Earth and Sky will converge this weekend in Middletown, Ohio.
That’s when Aeronca airplanes and enthusiasts from all over North America will return to the hallowed ground of Middletown Regional Airport/Hook Field for the 19th Biannual National Aeronca Association Convention and Fly-In. The event takes place Friday through Sunday, June 15-17.
The relationship between the local airport and Aeronca planes began in the early 1940’s, when plane manufacturer, the Aeronautical Corporation of America (later shortened to Aeronca), left its flooded headquarters near the swollen Ohio River in Cincinnati for a more accommodating location next door to the Middletown, Ohio, airport.
It was the start of a perfect relationship that’s still celebrated today.
And celebrate they will.
The Aeronca Fly-In of original, restored and new Aeronca planes will take place at the Middletown airport, still adjacent to the former Aeronca manufacturing plant. Today the company is known as Magellan Aerospace. A tour of the plant is on the Fly-In agenda.
Just like a family reunion, the Fly-In is the place for pilots and Aeronca enthusiasts to meet, greet, dine, take tours, snap photos and listen to guest speakers, all the while basking in a shared fondness of the colorful aircraft that put Middletown, Ohio, on the small plane aviation map. A panoramic photo of the planes is also on the agenda.
This year’s special guests include Susan Dusenbury, Director of the Vintage Aircraft Association; Bill Pancake, aviation restoration expert; and the Aeronca Gliders with Craig MacVeigh, registered owner of CG-1, the first Aeronca glider to be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
A banquet at the American Legion Post 218 Hall on South Main Street will conclude the event on Saturday evening.
Attendees aren’t the only ones who enjoy the Fly-In. In what has become a biannual summer tradition, members of the public find just the right spots around town to watch the “Aeroncas” arrive and depart.
This year’s assortment of visiting aircraft is expected to include Aeroncas built between 1928 and 1940 in Cincinnati, 1940 and 1951 in Middletown, and those built later by companies such as Champion Aircraft Corporation, which in 1954 purchased the rights to Aeronca’s Model 7 Champion airplanes and returned them to production.
So grab a lawn chair and binoculars and feast your eyes on Middletown skies and aviation history this weekend!
A pictorial exhibit celebrating Middletown, Ohio’s 78-year relationship with the aviation/aerospace industry will be available for viewing through September at MidPointe Library, Middletown. A companion exhibit on the library’s interactive touchscreen accompanies the exhibit.
The exhibits highlight the history of Aeronca, a longtime Middletown employer now known as Magellan Aerospace. They also recall the vital role that nearby Middletown Regional Airport/Hook Field played in local aviation.
Visitors will find the displays easily by looking for a replica of the colorful Aeronca 7AC Champion plane suspended above the library’s Local History and Genealogy Gallery. The 7AC was one of several popular, private-use planes produced in the post-war era at Aeronca-Middletown before the company became a leader in the aerospace industry.
The Aeronca photo and interactive exhibits will be available for viewing Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ; Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. ; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ; and Sunday, 1-5 p.m.
MidPointe Library is located at 125 South Broad Street, Middletown.
“Aeronca, a Photo History” by Bob Hollenbaugh and John Houser and “Aeronca C-2, The Story of the Flying Bathtub” by Jay P. Spenser are available for reading in the Ohio Room adjacent to the Local History and Genealogy Gallery.