By Peggy Sanders
HOT SPRINGS -- Hey kids! Do you want to take a ride in a small airplane for free? Your chance is coming up on Saturday, June 2 at the Hot Springs Municipal Airport. The first 20 students ages 8 through 14 to sign up for the mid- morning flights will be the lucky passengers. A flour drop competition will make this even more exciting. There will be prizes for this activity with first place being a free airplane ride for two passengers over Mt. Rushmore and the Black Hills. That would truly be a grand prize.
The airport advisory board has spent days planning this event to get families out and around the airport with activities for all ages. Everything you will need for a family day at the airport will be available. Area 4-H clubs will serve a hot breakfast beginning at 7 a.m. and the Hot Springs Lions Club takes over food service with lunch starting at 10:30. Prices will range from $5 - $6 for meals.
A registration table will have release forms for parents to sign before airplane rides can be given. For those up bright and early, tethered balloon rides will be available from 5:15 a.m. until 8 a.m. for all ages. There is no set fee and donations are encouraged. These balloons will also be part of the Aug. 25-26 Fall River Hot Air Balloon Festival which will be held at this same airport. Take a ride and see what if feels like up in the air. You may be intrigued enough to inquire about becoming a ground crew member for local balloonists.
Civil Air Patrol officers and cadets will be manning displays to give attendees an idea of what the CAP does, how it trains and why it can help law enforcement and other emergency services when situations arise. CAP is a public service organization made up of citizen pilots and trained ground crews and is a uniformed-wearing auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. Youth can join the ranks of CAP cadets at age 12 as they learn about aviation and additional vital subjects.
Have you driven by the airport when there were planes towing gliders, flying around and then releasing the gliders? For those interested in participating, glider rides, for a fee, will be offered.
Maybe you are a little more daring and would like to sky dive in a tandem jump. You can contact www.skydivehotsprings.com for details. Upfront you need to know this activity is only for those over 18 years of age and weighing no more than 210 pounds. There is no leeway on either of these rules.
For those who want to experience the idea of flight but not leave the ground, South Dakota State University will bring a flight simulator. This allows you to sit in the simulated cockpit where you can have the sensation of a pilot’s point of view.
The last event of the day will be when pilots show their skills by short take off and landing demonstrations. Passengers are restricted from flying on their excursions.
To learn the latest updates, check the Hot Springs Municipal Airport page on Facebook first or call Ed Jensen, airport manager at 605-890-6479, if further information is needed.
Peggy Sanders/Fall River County Herald
This balloon, participating in a recent function at Prairie View United Methodist, shows that even a tethered flight gives passengers a good idea of what it would be like to fly. The ropes are tightly secured to the pickups to keep the balloon from traveling.