Plane rides and fun activities planned at airport

The public will have the opportunity to enjoy views of Seymour from the air during the Freeman Army Airfield Museum’s annual Airplane Ride Day.

The event, set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, will give adults, children and families a chance to ride in planes with pilots who will fly them over the city.

A tax-deductible donation of $20 per person will be accepted with proceeds benefiting the museum. The airplane rides will be across the street from the museum, 1035 A Ave., at the big white tent.

The event is popular for children, and the pilots can even help them locate their house from the air during the flight.

Waivers from each passenger are required to be signed before every ride. Those under 18 must have a parent or guardian sign for them. Reservations are not necessary.

Museum curator Larry Bothe said there will be 12 pilots among seven planes for rides. Each pilot has at least 500 hours of flight time as required by the Federal Aviation Administration.

“Most of the pilots have over 1,000 hours of experience,” he said. “Also, most of the planes have four seats, so pilots can only take three passengers at a time.”

The weight limit for any one passenger is about 250 pounds, and the combined weight of the three passengers cannot exceed 450 pounds, Bothe said.

“There will also be 23 ground volunteers helping because you also have to maintain safety on the ground, not just safety in the air,” he said. “About two-thirds of the people here for the event are kids, and sometimes, they run around unsupervised, so we need to maintain their safety.”

Passengers will be escorted to and from the planes for added safety by volunteers called loaders.

The Seymour Fire Department will be sending out a firetruck to have onsite along with a couple firefighters who also are emergency medical technicians in case someone should need emergency help.

“A couple members of the Seymour Police Department will also be out here,” Bothe said. “We’ve asked them to bring their indestructible tactical vehicle that looks like a tank, and the kids love it.”

Attendees will be able to ride in the Robinson Aerobatic 500 horsepower Steamin Stearman biplane for an additional fee. Prices are $120 for a mild ride and $150 for a wild ride. One person at a time can participate in this plane ride.

A glider and other airplanes and military vehicles also will be on display at the airport during Saturday’s event, and food and drinks will be available for purchase.

While attending Airplane Ride Day, the public also may tour the museum’s two buildings for free. They include items from when the Freeman Army Airfield was in operation.

There are two rooms of history when the area operated as a training base for pilots to fly twin-engine advance aircraft during World War II.

The airfield was primarily built to train pilots for twin engine advanced aircraft including some of the Tuskegee Airmen, between 1942 and 1945. The airfield graduated 4,237 pilots between 19 graduating classes.

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What: Freeman Army Airfield Museum’s Airplane Ride Day

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Airplane rides will be across the street from the Freeman Army Airfield Museum, 1035 A Ave., Seymour, at the big white tent.

Cost: Airplane rides for a $20 tax-deductible donation per person; an additional fee is required for the aerobatic biplane ride (mild ride $120 and wild ride $150); food and drinks will be available for purchase

Free activities: Tours of the Freeman Army Airfield Museum and a display of gliders, airplanes and military vehicles

Information: Larry Bothe at 812-521-7400