Thursday, May 23, 2013
Aviation Enthusiasts Flock to Annual Palmer Air Fair
Featuring everything from flight demonstrations to industry presentations and plane displays, the fair had a bit of everything for all ages. But, fair organizers say the event has a much more serious purpose.
It's been a deadly year for Alaska pilots, but Saturday they kicked off the third annual Palmer Air Fair with just one thing in mind: safety.
"We started with an idea three years ago that with all the fatalities and the near misses and all the accidents that occur in Alaska, that there had to be some sort of a forum to remind people to be safe," said Ken More, fair founder and co-owner of Arctic's Air Academy.
The fair is a chance for industry professionals and pilots to share their tips and tricks of the trade, and for hundreds of local Boy Scouts to earn their aviation badges.
"It was a lot more bumpy…it didn't seem to have as much control as I thought it might," said 13-year-old Cade Snegirev, who took his first small plane ride at the fair.
Angie Slingluff, an FAA education coordinator, said safety was also a priority for the Scouts.
"They've had a chance to do pre-flight with real airplanes, so they've learned the front area of the airplane, in front of the propeller, you don't want to be there," Slingluff says.
With the recent string of fatal accidents, fair organizers said the event shows people that getting up and going out can be fun and safe.
"For some kids, it takes away their fear of airplanes," Slingluff said. "It certainly excites them about the possibility of a career."
But at the end of the day, the goal is simple.
"Every time we don't see a name in a paper or see the results of an accident on a television news broadcast, we know that something has gone right," More said. "We're doing something worthwhile."