By J.R. Williams -- firstname.lastname@example.org
WINCHESTER -- Winchester Regional Airport is gearing up for the annual Experimental Aircraft Association Fall Flyin' & Cruisin' Festival scheduled for this weekend.
All the familiar festivities are back, including airplane rides sponsored by Avid Flight School, classic cars and aircraft on display, and activities for children, Airport Manager Renny Manuel said.
The event will be held Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with breakfast served from 8 to 11 a.m., and lunch available from vendors.
Also returning this year is the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation's "Spirit of Freedom" aircraft. The plane is one of 330 C-54E Skymaster transport aircraft that flew in the Berlin Airlift, a joint humanitarian operation during World War II that sustained Berlin after the Soviet Union blocked access to the city.
Inside the aircraft is a museum, which people can visit for a suggested donation of $2 or $5 per family.
Weather permitting, the aircraft's operators will re-enact the 1941 Berlin airlift candy drop on Sunday. Chocolate bars attached to parachutes will be dropped from the plane to waiting children.
Tim Chopp, the aircraft's commander, said the Spirit makes it to about 19 events a year and has visited Winchester annually for eight years.
"We always enjoy Winchester," he said.
Bought by the association in 1992, the aircraft gets a paltry one-half mile per gallon and burns 220 gallons of fuel per hour.
"It's like a Buick," Chopp said.
From 1 to 3 p.m., the EAA Young Eagles chapter will hold an event for youths ages 8-17, and give aircraft rides to children registered with the organization.
The Plane Crazy RC Club also will be on hand to demonstrate electric-powered aircraft.
The festival is sponsored by the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 186.
Several other events are scheduled at the airport in coming weeks, including the fourth annual Aviation Education Expo on Oct. 13, and a Top of Virginia Chamber of Commerce After Hours event scheduled Nov. 10.
For more information on the Flyin' & Cruisin' Festival, visit www.eaa186.org.