The annual Fly Kansas Air Tour will make a stop in Garden City Wednesday morning, as part of its five-day, 12-community barnstorming of the state to promote aviation in Kansas.
The tour kicks off in Wellington Tuesday and concludes in Newton on Oct. 3, making stops in Pratt, Dodge City, Liberal, Garden City, Colby, Hays, Concordia, Junction City, Emporia and Beaumont.
“The Fly Kansas Air Tour is a unique chance to see the state and learn about general aviation up close,” KDOT Aviation Director Tiffany Brown said. “We hope to connect with both students and members of the community to demonstrate the important role their airport plays in their community.”
At stops along the tour, students will be invited to learn about topics that include basic flight principles and aviation education opportunities, as well as discuss careers in aviation with air ambulance operations, airport managers, aerial applicators, engineers, airline pilots and meet the 1st Aviation CombatBrigade from Fort Riley.
Rachelle Powell, Garden City Regional Airport’s aviation director, said up to 24 airplanes will begin arriving shortly before 9 a.m. Wednesday. The public is invited, and students from Garden City and Holcomb schools are expected to attend the roughly hour-long event.
Local community members are welcome and encouraged to visit the airport to watch the mass arrival of aircraft and visit with the pilots.
“It’s basically like an open house where people can walk around and look at the airplanes,” Powell said. “We’ll also have tours of the air traffic control tower, some heavy equipment the airport utilizes on display and the aircraft rescue and firefighting truck will be out. That way, it will give people and the children an opportunity to talk to people about careers in aviation, and just kind of have fun.”
The event is open to anyone with an interest in aviation or learning more about the airport.
This is the second year for the air tour, but the first time Garden City will be one of the stops, Powell said.
“We love aviation. We’re always excited to see airplanes and talk to pilots and share the thrill of aviation with the community,” she said. “It’s going to be a fast and furious hour, but it will be a good time.”
On Oct. 3, the air tour will stop at the Newton airport and participate in the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 88 fly-in, which features Young Eagle flights and commemorative Air Force aircraft, as well as a banquet dinner.
The air tour is organized by the Kansas Commission on Aerospace Education, in partnership with the Kansas Department of Transportation, Division of Aviation.