World War II planes to headline Aerospace Day in Hot Springs

HOT SPRINGS (KATV) - The future and history come together this weekend at Hot Springs Memorial Airport.{} It's part job fair, part air show at Saturday's third annual Aerospace Day.{}

Three vintage World War II era planes will be on hand for the event organized to tout the area's strong aerospace industry.{} Jim Fram, CEO of the Greater Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce says roughly 2,000 jobs exist in aerospace within Garland County alone.{} Although the event is really to inform people about the possibilities of a future in aerospace, the World War II relics sort of steal the show.

"Show Me," a B-25 Mitchell Bomber is the eye-candy at the show.{} Flown by members of the Commemorative Air Force, Missouri Wing, the plane although pretty on the ground is available for hire.

A trip all over Hot Springs graces the calm waters and plentiful islands of Lake Ouachita, the plane then buzzing over the airport again, past historic downtown Hot Springs and it's easy to spot a familiar Oaklawn Racetrack.

But despite all the history on the ground that those who are willing to shell out $395 for a ride will see, it's hard to ignore the history that you're riding inside.

"You know every time I'm in it or around it I just think about that literally, the kids that flew these back in the way - how brave they were and the missions they did were just unbelievable," said Col. John Fester, co-pilot in the B-25 Bomber.

The Mitchell Bomber is best remembered for the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.{} The plane stationed at the airport from now until Sunday wasn't a part of that raid, but rest assured the plane saw war.{}

Now the plane along with the TBM-3 Avenger Torpedo Bomber and the Aeronca L-3E "Defender," also present at this weekend's show, are taken care of by an all-volunteer crew.{} They're all down in Hot Springs for the weekend to help with promoting Aerospace Day. {}The event, free to the public, will have demonstrations, displays and representatives from aerospace industries on hand to discuss job opportunities for those interested.

"There's a lot of jobs available in the aerospace industries here in Hot Springs," said George Downie, airport director at Hot Springs Memorial, making note of the little known fact.

Downie mentioned regional carrier, Delta Connection, actually services all of its jets at the Hot Springs airport.{} Both National Park Community College and Henderson State University offer aerospace programs, and both will be present at the show with displays and even a flight simulator.



Saturday, April 19th

10:00 AM - 6:00 PM{}{}

Hot Springs Memorial Airport

525 Airport Road, Hot Springs

To reserve flights on the B-25 "Show Me" Mitchell Bomber, call Col. Bob Moore with the Commemorative Air Force at (314) 486-1205.