Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

May 7, 2014

Fly-in, car show bringing fun for all ages to Mercer Airport

BRUSHFORK — People with a passion for airplanes, cars or both will have an opportunity on May 24 to see both types of vehicles when a fly-in and car show comes to the Mercer County Airport.

It is typical for airports to host fly-in events during the summer and invite pilots from other airports to visit and socialize, said Airport Manager Clint Ransom.

“We should have at least 25 planes hopefully,” he said. “General aviation, private planes, and maybe a couple of private jets.”

The event later this month will include cars, too.

“What I decided to do is to do a car show with it to get the local community involved,” Ransom said. “A lot of people, especially kids, like to come in and look at the airport.”

Kids ages 6 to 17 will have the chance to take free airplane rides courtesy of local pilots. The current plan is to offer rides lasting approximately 15 minutes and fly over nearby areas such as the city of Bluefield to the first 50 kids who line up, but more rides may be possible depending on weather and other conditions, Ransom said. Local pilots are generously donating the necessary aviation fuel and their time to offer the rides.

“About seven local pilots have volunteered to give free rides to kids,” Ransom said. “Hopefully that will bring out local people.”

Besides the aircraft rides, the event will feature the car show, food vendors and live music by George Whittaker, who appeared on Nashville Star Search and “used to open for some pretty big bands in the ‘90s,” Ransom said.

Car owners can begin registering their entries at 9 a.m. on May 24, and awards will be presented at 4 p.m. that same day.

“We’re going to have some raffles and giveaways,” he added. Companies such as Advanced Auto, Auto Zone, and Little General Store have donated prizes.

The Mercer County Airport Authority wants to make the community more aware of the airport and what it has to offer, said Charlie Cole, a board member and one of the local pilots who will provide the free rides for children. One hope is that children who are introduced to flight may want to learn more about flying and even pursue a career in aviation. The rides will be offered during a two- or three-hour period, he said.

“A lot of people will come to the car show and see what the airport’s all about,” Cole said. “Basically, we’re raising awareness.”

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