If you’re going
• What: An open house and fundraiser for the Grass Strip Foundation at Berg Park Aerodome, a nonprofit educational and preservation foundation dedicated to vintage, experimental and general aviation aircraft
• When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday
• Where: 580 Old Gress Island Road, Midway
A local aviation enthusiast is opening the doors to his private airport this weekend to spread the message that flight is mightier than the commercial airline industry and the trappings of the Transportation Security Administration.
Steve Berg, owner of the Berg Park Aerodome in Midway, will host the third annual open house from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday to raise funds and awareness for the Grass Strip Foundation.
“The first year, we had 50 people; the second year we had 150, and I anticipate we might get up to 300 this year —it’s turned into not a small event,” Berg said.
Last year, 10 planes flew in for the event, and the pilot said he anticipates even more this year.
The foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational and preservation foundation dedicated to vintage, experimental and general aviation aircraft and their preservation.
“Its goal is to educate the public about the joys, practicalities and necessities of aircraft in our society, focusing on aviation career possibilities for this and future generations,” the organization’s mission statement says.
“The reason for the founding of the foundation is we are running out of aircraft career people, pilots and mechanics, and if people don’t become aware of how important it is to aviation, there will no longer be enough pilots to fly the airlines — and this is truly a critical thing,” Berg added. “I want people to say, ‘Gee, I never thought of that.’”
Several artists also will display their work, and vintage car and motorcycle enthusiasts are encouraged to come out and display their wheels, too.
“Wheels and wings is a very common thing,” he said, adding that it gives people something to look at and appeals to multiple members of the family.
In addition to raising awareness for aviation careers, Berg said the foundation also is trying to raise money for a facility to house and preserve aircraft that aviation enthusiasts can help preserve. Donations are tax-deductible.
There is a lot of aviation in this area, he said, citing the presence of Gulfstream and the international airports in Savannah and Jacksonville, as well as smaller airports in Jekyll Island and Reidsville.
“There’s a lot out here that people don’t know about because airplanes don’t hang around, they get up and go,” he said.
Alternative aviation also is on the radar at MidCoast Regional Airport, where General Manager Charlie Martin said some Gulfstream employees are building their own aircraft.
Some of the airport’s tenants are working on home-built two-seaters that are capable of traveling up to 210 miles per hour and have a great safety record, Martin said.
MidCoast also hosts its own open houses and quarterly fly-ins to raise awareness for its programs. The next one will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Nov. 17, and includes a free barbecue.