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Friday, April 29, 2011

Virginia Regional Festival Flight is here!

Hello all!

The DOAV show crew is packing up and headed to Suffolk for the Virginia Regional Festival of Flight this Saturday and Sunday!

The Virginia Regional Festival of Flight is more than just a gathering of aircraft, their pilots, owners and builders. It is an exciting participatory experience. Attendees will find activities for all ages.

Forum speakers share their knowledge and experiences. In past years forums have included technical subjects like: alternative fuels, engine overhaul, and flight-testing homebuilt airplanes. Other subjects presented have been the history of Virginia airports, the SR-71 Blackbird, a history of the Enola Gay B-29 and retinal eye care for the pilot.

Workshop leaders provide to all attendees hands-on construction projects and techniques. Examples are welding, composite construction, dope and fabric, dismantle an engine and reassemble it, and sheet metal forming.

Airplanes of many types fly in. Attendees can examine them closely. Some of the airplanes will be homebuilt show planes, some restored classics, older military and many factory-built airplanes. The owners and builders are always willing to share information about their planes. Airplane judging is offered with awards.

Information will be available about becoming a pilot and flying and becoming a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA).

The Youth Activities Area provides children, from toddlers to teens, creative, hands-on opportunities to learn about flying and airplanes. Activities include pedal planes to ride for the younger set; wing-rib building. Parents are encouraged to join in the fun.

Exhibitors display and sell a wide variety of products, services and souvenirs.

A variety of foods are available in the Food Court, as well as a pancake breakfast each morning.

For more information, visit

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hampton Roads Executive Airport celebrates new executive terminal/new runway construction

Hampton Roads Executive Airport is proud to announce the grand opening of its new executive terminal and new runway construction. The grand opening celebration and ribbon-cutting for the new runway will be held on Friday, May 6 at noon with remarks from Congressman Randy Forbes. The event will be a celebration of reaching a long awaited goal to better serve the Hampton Roads community with new, first-class facilities for aviation needs. Festivities will include a BBQ luncheon and Blue Skies Grille menu for all participants, music, raffle of a week at fly-in destination Bimini, Bahamas, and fuel discount coupons for all attending pilots.

After four years of terminal study and design, construction on the new $2 million terminal facility was begun in the spring of 2010. The contemporary building features vast glass windows in its spacious 20ft high passenger lobby for great air traffic viewing, a planned patio for outdoor seating, 28-person conference room, and state-of-the-art services for pilots and crew. The construction also includes new access and turn-around for automobile traffic. Funding for the terminal was provided by the Department of Aviation of Virginia and the owners of the airport, Virginia Aviation Associates LLC.

Equally important is the construction commencement of the new runway. It took the owners – Steven I. “Steve” Fox and David A. “Andy” Gibbs - ten years to seek final approval from the Corps of Engineers, DEQ, DOAV and the FAA. Funding for the runway is being provided by the FAA, DOAV and the owners of the airport. Inclusive of land acquisition, environmental studies, design, and construction, the project will top $30,000,000 in investment.

Hampton Roads Executive Airport positively impacts the local community through its support of aviation businesses based at the airport – five flight schools, aerial photography, aviation maintenance and avionics, banner tow operations, aircraft brokerage, corporate and business aviation activities, and recreational aviation.

Hampton Roads Executive Airport is a public use, privately owned reliever airport that is centrally located at the intersection of I-64, I-664, I-264 and Route 58. The airport is ranked #2 in the State of Virginia among 57 non-towered airports in annual operations (takeoffs and landings) and #3 for economic drivers among all VA general aviation airports. For more information, please contact Steve Fox at Hampton Roads Executive Airport, 757-373-3151, or visit

Monday, April 25, 2011

Now accepting nominations for the 2011 Virginia Aviation Awards

The Virginia Department of Aviation is now accepting nominations for the 2011 Virginia Aviation Awards. We would like to invite you to nominate those you feel worthy of receiving Airport Manager of the Year, Person of the Year, or the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Please take advantage of this opportunity to pay tribute to those leaders in Virginia aviation. By doing so, you ensure role models for generations to come.

The 2011 Virginia Aviation Awards will be presented on Wednesday, Aug. 17 during the 37th annual Virginia Aviation Conference at the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center in Roanoke.

We are accepting nominations through May 27. Click here for a nomination form.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Virginia Aviation Spring Safety Week announced

Virginia Aviation Safety Week will be held April 25-28. Kurt Reesman will discuss "Close Calls: Lessons Learned." At one time or another, many of us have found ourselves in "uncomfortable" situations aloft. In some cases the problems couldn't be predicted; in others the warnings show up in hindsight like neon signs. Either way, there are things to be learned. That's the idea behind "Close Calls, Lessons Learned," a riveting new seminar in which you'll meet five real pilots sharing true stories of their most harrowing moments aloft.

