Amanda Ohlensehlen got a chance to test a dragonfly toy that will be given away during the Fly-In Movie and Family Night on Friday at the Havelock Tourist and Event Center.
“I know I played with it in the office and all of our board members were using it,” said Ohlensehlen, staff director of the Eastern Carolina Aviation Heritage Foundation. “If that’s any indication of how much fun the kids will have, I think we’ll be alright.”
The foundation is hosting its third annual Fly-In beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Friday. The event has a variety of activities and displays especially designed for children
“We’re trying to take that super-complicated jet of today and relate it to a child and explain how you get it off the ground in the first place,” Ohlensehlen said. “There’s that curiosity. There could be a kid who comes to this event, sees something and realizes I can grow up to do that.”
The Fly-In will feature a variety of educational booths, displays and guests. An engine from an AV-8 Harrier will be on display, as will the regular exhibits of the foundation located inside the tourist center. The CH-46 Pedro helicopter will be open for tours, and children can dress in Marine flight gear and have their pictures taken.
Col. Andy Shorter of Cherry Point will be on hand to answer questions about flying and aerodynamics, a meteorologist will discuss weather and its impacts on flying, and remote-control pilots will have a display of aircraft, with demonstrations possible, weather permitting.
The foundation will also have a variety of drawings and give-aways. A family-friendly movie is scheduled to start at 7 p.m., and those attending can bring lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the show.
Admission to the event is free. Concessions will be available for purchase.
“We try to make it a fun outing for a family where they don’t have to spend any money to come out or a lot of money when they’re here,” Ohlensehlen said. “Our hot dogs are only a dollar.”
She said the foundation focuses on providing the children a good time while educating them on the science, technology, mathematics and engineering that goes into aviation.
“That’s our focus, the kids and the future,” she said. “That educational focus is really prevalent right now. It’s outreach and how we can engage students of all ages, from elementary school to college.”
The foundation highlights the history of aviation in North Carolina, starting with the very first flight by the Wright Brothers in 1903 in Kitty Hawk.
“You can see it from Kitty Hawk when aviation started on through to what’s going on now with the F-35 program,” Ohlensehlen said. “It’s mind-blowing some of the technology and how you can even engineer some of these things today. We go from something from somebody laying down on the Wright Flyer with a very small motor and pulling some lines back and forth to what we have going on today with stealth technology and vertical lift. It really is interesting.”
Ohlensehlen said sponsorships are still available for the event.
For more information on the Fly-In or on the Eastern Carolina Aviation Heritage Foundation, contact Ohlensehlen at 444-4348 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or go online to the foundation website at www.ecaviationheritage.com.