Family Day @ the Jetport Returns With a Free Community Aviation Celebration

SANFORD, N.C. — Family Day @ the Jetport, a free community celebration of aviation, returns to Raleigh Exec on Saturday, Oct. 15, with aircraft displays, an aerobatics demonstration, community group booths, food trucks and more.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and features corporate jets, vintage airplanes and recreational aircraft. Pilot Gary Ciampa is scheduled to perform an aerobics demonstration in his Van’s Aircraft RV-7 and visitors wanting to see the festival from the sky can purchase discounted discovery flights offered by Executive Flight Training, one of many companies based at Raleigh Exec.

While Triangle area residents may remember larger Family Day events from years ago, this is only the second time the aviation festival has been offered since airport development and pandemic shutdowns temporarily suspended the popular event. A more-modest Family Day was held last fall and this year’s expands on last year’s success.

“We thought it was important to bring Family Day back last year, even if it was a smaller event,” said Heuts. “So many community events had been cancelled for so many months, people wanted a sense of normalcy and we realized that this is an outdoor celebration that everyone could relax and enjoy. We’ve expanded some this year and can’t wait to share it with residents across our Triangle region.”

Heuts said 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.

“Young people all the way from preschool through high school seem to really enjoy Family Day,” he said. “Children are fascinated by seeing planes up close and maybe even getting a chance to sit inside. Older students may be interested in learning to fly or considering aviation as a career. And, of course, there will be aircraft taking off and landing throughout the day.”

More than a dozen aircraft are currently scheduled to be on display, including three military training planes: the Stearman biplane and North American T-6 Texan used by the United States military and the Yak-52 used by the Soviet Union. An ambulance and fire truck also will be available for an up-close look.

Family Day is offered free of charge with financial assistance from area companies and organizations. They include gold sponsors Campbell Oil Company, Carolina Commercial Contractors, Central Electric Membership Corporation, Elite Aircraft Services, Michael Baker International and RS&H. Also, silver sponsors Avion Solutions Group, Bankers Insurance, Sanford Contractors, Wilkinson Chevrolet Buick GMC and Wings of Carolina Flying Club.

Because some aviation exhibitors must wait closer to an event date to commit, additional aircraft may be on display. For the latest updates on Family Day, follow Raleigh Exec on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Some displays and events are subject to change based on weather conditions.

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