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Laconia Airport opens its doors to the public



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Two Emerson Aviation planes on display for the open house. (Jeff Ferland) (click for larger version)
June 13, 2012
Despite poor conditions, Laconia Regional Airport administrators and aeronautic enthusiasts gathered at the Airport for their first Open House Saturday, June 2 to celebrate the Lakes Region's neighborhood airport and local aviation.

Although the pouring rain may have centralized the event to the airport lobby, locals flocked to the airport to check out all it had to offer.

"People came out despite the weather to learn what their local airport is all about," said Airport Manager Diane Cooper, pleased with the turnout, even though flying in those conditions would not be recommended.

"The only good thing about the weather is that it's clearing the pollen out of the air," she laughed.

Cooper was excited that people were dedicated enough to come and learn about one of the region's long-standing local businesses. Though the weather did not allow for the open house to extend fully onto the runway, there were plenty of planes and vehicles for pubic viewing, including modern, antique and experimental aircraft and some cars and motorcycles.

According to Cooper, some vehicles were still in the hanger because of the poor weather conditions. She explained that they wanted to show people that the airport was not just a transportation hub, but also a center for aeronautic education programs like WinnAro, flight training with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, and instruction from their on-site, or fixed-base, operators: Emerson Aviation and Sky Bright.

In addition to flight school, the two fixed-base operators also offer charter flights, aerial photography tours, sales and more.

Another facet of the open house was to educate people on the history of the airport.

According to Cooper, the airport was built in the 1940's as part of the war effort, and used for military training and emergency landings. Now, she continued, the airport is a self-sufficient, economic supporter of the Lakes Region, and is no longer supported by tax-payers.

Cooper said local access to the airport can also give residents access to more quality medical care, faster transportation around New England and more, and also support animal rescue efforts around the country by bringing shelter animals from high population areas to the Lakes Region to find new, loving homes.

As for her staff and aviation community supporters, Cooper said they are a loyal and dedicated bunch.

"It is wonderful to work with such committed people," said Cooper. "It's heartwarming. These people love what they do."

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