Air Expo takes flight this weekend

Tony Parra

The Portales Air Expo kicks off Friday and concludes on Sunday and Portales residents will get a chance to enjoy the high-flying activities at the Portales Airport.
Organizers are hoping the turnout for this year’s event will be better than last year’s.
“We didn’t have a good turnout last year since everybody scheduled events for the same weekend,” said Ray Pallares, an operations specialist at Portales Municipal Airport. “The chamber stepped in to the control of the scheduling this year so that there wouldn’t be so many events. We’re hoping for quiet a few people.
Last year the event took place in late September. Pallares said he prefers it in later September because of the cooler weather, but is anticipating a better turnout anyway this year.
The first and only event on Friday is the Make it/Take it Rockets and Rocket Launchers. Children from the area will have an opportunity to launch their home-made rockets.
On Saturday, Portales residents can eat breakfast at the Armory, located across the street from the airport. The Altrusa Club will be serving the pancake breakfast, which is $4 for adults and $3 for children under the age of 10.
On Saturday, the gates at the airport open at 9 a.m. and the first scheduled activity is the rocket building and launching along with glider contests.
Local pilots will get their chance to practice pinpoint accuracy at the flour bombing competition, scheduled for at 10 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. During the event, pilots will drop bags of flour on targets during the event to see whose accuracy is the best.
At 2 p.m., pilots will then see who is the most accurate when it comes to landing during the Spot Landing Competition. Groups such as the Cosrocs out of Denver, Score out of Pueblo and Roar out of Portales will be helping out with the competitions.
Pilots will land on the airport runway and organizers will have jet-aiming bars to determine which is the most accurate.
Rocket launches will continue throughout the day and will be the final activity Saturday night.
The 2003 Portales Air Expo will conclude on Sunday with experimental rocket launching from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun for the kids and something the adults will enjoy,” Pallares said.