By Regina Elling
If you looking for a fun way to spend a Saturday, you can hardly do better than the Ramona Airport Open House on Sept. 22.
Vintage aircraft, firefighting air tankers, formation flying, helicopters, experimental aircraft, tours, and even a
chance to meet one of the original Tuskegee Airmen and Smokey Bear are all part of the excitement planned.
Ramona Airport co-managers George Watson and Rachel Carter agree that this year’s event will be “unique and fun.”
“Our special guest this year is Captain Claude Rowe, one of the Tuskegee Airmen pilots,” said Watson. “And we may also have another one of the Tuskegee Airmen on hand as well.”
As the immediate past president of the San Diego Chapter of the Tuskegee Airman, Watson said that having the men here presents a unique opportunity for area youth.
“It’s a great chance for the younger kids to meet these people. The men will be answering questions and signing autographs, and guests will be able to buy their books and other merchandise,” he said.
For those wanting to show up early, the day will begin with a pancake breakfast put on by Los Amigos at 7 a.m. At noon, the same company will host a Mexican Fiesta lunch.
Throughout the day, there will be plenty to see in the skies above the runway.
“A formation flying clinic will be held on Saturday, so there will be lots of warbirds in the skies and on the ground,” said Carter. “I’m going to broadcast the tower frequency, so people can hear the communication between the air traffic controllers and flyers. It will be really neat, and people will get a chance to hear what is being said by the planes flying overhead.”
Chuck Hall of Chuck Hall Aviation at the airport has promised to do a couple of fly-bys for the crowd.
The public can also see for themselves the many different facets of the airport.
“Most of the local aviation businesses will be open, and guests can meet the owners,” said Carter. “Sheriff’s Copter 10 will be on hand for a tour and plans to hold a rescue demonstration about 10 a.m. “There will also be tours available of the Cal Fire air tankers and the airport traffic control towers.”
In addition, U.S. Forest Service and Classic Rotors will host tours throughout the day.
From vintage fighter planes to experimental aircraft and even big rig trucks, there will be no shortage of “eye
candy” for those who love aircraft and big trucks. “We want everyone to come out to the airport and have fun,” said Carter. “This is the first year the event has been held since Bo Donovan’s passing, and we really want to make him proud.”
Donovan, airport manager for the past six years, died on April 24 after a brief illness.
Ramona Airport Open House hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Admission and parking are free. The airport is at 2926 Montecito Road.
For more information, call 760-788-3366.