The program will be held from 7 p.m.-9 p.m. at the following locations:

April 25- Virginia Tech/Montgomery Executive Airport
April 26- Danville Regional Airport
April 27- Virginia Aviation Museum on Richmond International Airport
April 28- Virginia Air and Space Center in Hampton

For more information contact Mike Lauranzon at (804) 236-3639

Monday, April 11, 2011

Back from SUN 'n FUN

Sorry for the delay in posts! The DOAV show crew has returned safe and sound to Virginia and enjoyed some much needed time off. (Photo by Mike Deep)

Despite a natural disaster, SUN 'n FUN finished with strong numbers. Here's a great synposis from (Tampa Bay Online):

The Sun 'n Fun Fly-In is officially over, and the event is proving to be a study in extremes. The 37th annual Fly-In got off to a wet start which prevented many pilots from even making it to the early days of the aviation event.

"Early on this year we were low on admissions, especially with the aircraft, because the weather to the north of Florida was preventing aircraft from flying in from other parts of the country," said Sun 'n Fun President and Convention Chairman John Burton.

He said the Fly-In typically sees upwards of 45,000 take-offs and landings over the course of the weeklong event. This year wasn't like that though, and by Thursday, when heavy rains, 75 mph winds and a tornado touched down at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, it looked like the entire Fly-In might be a wash.

But Mother Nature had other plans, and when the skies cleared by Friday morning Sun 'n Fun was back in business.

"People must have rallied around Sun 'n Fun because Friday we had a huge crowd. Saturday, I believe, was the largest crowd we've ever had in the history of Sun 'n Fun," Burton said.

Sun 'n Fun officials still don't have an exact attendance count, but many vendors say they too saw a dramatic increase in sales and traffic on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Terry Schmidt who co-owns Flightline Services, one of Sun 'n Fun's major meal providers, the weekend exceeded expectations.

"Friday, Saturday, Sunday did real well. We kind of hoped that the people that did not come the previous days would come on the weekend, and I think for us the last two days were our record days we ever had," Schmidt said.

Some of the aircraft that were damaged during Thursday's strong line of storms remained on Sun 'n Fun property even as clean-up crews were taking down tents and clearing the rest of the airport.

"We'll have to work with the owners as to how we're going to remove those or what's going to be done," Burton said.

In the meantime, dates have already been set for next year's Fly-In which will be held March 27-April 1.

Thanks again for everyone who stopped by the Virginia is for Flying Lovers trailer! We'll see you next year!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Storm statistics and helping those affected by the storm

The National Weather Service has issued a statement regarding the storm that hit SUN 'n FUN hard yesterday:

"From the damage surveyed, it was evident that severe straight-line winds impacted the airport, however, a convergent pattern of debris was found on the western end of the runway. Damage supported 75 mph downburst thunderstorm winds with a brief tornado impact 30 yards wide at the west end of the runway. Damage is consistent around 95 mph. (EF-1) Tornado impact at 12:05 pm.”

An estimated 50 exhibitor and privately-owned aircraft as well as a large number of tents and other temporary structures were severely damaged by the storm. This isn't official, but we've heard the damage is estimated to be worth numbers as high as $44 million. As soon as we get an official estimate, we'll post it.

Four air cams were completely destoryed by the storm, as well as a Kitfox 3 (pictured left) owned by Aviation Explorer Post 491 in Birmingham, AL. It was not yet insured as it was to fly for the first time on Monday. Unfortunately, the tornado picked it up and slammed it down. Now the race is on to raise the funds they'll need to recover the loss. If you can help, please call Lance Akers at 701-238-9298 or stop by their tent near the Warbird Ramp i SUN 'n Fun.

Things are looking up...

And we're back in business!

A new day at SUN 'n FUN

It's a new day here at SUN 'n FUN. The rain is gone, and the sun is shining brightly. There's a lot of picking up, drying out, reassembling, and a lot of hugging. The SUN 'n FUN staff has been amazing throughout this whole ordeal. It's amazing no one was seriously injured, and we have the SUN 'n FUN folks to thank for that. From spreading the word about the massive storm yesterday to getting people inside the buildings to keeping everyone posted on the latest updates to working through the night to get the show back to normal today, they are the true heroes of this event.

Now, back to the fun! The Blue Angels, along with Fat Albert, have arrived, as well as the raptors. The Spash In is also going to take place today, and the Virginia is for Flying Lovers trailer is open for business!

Thanks to everyone back home who checked in on us! The weather forecast is absolutely beautiful for the duration of the show!