After years of packing up truck loads of nylon fencing, fence posts, barrels, signs, tents and more for storage, this year’s Virginia Regional Festival of Flight volunteers will have a huge logistical advantage: On-field storage.
Last year The Virginia Aviation Council purchased a 40-foot SeaLand container with funds donated by Aero Industries at Richmond International Airport. A volunteer crew headed by Cliff Martin and Ron VanSickle built support piers and graveled the approved location on the Suffolk Executive Airport. Fortuitously, a crane hired for another job appeared and had time to set the huge Hyundai-emblazoned box in place. Martin, VanSickle, and expert painter Bobby Clarke cleaned and painted the exterior and interior.
For efficient storage Martin is designing and building customized storage racks and shelves. He also installed windows for natural light for which he plans awnings to enhance the appearance of the container which is easily visible from the airport terminal. A side door with a stoop for quick access and a front loading ramp at the major end doors will make it easier to pack and unpack. The final fillip will be a banner designed by graphic artist Jim Heidish mounted on the container facing airport traffic to advertise the fly-in throughout the year.
“When we put away the tents, custom banner supports, and dozens of pieces of equipment in April, the efficiency of this new addition will really be apparent,” said Martin. Dennis Holbrok, the Field Setup Chairman, agreed. “For years the major effort to offer the flying public a quality fly-in has been particularly labor intensive. Volunteers had to truck materials to a farm in another county. Now it’s right here on the airport.”
Along with the older “Blue Goose” storage trailer which currently holds the pancake breakfast equipment, the Virginia Aviation Council will finally have its investments protected from the weather and deterioration, organizers said.
In a further enhancement to the site, in early December a volunteer crew moved hundreds of pounds of soil left over from airport construction and spread it in low spots and rough areas. Fly-in attendees will have smoother and safer taxiing in those aircraft vendor and parking areas on April 30 and May 1.
For more information: VirginiaFlyIn.org