Family Day @ the Jetport Brings a Free Community Aviation Celebration

SANFORD, N.C. — Family Day @ the Jetport, an annual community aviation celebration, returns to Raleigh Exec on Saturday, Oct. 7, with aircraft displays, a Bandits Flight Team flyover, community group exhibits, food trucks and more.

The free event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and features corporate jets, vintage airplanes and recreational aircraft. The Bandits Flight Team is currently scheduled to perform a flyover and, for the first time, Central Electric Membership Corp. will operate an activities center where youth can enjoy aviation-related games, have their photos taken as pilots and see a bucket truck and Tesla electric car.

“This is the third straight year we’ve held Family Day and it seems to grow a little more every time,” said airport director Bob Heuts. “We offered a more elaborate event years ago, but had to pause that because of ongoing airport expansion projects and then the pandemic. But since it’s returned, Family Day seems to have found a very dedicated and enthusiastic following.”

Family Day was created to introduce young people to aviation, invite everyone out to see the rapidly expanding airport and thank the community for their support.

Since then, other public events have been added to the airport’s annual calendar. Young Eagles Day, offered with EAA Chapter 1114 based in Apex, provides free discovery flights for youth and was held most recently in June. And the airport has just announced Behind the Scenes at Raleigh Exec, described as “a small-group, insider’s airport tour for youth.” In fact, the first quarterly tour will be offered as part of Family Day.

Community groups also visit the airport regularly. Just last month, Raleigh Exec hosted local Boy Scout Troop 952 as they worked on aviation merit badges and the Kitty Hawk Ninety-Nines association of licensed women pilots as they planned an upcoming Girl Scout Day presentation.

Heuts said events like these are part of the airport’s ongoing effort to serve the regional community and help everyone learn more about general aviation. “People are fascinated with aviation and it’s becoming more important every day. But there aren’t that many opportunities for them to see different kinds of aircraft up-close and maybe even get a chance to sit inside the cockpit.

“When you see their reactions — especially for the children — you can see why this is such a valuable event.”

More than a dozen airplanes and helicopters are currently scheduled to be on display — along with an ambulance and fire engine. Pilots will often be available to talk with guests and answer any questions about the aircraft and flying experience.

Family Day is offered free of charge with financial assistance from area companies and organizations. They include gold sponsors Campbell Oil, Carolina Commercial Contractors, Central Electric Membership Corp., Chatham Economic Development Corporation, Elite Aircraft Services, Lee-Moore Capital, Mertek Solutions, Michael Baker International, M.R. Stoner Electric and Sanford Area Growth Alliance.

Also, silver sponsors Bankers Insurance, Brad Womble Aviation, Chatham Park, Express Employment International, First Bank, MAG Aerospace, RS&H, Sanford Contractors and Wings of Carolina Flying Club.

Because some aviation exhibitors must wait closer to an event date to confirm their participation, additional aircraft may be on display — with some displays and events subject to change based on weather conditions. For the latest updates on Family Day, follow Raleigh Exec on Instagram, Facebook, X (formerly Twitter) and Threads.

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About Raleigh Exec
Billed as a premier corporate gateway to the Research Triangle, Raleigh Exec Jetport is a general aviation airport serving corporate and recreational flights in a region of central North Carolina that includes Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Chapel Hill, Sanford and the Research Triangle Park. Raleigh Exec operates on 700 acres off of U.S. 1, just 15 miles from the Raleigh Outer Beltline, and is home to corporate aircraft, the North Carolina Forest Service, many aviation-related businesses and one of the nation’s largest and most respected flying clubs. More information is available at

Young visitors at Family Day 2022 got a chance to sit in some aircraft and learn from pilots about how their planes worked. More than a dozen planes and helicopters will be on display at this year’s event. (Photo by Chip Pate)
With aircraft taking off and landing throughout the day, there are things to enjoy at Family Day on the ground and in the sky. The annual event is produced by Raleigh Exec to introduce general aviation to the community and thank everyone for their support. (Photo by Chip Pate)
While many aircraft will be on display for visitors to see, some pilots attend Family Day because they enjoy the opportunity to answer questions about their aircraft and what it’s like to fly. (Photo by Chip Pate)
Visitors look at planes during Family Day 2022, one of several free community events held at Raleigh Exec. Others include EAA Young Eagles Day, where youth enjoy free discovery flights, and Behind the Scenes at Raleigh Exec, a new, small-group airport tour being offered for the first time on Family Day and then every three months throughout the year on a Saturday morning. (Photo by Chip Pate)
The Bandit Flight Team, based at Raleigh Exec, flies over the airport during Family Day 2022. The Bandits perform on October 7 before the NC State football game in Raleigh and have confirmed their participation again this year for Family Day, though the actual time for the Family Day flyover has not yet been set. (Photo by Chip Pate)
Historical aircraft, like this one being marshaled into last year’s festival, are part of the Family Day experience. Activities and participating aircraft are being announced daily on Raleigh Exec social media. (Photo by Chip Pate)