Aviation Museum of New Hampshire’s Third Annual Fly-In
The Aviation Museum of New Hampshire, located on the east side of the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, held its third annual Fly-In, featuring experimental and home-built aircraft. Antique, Vintage, warbird and more recent production aircraft were invited too. The one-day presentation, held on Saturday July 8, 2017 brought close to a score of aircraft to the parking and viewing area, where planes were tugged, pushed and pulled into the static display. Planes came and went throughout the morning and early afternoon, which ended as a heavy thundershower moved across the airport right around closing time.
Besides the aircraft fly-in activity, the main Museum building was open to all, containing its normally informative displays and a series of educational seminars, including a hands-on chance to learn about aircraft riveting. Arts and crafts for the youngest generations were available too.
In the side parking lot adjacent to the museum building, a partially finished Tiger Cub kit aircraft was parked, with its owner Jim answering questions. Although he doesn’t have a pilot’s license yet, Jim is working towards that authorization as well as completing the experimental-class aircraft that he can fly, hopefully they’ll both be airworthy around the same time.
With the static fly-in display area situated next to the active runway in use, there were many young families camped out against the barriers, awaiting jetliners and subsequent Fly-In aircraft to arrive and depart. Watching airplanes at the airport used to be a favorite pastime for me when I was young, and you could see the same enthusiasm in many of the assembled kid’s (and adult’s) eyes. The event allowed imaginations to run wild as non-aviators hardly ever get so close to a private plane, whether it is parked, or operating from the airport.
Speaking with the Museum’s busy Executive Director Jessica Pappathan, there are plenty of activities happening around the facility and beyond. Past and present Aviation Education programs for high schoolers have been well received, and a soon-to-be inaugurated junior high school program is in the works. A main goal in these programs is to foster interest in aviation trades and careers. Donations to the museum are healthy; there are more aircraft in storage due to lack of space in the current facility. There are long range plans for additional space to display these and more memorabilia, but the educational programs and events such as the Fly-In are near-term priorities.
New Hampshire isn’t the largest state by far, but it does have a lot of interesting and important aviation history. The Aviation Museum of New Hampshire provides windows to that aeronautical past, as well as opening doors to the future through its educational outreach programs. July’s Fly-In was a good opportunity for the past, present and future of New Hampshire aviation to gather at Manchester’s airport.