The fourth annual Aviation Day at Columbus Municipal Airport demonstrated why it has become a must-see event in the community.

A warm, blue-sky day offered the perfect backdrop for up-close entertainment and education for a record crowd estimated at 7,500 people.

Various types of planes and helicopters — such as an A-10 Thunderbolt, a biplane, a P-51 Mustang and UH-60 Blackhawk — were on hand for people to see, touch and sit in.

Two air shows highlighted the aerial acrobatic capabilities of airplanes. Airplane rides offered attendees a different experience and new perspective from high above.

Not only was Aviation Day entertaining, it was educational. You could say the event was like a living history museum.

Attendees had the opportunity to talk with pilots and ask them questions about the airplanes and helicopters. They also had a chance to visit the Columbus Municipal Airport terminal, and the Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum next door. Both offered an opportunity to learn more about the local aviation history.

Aviation Day celebrated the 25th anniversary of Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum and the 75th anniversary of Bakalar Air Force Base.

The latter is the forerunner of the Municipal Airport and played a role in World War II, the Cold War and Vietnam War before it was converted into a municipal airport.

Airport director Brian Payne, his staff and many volunteers deserve congratulations for making Aviation Day a popular attraction. The event has been a great way to showcase local assets such as the airport and museum, and entertain and educate people at the same time.

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