The weather cooperated for this year’s Easton Airport Day, an annual aviation showcase featuring historic aircraft, information on careers in aviation, and the famous rubber chicken drop. Hundreds of people come to see modern and vintage aircraft and to learn about flying.
The most interesting aircraft on display was a C-47 Skytrain that dropped paratroopers in Normandy, France, as part of the D-Day invasion in 1944. The airplane is the military version of a DC-3.
The C-47 is now owned by a foundation. It regularly flies to airshows and aviation museums.
Visitors were not permitted to get into the aircraft, but a side door was open. Inside was a box of rubber chickens that were dropped from the plane later in the day as part of the festivities.
The rubber chicken drop is a competition where airplanes attempt to hit a pickup truck by dropping the chickens as they fly over. You might call it a “chicken bombing.”
If you attend airshows, you have probably seen a Yakovlev-Yak-52, an aerobatic Russian training aircraft first flown in the 1970s. Several were at the airport, including one looking like a fresh arrival from the Soviet Union.
Later in the day, the airplane flew as part of a large formation over the airport.
The cockpit of one of the Yaks was open to permit visitors to view the controls.
Parked near the Russians was a Douglas Dauntless, a World War II Navy fighter. The plane was launched from aircraft carriers and saw combat, including at the battles of Midway and Coral Sea.
Only a few of these aircraft remain in flying condition today. I was fortunate to see this one.
Attracting surprisingly limited attention at the show was a Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. The supersonic interceptor first flew for the U.S. Air Force in 1958 for many years for NATO allies.
Because of its stubby wings and quirky handling characteristics, it was known as “the widow maker” in Germany. Germany lost 116 pilots in accidents involving the plane.
The F-104 is on permanent display at the airport but is usually behind a chain link fence. Airport Day provided my first opportunity to see the plane up close. It is unfortunately exposed to the weather. It needs renovation and is not in flying condition. The red material in the engine intake is to prevent birds and other critters from nesting inside.
My time at Airport Day was limited, so we missed seeing the mass formation and the chicken drop.
The second was a drone filming the event from a hover above the crowd.
Airport Day 2021 was a huge success. I plan to attend next year.