Tuesday, October 18, 2016

2016 Fly Kansas Tour a soaring success

George Laliberte, preps his Ercoupe plane as the sun rises on Day 1 of the 2016 Fly Kansas Air Tour. 

Nearly 40 airplanes took to the skies  to celebrate The 2016 Fly Kansas Air Tour Sept. 29 - Oct. . In an effort to raise awareness of the importance of the aviation industry in Kansas, nine Kansas Airports welcomed the traveling pilots and their planes.  Around 1500 students and the public got the chance to see a variety of planes up close and meet with the pilots who flew their airplanes across Kansas skies.
A parachuter soars with the American Flag trailing behind during the opening Ceremony of the 2016 Fly Kansas Air Tour.

The tour began just after sunrise on Sept. 29, in Wellington. Participants were given the opportunity to watch arriving aircraft. A T-6 Texan, a medical helicopter, a fly-over from a military aircraft and a parachuter  were all highlights to the opening ceremony.  

Pilot Lindsey Dreiling, explains how this Cessna 172 SkyHawk works to a group of students at the Rooks County airport. 
During the tour, the public and students learned about the influence that aviation has on the Kansas economy. At the Rooks County stop, air medics explained the importance of The Kansas Airport Improvement program, which was created to improve and maintain smaller airports while increasing air travel and access to an air ambulance within 30 miles.
An Aeronca Champion 7CCM sits on the ramp during a break in the tour as pilots refuel and gear up for the next stop. 

During the Topeka stop, Governor Sam Brownback and Interim Secretary Richard Carlson addressed a crowd of girl scouts and the public  during a stop celebrating Girls in Aviation at the Combat Air Museum in Topeka. Brownback encouraged the girl scouts to work hard and follow their dreams.

The Fly Kansas Air Tour first took flight in 1928 and again in 1929, but it was another 79 years before the tour returned in 2008. Another short hiatus later, Kansas skies once again welcomed the tour in 2014.  The Tour included stops in Wellington, Great Bend, Rooks County, Dodge City, Scott City, Colby, Salina, Topeka and ended in Newton. 

Check out this video highlighting some of the stops and activities during the Fly Kansas Air Tour!

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