Observations Following the 2017 Virginia Festival of Flight:
The weather was windy at times, low ceilings, a few drizzles, but VFR doable all day.
The attendance numbers were fair for an event that has been resurrected after a three-year absence. Fair is not acceptable, but a start. The number of aircraft that flew in was impressive for a fly-in, but less than hoped for in a Festival of Flight.
Great, great, great volunteers made such a difference. The Civil Air Patrol was on the move all day. Fantastic presentations had varying attendance numbers and obstacles given a last minute unanticipated decision to move to tents outside. Presenters were great, flexible, and well appreciated. The Mooney Formation Group delivered as promised and the crowd responded with awe and fascination.
We successfully demonstrated that drones and aircraft can co-exist and educated the audience on varying flight opportunities. A nice collection of aerospace organizations provided multiple perspectives and focus opportunities for attendees. The Virginia Department of Aviation’s presence continues to be a popular destination to learn about all that Flying in Virginia offers. As such, many children were afforded their first flying experience thanks to the EAA Young Eagles program and pilots from 3+ Virginia chapters.
Partnering with the Suffolk Peanut Festival was a positive experience, but probably not the best dating scenario. The two events ran side by side with minimal overlap and sharing of attendees. The City of Suffolk is the best to work with: friendly, helpful, courteous, supportive, and appreciative. The people at the Suffolk Executive Airport are to die for. Beyond reason, they were always there and ready to jump in and help.
Now, all we need to do is figure out how to increase the number of attendees, vendor participation, sponsors, the festival offerings, and arriving aircraft numbers. Later this month, the Virginia Aviation Council will meet to debrief, reflect, and decide what comes next. Please feel free to share any observations, suggestions, and comments with firstname.lastname@example.org. More to follow.
The Virginia Aviation Council is pleased to present, in conjunction with the Suffolk Peanut Festival, the Virginia Festival of Flight and Fly-In on Saturday October 7, 2017 at the Suffolk Executive Airport (KSFQ).
This event promises to be the most exciting yet. This is Virginia’s only statewide aerospace event of its kind, accomplished through: fantastic opportunities to attract youth and adults to all aspects of the field of aviation; informing attendees of a full range of aviation careers; providing details of ownership; discussing legal parameters; and sharing the many recreation adventures available.
The one day Festival has activities, presentations, vendors and demonstrations focusing on current pilots and aviation wannabees. The day’s schedule is guaranteed to excite all in attendance. Pilots who are always learning should check the schedule for one FAA Wings Seminar and one ASI Safety Seminar.
Together, the combination of these two festivals creates a family atmosphere of excitement, entertainment, education, and experiences.
Check out Suffolk’s weather for the festival weekend as we get closer.