Fly In, Drive In: Annual Airport Event
What kid doesn’t like airplanes? In fact, most young people would love to have the opportunity to check out these marvelous flying machines up close, maybe step into the cockpit and check out the instrument panel.
Well this Saturday, kids young and old, will have the chance to do just that at the Leadville/Lake County Airport’s 5th Annual Fall Colors Fly-In/Drive-In Pancake Breakfast . On Saturday, September 20 from 8 – 10:30 a.m. over 100 planes from around the region, will be flying into the local airport for a good breakfast , fabulous fall colors and the love of aircrafts.
In additional to small planes and jets being on display, the airport staff, as well as the crew from the Lake County Public Works Department, will be serving up a hearty breakfast for $6/per person. And this year, to encourage more kids to come up to the event, children under 12 will eat for free. If you haven’t been up to the Leadville-Lake County Airport in a while, this is a great morning to head up and check out all the incredible improvements going on at this county facility; you won’t be disappointed.
To that end, Leadville Today recently sat down with Airport Manager Mike Huemann to find out how the summer went and what’s next for North America’s Highest Airport.
“It’s been a good summer,” stated Huemann, indicating that business has increased since the recent renovations and the airport’s marketing measures to promote the regional facility as a high-altitude testing place.
“We had Sikorsky out here for a while this summer. The group stayed in town and really enjoyed Leadville,” said Huemann, emphasizing the local economic benefits this international aircraft corporation provides. For those who might not be familiar, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of military and commercial helicopters.
Another notable company who was doing some high-altitude testing is The Eurocopter Group, a global helicopter manufacturing and support company.
“The France division was here this year (Germany, last year) testing a prototype for a new engine as well as high-altitude performance operations,” adds Huemann.
Erickson Air-Crane conducts high altitude testing in Leadville
So what’s on the planning block, what’s up next for the Leadville/Lake County Airport?
One of the next steps is bringing everything together in one central area and bringing things into compliance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. That includes moving the fuel tanks up closer to the office. At present, they sit further south, near the old office hanger, down by the runway. In anticipation of that, the facility has paving operations underway that include the east parking lot and area to the south of the new office building, where the fuel tanks will be re-located.
“We’re also working on getting funding secured for a new hanger. We’ve received a 400,000 grant from the (Colorado Department of Transportation) Aeronautics Division, and now need to come up with another $200,000,” stated Huemann.The airport plans to relocate these fuel tanks closer to the new office and secure additional funding for the replacement of the “old blue hanger.”
A new hanger would replace the current blue hanger, which is in violation of FAA regulations. At present, the airport is looking to the county for that balance for the project, however Huemann emphasized that the airport staff and board “are motivated to find funding from other sources, if it doesn’t come from the local budget. We want to keep that $400,000; if we don’t get the other funds, that money goes away. “
But no matter what the future holds, the present airport, with all the upgrades and improvements, is flyin’ high! Come up and see for yourself this Saturday.
Ever wonder what it would be like to fly over Lake County and see the Fall Colors from the air? Well, here’s a video Leadville Today took during the Annual Fly-In/Drive-In back in 2011. What an awesome ride!
Birdseye View of Aspens Over Twin Lakes