By Craig Chamberlain
The UI's Institute of Aviation has hit the half-century mark, and will celebrate that milestone with a day of tours, aircraft displays, music and food Oct. 19. The event, held at the institute, is open to the public.
The institute's 50th Anniversary Open House will start at 7 a.m. with a fly-in/drive-in breakfast until 10:30 a.m. The meal will be served in the institute's main hanger.
The day's main events will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and will include tours of the facilities and displays illustrating the institute's history.
Also on display will be the institute's 37 training aircraft, along with specialty and vintage aircraft. Included in plans for the static display are Blackhawk, JetRanger and Chinook helicopters, several World War II planes, an acrobatic Pitts' Special, possibly a Boeing 757, and a hot-air balloon, weather permitting.
Many of the aircraft will be flown in by alums of the institute's pilot training program.
Former UI basketball coach Lou Henson is scheduled to be on hand for two hours during the morning to sign autographs, though a specific time has not been set. WDWS-AM (1400) is scheduled to do a live remote from 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Other scheduled attractions are military drill teams and several local high school marching bands, which will provide live music at different times during the day.
With the event, the institute hopes "to heighten awareness of our academic and training programs, and also to showcase our facilities and aircraft," says Glenn Quick, academic advisor and assistant director of development.
"We also want to recognize the 50 years that so many people have put into training professional pilots and aircraft maintenance technologists -- so they could go into the industry and be successful while being on the cutting edge of aviation research and of training capabilities."
The institute actually will start its celebration two days before the Saturday open house, with a symposium titled "Aviation Research: Past, Present and Future," at the Beckman Institute. The symposium will run from 1 to 5 p.m. on Oct. 17, with registration starting at 12:30 p.m., and from 8 a.m. to noon Oct. 18.
For more information, call the institute at 244-8601.
Comments to: Inside Illinois Editor Doris Dahl, (217) 333-2895, email@example.com
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