Minn. Wing 'Aerospace Fling' Shares Wonder of Aviation with 400+
A wide range of aviation-related exhibits and activities, ranging from flight simulators to a hot-air balloon and helicopters to vintage warbirds, greeted more than 400 Civil Air Patrol members, families, friends, and prospective members visiting the Great Minnesota Wing Aerospace Fling at Fleming Field in South St. Paul on May 28.
The multifaceted event featured an array of aircraft on display, including a Cirrus Vision Jet, a Beechcraft King Air turboprop, a Robinson R-44 helicopter, a Stearman biplane, a hot-air balloon, a Blanik Glider and a Yak 55 aerobatic plane. Pilots provided briefings to cadets, who were able to explore the interiors of most of the aircraft.
One highlight was an aerial helicopter rescue demonstration by the Minnesota State Patrol and the Minnesota Air Rescue Team. A rescuer rappelled down a rope from a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter onto the ground, then connected to the “victim,” after which both were flown off, dangling 50 feet below the chopper.
Local squadrons provided numerous exhibits inside the hangar. A dozen flight simulators were available throughout the day, featuring a four-screen tournament pitting pilots against each other. Interactive exhibits included air pressure experiments, a soaring simulator, ADS-B and radar, rocketry, radio-controlled aircraft, drones, hovercraft rides, and aerial photography.
Outside, a briefing on hot-air ballooning featured an opportunity for cadets to fire the 32-million-BTU burners for the balloon on display.
First Lt. Jeff Rosenthal, aerospace education officer for the 130th Composite Squadron, then performed a demonstration with a rocket in a stand, launching a rocket-powered car along a 50-foot wire to the delight of the crowd.
Anoka County Radio Control Club members discussed remote control flying and performed engine runups with several large models.
Visitors also had access to the Commemorative Air Force Museum across the ramp, where they explored a World War II B-25 bomber, numerous other warbirds, and war memorabilia.
Maj. Jim Zurales
Assistant Aerospace Education Officer