I wanted to spend more time exploring my own backyard and today it really paid off. I went to the 2nd Annual Family Fun Day at the Raleigh Executive Jetport in Sanford-Lee County. The Jetport actually opened in October, 2000 and celebrated it’s 10th anniversary by letting people come in and watch the activities.
There was no charge to get in and they put together quite an event. Burt Myers, the popular NASCAR driver, made an appearance along with two of his cars. He was signing autographs and talking with anyone who approached. When asked about himself he said that he had been driving since 1995 and that “driving is FUN, but it’s a lot of work.”
There were many, many planes to look at and we watched several take off and land. These pilots really put on quite a show. We were able to see some military aircraft and spoke with CWO2 Hazelwood. He stated that they were able to fly from Raleigh to the Raleigh Executive Jetport in only 15 minutes. He also said that flying the helicopter is “a non-stop rush, very busy, but a rush.” Hazelwood started flying when he was a CWO1 after two years of training. It was very exciting being able to get that close to such a machine and being able to speak to the pilot.
We were also able to tour a DC-3 as well as watch it take off and land. The first DC-3 was built in 1935 and became the standard airplane for airlines at that time. The DC-3 seated 21 passengers and one flight attendant. It was really strange to be on board a plane with no overhead compartments, a huge amount of leg room, no oxygen masks and small fans for circulation mounted in the corners.
If there is any way you can attend this event next year you should plan on it. The EAA Young Eagles program offered a chance for children ages 8 – 17 an opportunity to fly in a general aviation airplane free of charge. Rides in an old Stearman Bi-Plane were also offered for a charge of $80.00. Children and adults will enjoy the day no matter what your budget if you attend this event next year.