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Great Alaska Aviation Gathering returns with large crowds, new home

Updated: May. 9, 2021 at 10:20 AM AKDT
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PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) -Some have flown for decades, delivering supplies to remote parts of the state. Others, such as those that belong to the Alaska Air National Guard, are used to help defend us, and the nation.

They are among the aircraft on display at the Palmer Airport for the annual Great Alaska Aviation Gathering.

The free event gives people a chance to get an up-close look at some of the aircraft used around the state.

“It’s great, we do it every year,” said Anchorage’s Elka Southall. “We bring the grandkids by and come and enjoy the day.”

This is the first event since the pandemic grounded last year’s aviation gather.

“We’re excited to get back to it. The turnout has been marvelous,” said Anchorage’s Reed Sillers. “Lot of activity down here, it’s a beautiful day.”

The Palmer Airport is not the only place where aviation fans can see propeller-driven planes and helicopters on display. They can also travel down the road to the Alaska State Fairgrounds, as it’s another site for the Aviation Gathering.

This year marks the first time the event has not taken place at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. The Alaska Airmen Association organizes the gathering every year. This year forced a move from its usual site.

“We just felt like the City of Anchorage wasn’t going to be able to plan the six months it takes to plan this event. There was a lot of uncertainties in the City of Anchorage,” said Association Executive Director Abby Austin. “We’re really grateful for the FedEx Team for allowing us to host it there. But we thought what a great opportunity to try something new.”

Members of the Alaska Skydive Center dropped by the fairgrounds during the festivities bearing gifts-money for this year’s scholarship winners to help them pursue careers in the aviation field.

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