UVU Aviation’s first ever fly-in and open house attracted record crowds and aviation enthusiasts of all ages by air and by land. The event celebrated Utah Valley University’s School of Aviation’s 25th anniversary and featured vintage planes along with UVU Aviation training aircraft and at least one experimental craft.
“It was a tremendous success. With this event, our goal was not only to increase the awareness of the quality of the UVU aviation program, but to give people a chance to see and experience it for themselves. It was eye-opening for many attendees, who didn’t know what we had out here. We were thrilled with the attendance. That positive exposure to the general public made the event well-worth the effort,” said Ryan Tanner, director of Academic Student Support.
Wes Eldredge, Coordinator – Aviation Student Success and Retention, brought his entire family. “It was remarkable to see the 25th anniversary celebration evolve from an idea to a successful reality through the hard work, planning, and stick-to-itiveness of our staff and faculty. The catering, speakers, staging, and overall organization of the event is demonstrative of a premier, student-centered aviation school actively engaging its community in celebration of a remarkable milestone. It was sincerely my pleasure to be a part of it.”
The event, which was catered by UVU’s Culinary Arts Institute Catering, was free to the public and included breakfast and lunch for an estimated crowd of 1500 people. R.D. Rex, an aviation enthusiast who attended one of the lectures and enjoyed inspecting all the aircraft with one of his sons, was impressed with both the planes and the dining, “The food was great. It was a smart move to tie-in with another aspect of the education opportunities available at UVU.”
U.S. Air Force ROTC, the Civil Air Patrol, and the Commemorative Air Force – Utah Wing, along with SkyWest were some of the participants who supported the event. SkyWest announced a new partnership with Utah Valley University School of Aviation, which hopes to help boost a career opportunities for aviation students.
Participants in the fly-in and local flight instructors displayed planes and, in many cases, allowed the public to climb up and sit in the planes. This was a big hit among the kids, especially, both young and old. “My kids died of joy and happiness,” stated Kalli V.
There was also a lot of interest in the featured guest speakers, Gil Bertelson – retired Air Force Lt. Colonel and former SR-71 Blackbird PIlot and Rod Machado – pilot, aviation enthusiast, and author of flight training materials.
The weather was perfect and everything–including an unprecedented and passionate crowd–came together for a successful celebration. “We should do this every year!” was overheard more than once.
Thanks to everyone who came out and supported UVU Aviation. Here’s to the next 25 years!