If you’ve never ridden in a helicopter or small airplane before, you need to give it a try. It’s nothing like flying in a 737 or even in one of the puddle jumpers that goes in and out of Redding Municipal Airport. Instead, you get the real feeling of, well … flight.
You may hop a ride in a small plane or helicopter this Sunday, June 20, during Aviation Day at Benton Airpark in Redding. The traditional Father’s Day event typically attracts more than 1,000 aviation fanatics and novices, as well as the simply curious.
“We’re going to have different types of aircraft there, all the way from modern experimental types to Cessnas and antiques,” said Herb Zuidema. He serves as secretary of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Redding chapter, which is one of the event’s primary sponsors.
Pilots willing to brave Benton’s relatively short landing strip will be flying in from the Bay Area, the coast and Oregon, according to Zuidema, who puts 50 to 60 hours a year on his own Cessna 172. The Coast Guard will have aircraft at the event, as will the California Highway Patrol and local emergency responders.
Aviation Day begins with a breakfast of ham, eggs and pancakes from 7 to 11 a.m. The breakfast ($7 for adults, $5 for teens and free for children) serves as a fundraiser for the EAA’s Young Eagles program, which provides rides and aviation encouragement for kids 8 to 17 years old.
“It’s fun to take them up the first time,” Zuidema said. “They have the apprehensive look on their face when they first get in. Depending on how old they are, we might let them handle the controls for a moment. They come back and they are all smiles and can’t wait to tell Mom and Dad how small those cars on the street were.”
Aviation Day is scheduled for 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday at Benton Airpark, located at Placer Street and Airpark Drive. Fixed-wing aircraft rides cost 15 cents per pound, and helicopter rides are $50. But there is no charge to simply attend the event, check out the dozens of aircraft on hand, talk to the pilots and watch some pretty exotic airplanes land and take off. Go in the morning and there will still be plenty of time for dad to watch the U.S. Open golf tournament in the afternoon.
• All active duty military personnel and their families may get into Turtle Bay Exploration Park for free until Labor Day. Turtle Bay earlier this month joined the launch of Blue Star Museums, a partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts that is offering free admission at more than 600 museums nationwide. Turtle Bay is the only California museum north of Sacramento participating in the program.
• Speaking of Turtle Bay … Museum volunteers will be at the north landing of the Sundial Bridge from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, June 21. That would be summer solstice, which is the best day of the year to visit the bridge. After all, it is an honest-to-goodness sundial. The Turtle Bay folks will have all kinds of fun tools and information to help people learn about the sun’s role in the solar system. And it’s free.
• The Injury Prevention Council of Shasta County reminds me, and you, that one out of five Americans does not use his or her automobile seatbelt on a regular basis. One out of five? That’s an amazing statistic, especially when you consider that failure to wear your seatbelt can earn you a ticket from just about any law enforcement agency. It may also cost you your life in a crash.
• The Shasta-Tehama-Trinity Joint Community College District is seeking five people to serve on the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee. The panel meets quarterly to review bond expenditures and ensure the district is complying with bond requirements. For information or an application form, contact the district president’s office at 242-7510.
Paul Shigley is senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a frequent contributor to Planning magazine and wishes all fathers well this Sunday. He lives in Centerville. Paul Shigley may be reached at email@example.com.