Locals take off on Ashland Airport Day

ASHLAND, Ore.– Hundreds came out to enjoy the beautiful weather for Ashland Airport Day along with the assortment of helicopters, planes and furry friends available throughout the day.

From 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., residents were given free admission to the Ashland Municipal Airport and for a little extra cost, a chance to ride in one of several helicopters and planes like a Cessna 172.

A variety of shows involving skydivers, flying drones and helicopter rescue demonstrations were set up throughout the day to entertain both children and adults alike.

While the helicopter and plane rides may not have been for everyone, those that did get a chance to fly had a great time.

“It was amazing. You know, there was a little bit of jitters at first but once you get up there, it’s just smooth sailing,” said Steven Alexander. A resident of Kansas City, Alexander came to Ashland to visit family who recommended he come out to the event. For him, the helicopter ride was the best part.

“Till we got to the cliffs and he took us around the end and we flew straight down – it felt like there was no gravity. It was awesome,” he said.

Other attendees who went on the plane rides were treated to a glimpse of the Rogue Valley from a different point of view. Plane rides took passengers over Emigrant Lake and Ashland and all the way out to Phoenix, getting shots of Mt. Shasta and Mt. McLoughlin normally unseen from the valley floor.

“First of all it was a perfect day, just a beautiful day, ” said Peter Kirkpatrick, a local. “Being able to look down at the general environment and see Emigrant Lake from above and fly up to Medford to take a look. Seeing the SOU campus – was interesting to see.”

Kirkpatrick said that while he was flying over Emigrant Lake he was able to see his house, much to his own humor.

According to officials the Ashland Airport Day has been going on a little over two decades. While not an annual event since budgets weren’t always attainable to put on the show, the past several years have been some of their best yet, according to one official.

For others like the on-site manager Robert Skinner, who runs Skinner Aviation at the airport, this event is one of his favorites. It’s a great way, he says, to give back to the community and let others put their heads in the clouds.

“You know, I like getting the community involved. I like people to come out and see what we are and what we consist of,” he said. “The rides for the helicopters and the airplanes and we love to see the smiles of peoples faces when they get out.”

With about 10 different groups ranging from the Ashland High School Robotics Team to emergency personnel like Ashland Police Department and Ashland Fire and Rescue, there were plenty of things to do along with checking out all of the planes.

Rescue Ranch also made a visit bringing some of it’s furry friends along to keep people company and hopefully, find a forever home. Community members NBC5 News spoke with said they’re happy to see this tradition continue.

“I think it’s a great thing that the airport does,” said Kirkpatrick. “To let us come over here and for 35 bucks go and take a trip. I mean, that’s a great opportunity.”

Officials expect the Ashland Airport Day to return again next year around the same time.

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