Kids will take to the air this weekend in Silver Springs as the 13th annual Lyon County Fly-In keeps the focus on youth.
The event's theme this year is "Kids in Aviation" and Sky Sarosi, Silver Springs Airport operations manager, said you're never too young to experience flying.
"Flying compared to driving is a big responsibility," he said. "It builds character, gives a sense of freedom, a sense of responsibility. In aviation a career can take off, kids may want to be a pilot, aircraft mechanic or possibly join the military."
Sarosi is involved with Young Eagles, a youth flying club that gives kids a chance to fly the friendly skies.
"It's a program that pilots donate planes and time," he said. "We give them their first flight in an aircraft with the hopes of promoting aviation in their lives."
The weekend will be full of events, including fly-bys, rocket displays, model planes, private, military, antique planes and a search-and-rescue demonstration by NAS Fallon Search and Rescue.
A pancake breakfast is 7-10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. The breakfast is free for pilots that fly into the airport.
Spectators get to view planes up close. Feel free to lounge in a lawn chair to view the action in the sky, but coolers are not welcome. There are vendors aplenty available at the event.
Sarosi said the fly-in has always focused on youth.
"It's something we instituted in the event from the beginning," he said. "It's always been there, but we've trying to give it a little more push this year."
Each pilot will take two to four kids up, depending on what their plane holds, Sarosi said, and some may get more than a free ride.
"If you're one of the lucky kids that gets to fly right seat, the pilot might give them control in straight-level flight, just to give them a feel," he said. "Some are up for the enjoyment of the ride and to learn some aerodynamics."
He said pilots are available to answer questions when they come back down.
Sarosi said a lot of parents who are pilots or involved in aviation get their kids involved in elementary school.
"Eight is a good age, because they have the intelligence to pick up on things," he said. "You're never too young and you're never too old to learn."
If any child is uncomfortable, or gets scared while in the air, he said, the pilot will bring them right back down. But that situation is a rarity.
"The kids are excited," he said. "We have no fear when we're kids. Most are so darn excited."
Sarosi has been there since the beginning for the air show, which started at Tiger Field in Fernley and later moved to Silver Springs.
"I do a lot of other shows as well," he said.
He doesn't own a plane, but his dad was a World War II fighter pilot, and he grew up near Edwards Air Force Base in California.
"I just love planes," he said.
At the Fly-in, visitors can expect all different kinds of aircraft to fly in.
"We have flyovers, vendors, biplane rides going on," he said. "It stays pretty busy. There's lots of activities up here and we give parents and kids a chance to get close to the airplane.
"It's like a mini Hot August Nights for airplanes," he said.
Sarosi said there were Young Eagles chapters elsewhere, but the Silver Springs event has fliers mostly from the local area, Carson City and California. There are also more flying events, in Carson City and Stead.
This is promoter Maxine Nietz's company's fourth time staging the Fly-In.
"It's definitely getting bigger, and people's interest in the Young Eagles program is growing," she said. "We flew about 100 kids last year, and 80 the year before."
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at email@example.com or call 881-7351.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Lyon County Fly-In
WHEN: 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday
WHERE: Silver Springs Airport, 1 mile west of Highway 50 and Highway 95A intersection
COST: $5 per car, per day; buses, $2 per person
ON THE NET
Saturday and Sunday
7-10:30 a.m. - Aircraft arrivals, pancake breakfast
8 a.m.-3 p.m. - EAA Young Eagles Program (Ages 8-17 First Flight)
10 a.m. - Opening Ceremonies
8 a.m.-3 p.m. - Flight Activities - Demos, Fly-Bys, Rocket Displays, Antique & Military Planes, Model Planes, Kids Games, including Kite Flying, Coloring, Balsa Planes, Bounce House, Climbing Wall and more...
8 a.m.-3 p.m. - Dayton Valley Car Club Wings & Wheels
3 p.m. - Aircraft Departures and Fly-Bys
Old & Dirty - Gretchen Wood & Stan Sanchez
Worms in Utero - William Hoffnecht
Mary Jane's Rocket - Rich Rock
Speakermeat - Rich Rock
Old & Dirty - Gretchen Wood & Stan Sanchez
High School Menagerie
The Swain Brothers