Discover Aviation Days Touches Down June 2-3

Discover Aviation Days touches down June 2-3 at the Anoka County-Blaine Airport with a full schedule of events promoting general aviation. T-6 Texan Pilot Bruce Olson is pictured in 2010 making a pass over the airport. An 80-percent scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. will be the special feature at this year’s event. (File photo by Tim Hennagir)

Discover Aviation Days touches down the first weekend in June at the Anoka County-Blaine Airport with a full schedule of events promoting general aviation activities.

“This will be the largest one we’ve done in the last five years,” said Craig Schiller, lead event organizer.

An 80 percent scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., will be the special feature at this year’s event.

Admission to all Discover Aviation Days 2012 events and exhibits is free.

The American Veterans Traveling Tribute (AVTT) will open to the public Friday, June 1, after a special ceremony at noon featuring guest speakers, Schiller said.

“We are estimating the Friday program will take about 50 minutes,” he said.

“The memorial will be lit at night and the members of Civil Air Patrol’s Anoka County Composite Squadron will provide around-the-clock security. The AVTT will be open 24 hours for public viewing, closing at 4 p.m. Sunday, June 3.”

Event attendees should enter the Anoka County-Blaine Airport on the south side at the 93rd Lane and Airport Road entrance. Traffic will exit to the east.

“Most event parking will be in the east fields. Attendees will exit the airport onto Xylite Street N.E., which will take them to Interstate 35W,” Schiller said.

According to Schiller, the AVTT will be the largest memorial wall of its type to visit Minnesota.

“There are other walls that have visited the state of Minnesota, but those were only 40 or 50 percent scale,” he said. AVVT also has displays honoring the Vietnam War, Korean War, World War II, police and fire.

“The set up is about 300 feet by 400 feet,” he said. “We will have a 40-foot by 100-foot tent with World War II and Vietnam veterans the public can meet.”

World War II U.S. Eighth Force veterans and Wayne (Whitey) Johnson, Flying Tiger veteran, are scheduled to appear at this year’s Discover Aviation Days.

On Dec. 8, 1941, the day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Johnson joined the U.S. Army Air Corps. After pilot training he was sent to China as a fighter pilot with Lt. Gen. Claire Lee Chennault’s famed Flying Tigers and the 14th Air Force. He flew the P-40 Warhawk and P-51 Mustang fighters in combat.

Discover Aviation Days features two days filled with flying demonstrations, kids’ activities, numerous exhibits, paid aircraft and helicopter rides and food booths.

General aviation and corporate aircraft, experimental, World War II fighters, trainers and bombers and modern military planes will be displayed, Schiller said.

An early morning pancake breakfast and lunch will be served both days.

Breakfast will be served at 7 a.m. and lunch at noon.

Discover Aviation Days hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Golden Wings Museum’s 12th annual hangar dance is Saturday, June 2, from 8 a.m. to midnight.

Admission is $12 for adults and $8 for students Kids 12 and under are free.

This 1940s-style dance features the sights and sounds of Dave Andrews Big Band. It’s set-up among a private collection of more than 20 vintage aircraft from the 1920s and 1930s.

Period dress from the 1940s is encouraged but not required, Schiller said.

The museum is located at 8797 Airport Road.

For more information about Discover Aviation Days, call 763-568-6072.

Source: Tim Hennagir

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