BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (WV News) – Prospective aviators and engineers got their first glimpse of flight training on Saturday at Bridgeport.
The skies were clear and all systems were in place for youth and adults to launch bottle rockets and fly model airplanes on Day 2 of the Carl Hopkins Aviation Expo held at Bridgeport Recreation Complex.
Melissa and Mike White from Bridgeport attended the event to pique the curiosity and interest of 3-year-old grandson Brooks.
“He was really interested to see them fly the small planes. He has a few small model airplanes – his neighbor was a pilot and gives him airplanes all the time, ”Melissa said. “He’s never been on a plane yet, however, because of COVID-19. “
J’Aime and Bill Shearer said their 5-year-old daughter, Madison, has also shown an interest in aviation.
“I’m trying to expose him more to that,” said J’Aime, a teacher at Robert L. Bland Middle School in Lewis County, which uses aviation guidelines as part of his plans. courses. “I would love to have a pilot in the family. I had a cousin who had his license, and we were going to Uniontown, PA, to take us on flights.
Lori and Kory Jackson said commercial airliners flying over their home in Bridgeport sparked the interest of their 6-year-old daughter, Myla, and 2-year-old daughter, Merida.
“They’re intrigued by planes and aviation, so we wanted to bring them in to let them experience certain things,” Lori said. “We hope that at least one of them will follow in aerospace or engineering.”
Bridgeport’s Samantha and Gerred Staiger both work in the aviation industry, so interest started to rub off on their son Otto, 3, and daughter Eva, 2 and a half. Although he likes his children to have similar interests as their parents, Gerred said he was careful not to impose it on them.
“Whatever they are willing to do, we are more than happy to provide it and help them along the way,” he said.
The two toddlers already play with Matchbox planes, and they flew with Gerred.
Roger Altizer of Lewisburg and Paul Kobe of Parkersburg were interested in model control line airplanes as a teenager, then revisited the hobby after retirement and now compete in precision aerobatics at the nationwide.
But neither has been able to spark long-term interest in their children in control airliners, which have a gasoline engine and two wires running from the plane to a handful. hand, which the operator uses to steer the aircraft.
“My son could get on a plane and do some things, but when he landed he would say, ‘This is the one thing that I have tried that seems easy but is so difficult,’” said Altizer. “I have a 13 year old grandson with whom I would like to participate. We need more of that outside stuff. There are too many distractions in life today.
The Aviation Expo is named after Carl Hopkins, who started the first model aircraft club and competitions in north-central West Virginia.
“Carl said the future of aviation is in our children,” said Expo coordinator Ed Waske. “It’s in the Academy of Model Aeronautics museum.”
Hopkins’ daughters, Diane Garrett of Fairmont and Mary Jo Rieser of Clarksburg, recall many aviation experiences and competitions with their father at Benedum Airport in Bridgeport. Garrett called it a “thrill” to see kids always interested in model airplanes and rockets.
The organizers hope to continue the Carl Hopkins Aviation Expo on an annual basis.