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Aviation festival at FedEx hanger in Anchorage may attract thousands

A plane in the Iditarod AIr Force flies toward the Rohn checkpoint during the 1,000-mile sled-dog race across Alaska. Courtesy: Iditarod Air Force

The Alaska Airmen’s Association’s Great Alaska Aviation Gathering has signed up more than 275 exhibitors for this year’s event and everyone with an interest in aviation is encouraged to attend.

Scheduled for the weekend of May 4-5 at the FedEx Maintenance hangar at Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage, the annual event is an opportunity for industry representatives, pilots, mechanics and others (it’s open to all ages) to come out and see aircraft, make connections and sit in on lectures.

University of Alaska archivist Dirk Tordoff will present a talk on “Celebrating a Centennial of Flight in Alaska”, Melissa Rudinger of the Aircraft Owner’s and Pilot’s Association will update visitors on latest legislative happenings in Washington D.C. important to Alaskans. And for readers who were interested in my recent blog post about SPOT and Spider Tracks, there is a scheduled presentation on “How Flight Service Has Embraced New Satellite Tracking Technology”.

Exhibiters include Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, the Aviation Department of Central Washington University, the UAA Aviation Department, the Alaska Chapter of the Ninety-Nines (the international organization of women pilots), Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft, technology companies Garmin and Spider Tracks and a host of parts suppliers, state and federal agencies and many more.

There will also be more than 70 indoor and outdoor static aircraft displays including a vintage Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero used in World War II and a restored 1931 Fairchild American Pilgrim from the Anchorage Aviation Museum. UPS and FedEx will have also aircraft open for tours and there will be flight demonstrations by local pilots.

The Alaska Airmen’s Association will continue its tradition of giving away an aircraft at the end of the gathering; raffle tickets are available now to win a 2007 Aviat Husky A1B, 180HP on Wipaire Amphibs, donated by Alaska Airmen’s Association member Marsh Carter. A second prizewinner will receive a set of 31-inch Alaskan Bushwheels.

There is no charge to attend the Great Alaska Aviation Gathering. For more information (and to purchase raffle tickets), check the event website here