cook. “But I’ve only seen them in the sky – never on the ground.”
The volunteer group that operates the aircraft timed their visit to coincide with AirExpo, but landed at St. Paul to take advantage of the 6,491-foot runway. The B-29’s aerial route brought it over FCM’s airfield twice each day of the weekend for fly-overs.
On Sunday the 14th, Airlake Airport in Lakeville held a fly-in breakfast hosted by the Lakeville Lions Club, part of the City of Lakeville’s Panorama of Progress Summer Festival.
The airport event has grown substantially in recent years, and 1,800 people were served breakfast this year. The B-25 bomber was also part of the program, offering rides on Sunday morning.