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Gaining a new perspective: Sunday's Airport Awareness Day offers new view of town

September 21, 2012

Larry Straitiff of flight school Center Line Aviation Ltd. is shown here with his AMD Alarus CH2000 Trainer Aircraft. The public can learn about flying up close at Punxsutawney Municipal Airport Awareness Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the airport located off of Airport Road in Bell Township. (Photo by Larry McGuire/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

BELL TOWNSHIP — If you would like to rise to a higher plane, then you'll have that chance Sunday when the 14th annual Airport Awareness Day will be held at the Punxsutawney Municipal Airport in Bell Township.

"The purpose of this special day is to increase the public's awareness as to how the airport is a benefit to the community," said Larry Straitiff, who operates a flight school at the airport.

Sraitiff said the airport authority wants people to become aware of the high amount of usage that takes place at the airport.

He said there are several attractions lined up for Sunday's open house event.

"The National Guard will be bringing a Blackhawk helicopter in Sunday and will have a static display for the public to see," Straitiff said, adding that it is an opportunity for everyone to see their tax dollars at work.

He said the military uses the Punxsy Airport on a regular basis to practice.

"These helicopters are in here three to four times a week — day or nighttime," Straitiff said, adding that the Pennsylvania State Police will also fly a helicopter in from Franklin to demonstrate its capabilities for the public.

Straitiff said there will be skydivers along with a pilot from St. Marys who will bring his Stearman biplane to the show Sunday.

"Denny Caruso restores these planes, which were the primary trainers for World War II pilots when they first learned to fly," he said.
Straitiff said the Civil Air Patrol will also have one of its aircraft on display for Awareness Day on Sunday.

Straitiff also knows the main draw for the event — airplane rides that cost $25 per person.

"They will get a different view of the community and how things look from the air."

Those interested in learning more about the school itself can also do so at the event.

"I'll have all kinds of materials concerning flight training, and people can sign up to win a complimentary flight lesson from my flight school Center Line Aviation Ltd.," Straitiff said, adding that he will do intro flights for anyone who might be interested on Sunday.

He said there will even be a radio controlled airplane demonstration.
Straitiff said the Awareness Day is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the airport located off of Route 119 on Airport Road across from Bells Mills.

Refreshments will also be available.

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