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Tuesday, October 6, 2020

 Flying Circus Aerodrome Celebrates 47th Annual Balloon Fest

The backdrop of a beautiful blue sky along with the Aerodrome’s vintage biplanes made the perfect setting for a hot air balloon demonstration. This year, the Flying Circus held its 47th Balloon Fest on October 3-4, but weather wouldn’t allow for a safe launch.  Instead, two tethered balloons were used Saturday morning to explain how they operate in the sky. The crowd that stuck around after Saturday’s air show was treated to a colorful balloon launch. Sunday provided a launch opportunity as well.

A hot air balloon has no built-in mechanism for steering, so it uses the direction in which the wind travels to steer itself. The pilot can control the altitude and the vertical speed of the balloon by using the propane tank to heat the air that causes the balloon to rise.   With the prevailing winds Saturday morning, the hot air balloons would’ve been pushed towards a Military Operations Area if launched from the aerodrome.  To avoid violations and keep everyone safe, eight balloons were remotely launched Saturday morning, and the audience was able to see six fly by the field. 

Biplane rides available between the balloon demonstration and the air show on both days.  While no balloon rides were offered, their colorful presence still put smiles on faces. The Flying Circus performed its airshow on both days, and this provided the crowd an opportunity to watch precise formation flying along with aerobatic flying demonstrations. The Flying Circus usually hosts air shows every Sunday from May until October, and all events depend on good weather in order to take place.

The atmosphere provided its normal family friendly vibe while still practicing social distancing and other safety measures. Children played in the grass with their airplane toys; dogs were on leashes enjoying the weather, and families enjoyed time together in between the balloon demonstration and the airshow. Attendees had more than enough space to safely spread out in the grass and still have a great view of the aviation action.

For more information about The Flying Circus Aerodrome, follow it on social media or visit its website.

All photos taken by Public Relations Specialist Kim Wells. For more photos visit our Facebook page.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

 FAA Awards Millions to Virginia Airports

Nearly $18.4 million will be shared by five Virginia airports through a Federal Aviation Administration
grant for airport safety and infrastructure. U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced that
405 airports nationwide – to include several U.S. territories – will split a total of $1.2 billion.

“This $1.2 billion federal investment will improve our nation’s airport infrastructure, enhance safety,
and strengthen growth in local communities, which is especially important as the economy recovers
from COVID-19,” said Secretary Chao. The grants are comprised of more than $1 billion from the Airport
Improvement Program (AIP) and $152 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security
(CARES) Act. No state or local funding match is required.

In Virginia the funds will support:
The reconstruction of runway lighting at Tazewell County Airport ($148,000);
Improvements to the terminal building along with the reconstruction of airfield guidance signs, runway
lighting and taxiway lighting at Charlottesville/Albemarle Airport ($606,412);
A runway extension at Virginia Tech/Montgomery Executive Airport ($1,289,417);
Reconstruction of airfield guidance signs, runway lighting and taxiway lighting at Roanoke/Blacksburg
Regional Airport ($4,065,070); and
Reconstruction of a runway at Washington Dulles International Airport ($12,272,026).

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

 ICON A5 Arrives at DOAV to Assist with Aviation Education

The Virginia Department of Aviation partnered with Virginia VSATSLab to purchase an ICON A5 to help introduce more youth to aviation. The ICON A5 is an amphibious light sport aircraft with foldable wings. This particular aircraft that was purchased doesn’t include an engine because it will be used as an educational tool that will provide students with a hands-on approach with the innovative controls.

The Public Relations Team will take the ICON A5 to local schools and events to teach Virginians about aviation. The technology in the ICON is more advanced than what is found in an older aircraft that most will learn how to fly in, and so a simulator using a Cessna aircraft is also part of this education display. The aircraft and simulator will also help support STEM learning as well as inform the students about the variety of careers in aviation.

The ICON A5 and simulator educational display are a unique combination that will help the agency introduce aviation to students for many years to come. The Virginia Department of Aviation is the first in the nation to have an ICON A5 aircraft.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Virginia Ranked #1 in Unmanned Aerial Systems

Virginia is two for two in being #1 for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), according to Business Facilities magazine. The publication’s 16th annual survey was just published and, for the second straight year, Virginia was ranked #1 for UAS.

The ranking comes just days after the public debut of the Virginia Flight Information Exchange pilot project, which is a platform for state and local government agencies to publish and share advisory information with each other, UAS Service Suppliers (USS), unmanned system operators, and the public to promote transparency and public safety. The pilot program will evaluate the benefits of information sharing, inform thoughtful regulation, and demonstrate a state-supported approach to UAS communications and coordination.

The magazine also ranked Virginia #1 in cybersecurity and digital infrastructure. Virginia was ranked second for best business climate; third for workforce development/talent attraction and offshore wind power; and fifth for tech jobs.

Thursday, July 16, 2020


The feeling you get when you drive up the new road and see the new terminal building is surely a wow factor. The building pays a tribute to the history of the airport with the brick layout transitioning into the modern building look detailed with the grey metal.

The terminal is very pilot- and aviation-friendly just like it always has been, but now has more room to accommodate the growing airport. Aviation d├ęcor tells the story of past events, staff, pilots and aircraft. The Virginia Department of Aviation is included on the family wall of photos with a picture that shows Sarah Patton, a local pilot and Potomac TRACON air traffic controller, visiting John Hart and Kim Wells at the DOAV trailer at Sun n’ Fun last year. Very tall windows are placed all around the building for a beautiful view of the active runway. There is even a balcony on the second floor, which provides a perfect location for plane spotting.

Locals stop in to watch the airplanes and talk aviation with the staff, and this helps keep the sense of community in Midland, Virginia, especially during the pandemic. The airport manager, Dave Darrah, is very appreciative of all the sponsors, tenants, traffic and fuel purchases that continue to help the airport and aviation community grow. He looks forward to holding events in this new building in the future.

Photos taken by PR Specialist Kim Wells.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

DOAV Donates Peanuts to Feed More

The Virginia Department of Aviation orders supplies for annual events, but this year things have been very different to say the least. With most events being cancelled so far in 2020, there are a lot of supplies in the warehouse that won’t get used until next year and some will go out of date and need to get thrown away. PR Specialist Kim Wells wanted to be sure that supplies didn’t get wasted and so the idea to donate bags of peanuts, normally distributed at fly-ins, airshows and tradeshows, seemed like the perfect opportunity to provide some relief to those in need right now.
DOAV Director Mark Flynn thought this idea was stellar and was happy to take part in the peanut donation. He helped load up 16 boxes of Virginia peanuts into the agency van and the boxes were dropped off at Feed More in Richmond on June 10, 2020.
Feed More distributes nutritious meals and wholesome food directly to those who need it most. This hunger-relief organization collects, prepares and distributes food to your neighbors in need across 29 counties and five cities in Central Virginia through its programs and Network of Agencies. Their programs are dedicated to providing healthy meals and hope for a better tomorrow to Central Virginians who face hunger.
Visit Feed More to see how you can help.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Celebrate National Transportation Day

     May 21, 2020 the transportation agencies put together some videos and activities to celebrate National Transportation Day. Staff members from the agencies are featured as a reminder of the many jobs that are in the transportation industry.
     During its 2018 session, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation that designates the Thursday before Memorial Day each year as Celebrate Transportation Day in Virginia.
      Check out the web page created by Virginia Department of Transportation: 
Photo from last year when DOAV handed out cupcakes to the airport firefighters as a Thank You for keeping the airport safe.