B 17 and other vintage planes coming to St. Landry

Monday, June 15, 2020

Main News Photo

Opelousas will be home to some of the most famous aircraft in the world for three days at the end of this month and the public will get a chance to look them over and even ride in them. 

Vintage aircraft for a Summer Fly-in will begin landing at the St. Landry Parish Airport at about noon on Friday, June 26, the first day of a three-day event designed to acquaint pilots and the public with the services the airport offers, according to airport manager David Allen. Six vintage aircraft will be on display, including a B-17 Flying Fortress, one of the workhorse bombers used in World War II, and a C-45, one of the most widely used light transport and utility aircraft during the war.  Classic cars and radio-controlled aircraft will also be on display. A live band will entertain on Friday.

Public events will be from 6 p.m.to 10 p.m. on Friday, June 26; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 27; and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission prices are $20 per car with three or more passengers, and $15 for those with one or two. Those paying to attend will be able to walk onto the runway and examine the old planes flown in by members of the Commemorative Air Force based in Arizona and affiliates from the Houston area.
The World War II aircraft will sell rides during each of the three days.

The event is funded entirely by corporate donations and by admission fees.

“We have had an enthusiastic response from those wanting to be sponsors,” Allen said, noting that they include local corporations, small businesses, and individuals. “We have all our expenses covered, including meals, hotels, and fuel for the planes,” he said.

This is one of a series of fly-ins hosted by the airport, designed to bring aviators to the airport for a fun event that will give them a look at its layout and facilities. The events have attracted pilots flying everything from modern turbo-props to older planes such as the B17.

Allen hopes to make the summer fly-ins an annual affair. He said a major reason for the event is to show the airport to pilots who will do business there, but “also for the public to know what we have here and maybe help generate some appreciation for aviation in the area.”

The airport can easily accommodate single- and twin-engine aircraft and small and mid-sized private jets. “You can bring in the basic corporate jets here,” Allen said. “We have a lot of runway space for a regional airport.”

The 537-acre facility opened as a public airport in October 1947. It is just two miles from downtown Opelousas and is centrally located for travelers to other parish communities. It has two concrete runways: Runway 18/36, which runs north-south, is 5,999 feet long, and runway 6/24, which runs roughly northeast-southwest, is 4,051 feet long. The terminal building offers all of the amenities expected by a traveler.

For more information contact Allen at (337) 351-0025 or visit the St. Landry’s Parish Airport Facebook page. 

Three things to know about this story:

  • A three-day summer fly-in will begin at the St. Landry Parish Airport on Friday, June 26.
  • The event is designed to acquaint pilots and the public with the services the airport offers.
  • Classic cars and radio-controlled aircraft will also be on display.

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