Known in recent years for its role in advancing the future of aviation, the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport will reverse directions this weekend and throwback to the Golden Age of Aviation.
Often the testing site for the latest Unmanned Aerial Systems technologies, the airport will be transformed by a vintage aircraft gathering, better known as the Second Annual Barnstorming Carnival. The event will be held 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Leading the effort to realize this gathering is a local pilot from Xenia, Dewey Davenport. Davenport is passionate about aviation and the barnstorming era of the 1920s. With the aid of a couple dozen flying friends, Davenport’s event will bring this era of aviation to the general public.
In 2014, Davenport produced this fly-in for the first time. The weather prohibited much flying on the first day of that event, but when the weather cleared, vintage airplane pilots from across the country gathered at the airport. Around 2,000 people still came to see these vintage airplanes, talk with their pilots and even buy a ride in a plane.
This year, Davenport hopes to repeat last year’s show and expand in some areas. An aircraft of note that may show up this year, weather permitting, is a replica of a Demoiselle, designed by a contemporary of the Wright Brothers, Alberto Santos Dumont.
Popular last year, biplane rides will be another major attraction. These rides give spectators a chance to experience open cockpit flying firsthand. A variety of additional entertainment offered will include a car cruise-in, a radio-controlled airplane simulator provided by the Academy of Model Aeronautics, clowns and magicians, and a bounce house for children.
While the vintage aircraft will appeal to aviation enthusiasts, Davenport’s main goal is to produce “an inexpensive family friendly event involving airplanes.” He said he wants the event to be oriented toward the general public.
“I want 90 percent of the spectators to be non-aviation people who want to learn about aviation,” he said. He added that the event is about “opening up the airport, allowing the community to see what is there.”
Davenport is handling most aspects of preparation himself, but he notes that there is great community support for the event.
“The city of Springfield is really behind me this year,” said Davenport, who explained that the city took notice of his event following its success last year. “They started getting letters from spectators” who communicated their appreciation of the carnival to the city.
Davenport is also working with local businesses who sponsor or otherwise support the event. Young’s Jersey Dairy is one such business that has helped to promote the carnival.
“Dan (Young) has been a big part,” he added.
Last year, an airplane was even parked in Young’s parking lot, where it was paired with a large sign to draw attention to the fly-in.
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