Airport festival attendance soars

Ron F. Gorr and his 1942 Stinson L-5 Sentinel, Jimmy Stewart Airport, June 10, 2017. Photo by Alexandria Mansfield.

By Alexandria Mansfield

INDIANA – The annual aviation festival that landed last weekend at the Jimmy Stewart Airport  drew the largest crowd in the event’s two-decade-long history, an airport official said Tuesday.

“There were more people here this weekend than we’ve ever had before, mainly because of the weather,” said airport manager Tom A. Robertson. “It’s very seldom that we get two good days in a row.”

Events featured vintage and military aircraft, face-painting, balloon animals, food trucks and public-service booths and included an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, aerial demonstrations and a 1940s-themed dance. A new feature brought two speakers:

  • Dean Stewart Engelhardt, of California, a seaplane instructor, test pilot, Alaskan bush pilot, aerobatic airshow pilot and stunt pilot; and
  • Florence “Shutsy” Reynolds, of Connellsville, a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) during World War II.


FOR MORE THAN A DECADE, Ron F. Gorr, 74, of Pittsburgh, has displayed a plane at the annual festival.  This year, it was his 1942 Stinson L-5 Sentinel.

“It’s nice for all the people to come out and look at all these airplanes,” Gorr said on Saturday. “They get the chance to see old planes, and rare ones, used in World War II.”

Gorr said his parents took him to air shows when he was youngster.

“I was interested in planes since I was a little kid,” he said.

Gorr earned his pilot’s license in 1965. He retired as a pilot for U.S. Airways.

Robertson, the airport manager, said the show went “extremely well.”

“I’m mainly concerned with safety of aircraft and people, and we didn’t have any incidents,” Robertson said. “So it went very well.”

Next year’s show is scheduled again for the second weekend of the month — June 9-10, 2018.

Alexandria Mansfield, a journalism student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, is a staff reporter for The HawkEye. She can be emailed at

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