Courageous Fliers Operate from Same Runway as Air Show Stars

Each air show season brings enormous crowds to airports all over the country, including our own Indianapolis Regional. Whether it’s the Navy’s Blue Angels, the Air Force Thunderbirds, or any number of outstanding civilian aerobatic pilots, there’s always plenty to see overhead. But one of the most rewarding sights is right at field level: the awe and wonder the aerial displays bring to the upturned faces of delighted children.

Along with the Indianapolis Air Show, Indy Regional is home to Flight1. The air show is one of the organization’s flagship events, and those memories are strong when Courageous Fliers taxi out for takeoff. “Flying out of Regional is nice,” says Flight1 founder Marcus Strawhorn, “because it adds another level of excitement for the kids in our program who went to the air show.  They saw the Thunderbirds and other planes fly from the same runway they get to fly from.”

Another great aspect of flying from Regional Airport is the generosity of pilots like Caleb Franks (shown here with a Courageous Flier). Caleb, who donates his time to the program, says “I really enjoy working with the kids and seeing their delight when they are at the controls as the plane lifts into the air.”

Known until March 2011 as Mount Comfort Airport, Indianapolis Regional Airport covers over 1,800 acres in Hancock County, about 12 miles east of downtown Indianapolis. Its longest runway measures 5,550 feet and the field elevation is 862 feet above sea level. The airport is home base for over 100 aircraft and handles about 50,000 operations annually.

– Russell Goutierez

Photos: Airman Nicole Sikorski, USAF; Steven Fleenor