By Caitlin Switzer
MONTROSE-Not only planes, but dreams take off here. And at the Montrose Regional Airport 2017 Tribute to Aviation on Sept. 16-17, dreamers of all ages are welcome. Bring the family, meet the pilots, and tour an astonishingly diverse array of commercial, military and general aircraft. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. As the web site notes, the Tribute to Aviation is an aircraft static display event, allowing you to tour specialized aircraft from across the country and interact with pilots and aircrew.
“This year we will have an even larger variety of aircraft than we have had in the past,” Montrose Regional Airport Director of Aviation Lloyd Arnold said. “We will have more vendors too, so you will have more choices when it comes to food.”
The Tribute to Aviation is free to the public, Arnold said. Highlights will include a tiltrotor Osprey, and turn rotor Chinook Helicopter. There will be flight simulators for kids, as well as a NASA exhibit in the terminal area concerning the history of aviation and space exploration.
“This event gives children an opportunity to learn about aviation,” he said. “They can talk to professionals in the industry about careers, and learn about various aspects of aviation with having to pay. All families are welcome to come and participate.”
As director of one of Colorado’s leading airports, Arnold knows how exciting the world of aviation can be to a young person. A certified pilot, Arnold took on the top job at the Montrose Regional Airport at age 34, with a degree in aviation management and a masters’ in public administration. Now 43, he intends to share that sense of excitement with the next generation.
Putting on the annual Tribute to Aviation takes work and plenty of planning. Still, in just three years it has drawn greater attendance than any other local event.
“It’s absolutely worth it,” Arnold said. He thanked major sponsors Atlantic Aviation and Reams Construction Company for helping to keep the Tribute to Aviation free to all. Other sponsors include Scott’s Printing & Design; Cherry Creek Media; Ridgway Valley Enterprises; Corgan; CH2M; Republic Parking; Montrose Daily Press; Del Mont Consultants and Western Skyways.
“The Board of County Commissioners has been extremely supportive of the Tribute to Aviation,” Arnold said. “They have been 100 percent behind it, and that really helps us out.
“It’s going to be a great community event.”
To learn more visit www.tributetoaviation.com.