Wings Over Indy, the free air show at the Indianapolis Executive Airport last weekend, brought thousands of people to the small airfield.

Indianapolis Executive Airport Director of Marketing Corrie Bennett said this year’s event was their biggest and best yet, bringing in around 12,000 people and raising more than $20,000 for Down Syndrome Indiana.

“Everything went off without a hitch,” Bennett said. “... We’re very happy with the way the event went.”

Bennett said the event is a great “open house” event that also raises money for a good cause.

In the morning, before the aviation kerosene started burning, a pancake breakfast was held, looking out at the many airplanes on the tarmac. After breakfast, a kids’ zone and exhibition opened up with model plane enthusiasts and different agencies including multiple service branches and local police and fire departments.

Throughout the day, multiple pilots took to the skies to show off their skills and, of course, their planes.

Near the kids’ zone, halfway through the day was a helicopter candy drop. After the helicopter made its way around the field, children took to the grass, snatching all the candy they could.

Tod Payne, a model plane enthusiast and member of the Northeast Side Taildraggers, was displaying his model airplanes that he flies at an RC airstrip in Noblesville.

“Like any hobby, you can spend as little or as much as you want,” Payne said as he toyed with the rudders and flaps one of his RC planes. “This one is just a starter plane. I only spent about $50 on it.”

Other aviation enthusiasts like Brad Moore, from the Young Eagles, spend a little more on their hobby. The Young Eagles is a program for children between the ages of 8 to 17, giving them an opportunity to experience flight in a general aviation airplane while educating them about aviation. The program is offered free of charge with costs covered by the volunteers.

”I’ve flown over 200 Young Eagles,” Moore said.

Moore enjoys coming to air shows because he’s able to spread the message about the Young Eagles program to more people to get them interested in aviation.

Hal Blank from Grace on Wings was also at the air show. Blank is a pilot for Grace on Wings, a non-profit that provides private air transport for people who may be far from their home or family, and who need help getting to and from medical facilities.

Since 2006, Grace on Wings has provided almost 700 flights, all of which come to no cost to the family.

”We take people that a lot of other companies deny or won’t take,” Blank said. “These events are great because we get to spread our message and get our service out there.”

Blank said they give the gift of healthcare through flight.

“We saw so many families, veterans, people from all over the place just out just enjoying all of it and enjoying the air show and all the educational exhibitors, all the aviation exhibitors,” Bennett said. “It’s very rewarding for our team because we put a lot of work and effort and love into this event and to see people excited about aviation was exactly what we wanted to do for the community.”

Save the same general date for next year, Bennett said, as they are already making plans for next year’s event.

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