Hundreds of aviation enthusiasts are expected to flock to the Anoka County-Blaine airport this weekend for a regional fly-in.
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the largest aviation association in the world, is hosting a regional event at the north metro airport Friday and Saturday.
Residents interested in learning more about piloting, owning an aircraft and aviation are invited to the event.
A Friday night dinner and aerobatic performance by air show performer John Klatt at nearby Surfside Seaplane Base in Lino Lakes will kick off the two-day festivities. The Lino Lakes seaplane base will host AOPA’s first fly-in event to feature seaplanes or floatplanes.
“Floatplane rides are something that will be offered by Adventure Seaplanes — and that’s going to be a real treat for pilots who haven’t been exposed to that kind of flying,” Mark Baker, AOPA president, said in a written statement.
Last year, the association transitioned from one major summit each year into a series of seven smaller regional events across the country. Attendance for each regional fly-in last year averaged about 2,500 people, 450 aircraft and 900 automobiles, according to AOPA’s website.
Saturday’s schedule includes a pancake breakfast, a lunch and a variety of aircraft displays, exhibits, and aviation safety seminars. The event will end with a “Pilot Town Hall” with Baker and an ice cream social.
Baker, who owns a hangar in Blaine, learned to fly at the airport while a student at the University of Minnesota in the late 1970s. “I’ve got a personal affinity for the place, but it’s also a great location for this event in its own right,” Baker said.
Hangar doors will open to showcase some of the airport’s unusual planes, including rare finds from the 1920s and 1930s that will be shown at Golden Wings Flying Museum.
The fly-in will highlight the airport’s busiest summer since 2013. May was its busiest month, with about 9,400 landings and takeoffs. In July, there were more than 9,300.
Residents near the airport can expect most of the landings to occur between noon and 8 p.m. Friday and between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. Saturday. The majority of the attendees are expected to take off after 4 p.m. Saturday.