BELFAST, Maine — Just about every day, planes fly in and out of the Belfast Municipal Airport, which local officials believe to be an important part of the area economy — even though many might not know it even exists.
That’s why Duke Tomlin of the Belfast Experimental Aircraft Association is really hoping for a big turnout for the airport’s first-ever open house and fly-in, which will be held 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19.
“There’s a lot of people in Belfast who don’t know there’s an airport,” he said. “Our idea was to get the public up to the airport. The Belfast airport is small, it has a hometown feel to it, and it’s not congested. It’s underutilized.”
He said the event will feature home-built airplanes, helicopter rides and pilots who have flown in from around New England to participate. There will be food trucks, a $5 breakfast and other vendors. Fly-ins are similar to car or motorcycle shows, he said, and are fun ways for people who share the same interest in aviation to get together and compare notes.
“I’ve always been interested in flying. I started flying just after I graduated from high school,” Tomlin said. “Flying around Belfast is absolutely beautiful. We wanted to bring other pilots up here to let them experience how beautiful it is.”
The family-friendly fly-in will include the unveiling of an aviation mural by local artists Dave Hurley and Russell Kahn, displays by various aviation public service organizations, and the chance to learn about how to become a pilot and how to build your own airplane.
“It should be a nice day, with lots of interesting things to see,” Tomlin said.
The rain date for the event is Sunday, Sept. 20, and the Belfast Municipal Airport is located at Little River Drive in Belfast.