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Monroe County Airport, WTIU organizing first community flight night


Weather is mild outside Monroe County Airport on Oct. 15. Community Flight Night, sponsored by the Monroe County Airport and WTIU, will be 6-9 p.m. Saturday at the airport. Joy Burton

The Monroe County Airport has been described as an under-utilized resource in Bloomington by airport employees ,but community members are attempting to change that. 

WTIU and the Monroe County Airport are partnering to organize Community Flight Night, an event inviting the community to the airport to learn about it and its resources.  The event will take place 6-9 p.m. Saturday at Monroe County Airport.

“It’s the community’s airport and they should be allowed to enjoy it,” said Carlos Laverty, Director of Aviation at the Monroe County Airport. 

The airport will be showing different aircrafts for attendees to explore during the event. There will be a helicopter, a tethered hot air balloon, and an airport fire rescue vehicle. 

WTIU will have a pop-up learning lab with iPads for children and food trucks from local restaurants. IU Observatory is bringing telescopes as well. 

The theme of the event is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, and WTIU will show two programs. There will be an episode of NOVA, a science show, and a shorter video for children. 

“We encourage families to not just watch television, but take an idea they’ve seen on TV and explore it and get out in their community and be active,” said Joan M. Padawan, WTIU Events and Adult Outreach coordinator. 

She said the event is being run by volunteers brought in by the airport and WTIU, but they are welcoming everyone who is interested in helping. 

Laverty, a fan of NASA history, came up with the idea of starting the event while he was watching a show about the moon landing. He said when he and Cook Aviation President Rex Hinkle reached out to WTIU about co-organizing the event, WTIU members showed a lot of excitement.

“There’s hope that this can turn into an annual thing and evolve into something a little more elaborate,” Laverty said. 

He said he wants people to be aware of the airport as a public asset and is hoping to organize an open house for the airport in the future. 

“We have a lot of aviation-minded people around here,” Hinkle said. “We’re trying to highlight general aviation and letting people know that the airport is here.” 

Clarification: This story has been editied to include the time and date of the event.

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