After what its organizers called “the best organized and smoothest two-day setup ever,” tired volunteers who were ready for the 12th Virginia Regional Festival of Flight watched helplessly as a severe thunderstorm blew in, the evening of May 29, and flattened tents, tossed chairs and tables, turned over Port-A-Potties and wreaked havoc with a food vendor’s equipment. Upon surveying the damage under bright, clear skies on opening day, May 30, volunteers and vendors “quickly put everything right in time for the 8am opening bell,” at the Suffolk, Virginia, airport said organizer DeWitt Whittington.
During the weekend, more than 320 aircraft flew in from as far away as New York, Florida and Ohio, Whittington said. “Many people remarked on the wide mix of rare and unusual aircraft parked along the two closed runways,” he told General Aviation News. “Powered parachutes, ultralights, prize-winning homebuilts, careful restorations, among which were a P-51, two SNJs and a YAK. Aircraft judging volunteers had their hands full evaluating dozens of aircraft in six categories,” he said.
Adjacent to the main display area, 60 Boy Scouts with 25 supervising adults held a weekend Camporee, where many of the Scouts worked on their aviation merit badges as well as performed volunteer duty.
Two John Deere tractor-drawn shuttles serviced a five-stop route from the ultralight headquarters to the terminal and to the Fighter Factory on the far side of the airport. By riding the shuttle, attendees could stop at the terminal for an FAA National Capital Region Air Security briefing and tour the Fighter Factory maintenance hangar, a rare treat arranged by owner Jerry Yagen.
The 2010 Festival of Flight is scheduled for May 22-23, Whittington said.