Clear skies and high-flying fun at the airport open house
Appeal Staff Writer
The small Extra 300 buzzed through the crowd upside down, eliciting cheers and several nervous looks. The plane’s pilot, Mark Leseberg, manned the controls a short distance away.
The $15,000 miniature plane, a 40-percent scale of the original, has helped Leseberg become the U.S. and World Champion flyer of the International Miniature Aeronautics Club. Saturday he and his plane were putting on shows at the Carson City Airport open house.
Leseberg said that to win the title, he flew routines that were judged on lines and angles as well as precision and presentation.
“It’s a lot like figure skating. There are judges critically watching your routines,” Leseberg, 23, said.
Leseberg has been around aviation since he was 10 years old, starting with miniatures and moving up to full-sized planes. He is a corporate pilot.
The annual event offers the public a chance to see the planes and businesses based at the airport.
“This is my favorite day at the airport every year because the public gets to see what we do. I’m lucky because I get to enjoy it every day,” said Yvon Weaver, airport director.
Weaver said the open house gives the airport a chance to let people see the property they own and remind them that their airport is always accessible to them.
The open house featured live music from the Sierra Express Band and free ice cream and members of the High Sierra Chapter of the 99s, an international society of female pilots.
The Nevada Highway Patrol had one of its three planes on display. The NHP has planes based in Carson City, Las Vegas and Elko. They are used for prisoner transport, traffic pursuit and speed enforcement.
“It’s very beneficial for us. For prisoner transports from Las Vegas to Carson it would take a whole day to drive them up but only a couple of hours for us. You are putting deputies back on the road by using the airplane,” pilot Wes Brown said.
The largest crowd was gathered next to the runway, watching as aircraft of all sizes took to the skies. Andrea and Todd Erickson brought their 2-year-old son, Ari, out to watch takeoffs.
“We came so my son could see all the planes,” Andrea said. “It’s just great. There is definitely a lot of information out here.”
Weaver said one of the focuses of the open house is to get children excited about planes and aviation.
“This gives the kids their first taste of aviation and who knows, maybe we’ll hook one or two.”
• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1217.
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