Aviation Enthusiasts Enjoy Annual Fly-In at Redlands Municipal Airport

Ian Stewart has never known what it is like to fly, but he plans to find out.

That is why the Loma Linda University Medical Center student came to the Redlands Municipal Airport's fourth annual spring fly-in and open house on Saturday.

"It's always been something I wanted to get into, just to be able to fly by myself," Stewart said, adding that he has friends who are pilots.

Redlands Municipal Airport is home to M.Y. Air Flight School. The fly-in and open house event was hosted by the City of Redlands and the Experimental Aircraft Association.

Elaborate flight demonstrations involving small airplanes and remote controlled model airplanes were part of the event. Numerous small vintage airplanes were on display adjacent to the runway.

Those in attendance were able to ride in a small airplane for a fee of $25 and in a helicopter for a fee of $20.

Redlands Municipal Airport is overlooked in its community, said Jim Ott, manager of Redlands Aviation, which provides hangars and fuel at the facility.

"A lot of people in the city don't fly, so they don't know about the airport," Ott said. "They've got a viable asset out here that they could utilize."

At least 10 helicopters used in local firefighting efforts are based at the airport. Other helicopters at the airport can be used for emergency medical situations. Redlands Municipal Airport also aids in the transportation of business executives in and out of Redlands.

"It helps build businesses in the city of Redlands," Ott said.

The airport is becoming increasingly able to support itself financially, Ott added.

Brian Holohan, president of the Experimental Aircraft Association's Chapter 845 and a Redlands resident, would also like to increase awareness of the airport in the community.

"We want to be good neighbors to the city," Holohan said. "The whole idea is to get people to say, `I've never been here before. This is pretty cool."'

Ken Morse, a teacher at Redlands High School, has frequently wondered what went on at the airport.

"I've always kind of wondered what happens here at the airport and I'm actually quite surprised," the Redlands resident said. "You can just see how much people really enjoy what's going on here and that's kind of nice to see."

Mike Montgomery, a Rancho Cucamonga resident and the owner of construction company Rancho Pacific, was willing to travel the distance to Redlands for the event.

"I enjoy aviation and I always wanted to be a part of the local community here," Montgomery said. His Extra 300L and Citation jet were among the airplanes displayed at the airport.

The airport's small size appealed to Dan Hall, a business manager for Mitsubishi Electronics in Irvine, who flew his 1947 Ercoupe airplane to the event from Chino Airport.

"It's a nice place to visit," the Aliso Viejo resident said. "You don't have as much traffic as larger airports. I think the way most people would describe it would be `small, plane friendly.' It's also nice because you can fly into the airport without flying too low over the homes unlike larger airports."

Retiree David Blythe has been familiar with Redlands Municipal Airport for 50 years. Blythe, the owner of a Beechcraft Bonanza S-35 on display at the event, has flown various airplanes at the facility since 1957.

There is a noticeable sense of community at Redlands Municipal Airport, Blythe said.

"I like the airport," Blythe said. "A lot of good people come to the airport. I really enjoy the people. A lot of people I know have airplanes and they're just very nice people."

Flying enthusiasts like Richard Aguilar, owner of Aero Apothecary in Loma Linda, and his family came to the event not only to view the airplanes but to "enjoy the aviation community and say hello to different people."

The Highland resident owns a Mooney airplane occupying a hangar at Redlands Municipal Airport.

Tom Barber, an aeronautical engineer for Panasonic in Lake Forest, did not come to the fly-in and open house simply for the airplanes.

The Aviation Fellowship representative and Rancho Santa Margarita resident sold Bibles at one of the airport's vending stands.

"It's a nice community airport and people seem friendly," the licensed pilot said. "It gives you the feeling of a small town airport."



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