Annual San Gabriel Valley Air Fair offers free fun for the whole family
The San Gabriel Valley Air Fair is scheduled for Oct. 26-27. The Air Fare celebrates flight in the San Gabriel Valley annually and offers rides to patrons. This year is geared toward family entertainment, according to organizer Gabe Lopez.
Mission Flight, a volunteer organization of pilots, will be taking children with special needs on private flights in small aircraft with all expenses covered. For everyone else interested in flights, a nominal fee will allow members of the public to be a passenger on the aircraft. Lopez calls it “an inspirational flight for life.”
Lopez wants to spread the word that the world needs pilots now more than ever. “The last big push for pilots was around the Vietnam timeframe,” and since major airlines mandate retirement at the age of 65 since 2009, according to FAA regulations. The older pilots are quickly approaching the age in which they will no longer be flying. This pilot deficit is what Lopez is trying to curb by inspiring the community with his love for flight.
Lopez is the son of 1st Lieutenant Edward Lopez, a fighter pilot in Korea and World War II. Lopez himself has held a pilot’s license for more than 40 years and admittedly loves it. Among the ability to dodge traffic and feel absolute freedom, he says the perks of being a pilot are numerous. “The convenience of being able to fly out to Catalina for lunch is fantastic.”
They have over 65 flights scheduled Saturday and will also have vintage aircraft and car displays, venders, and even aviation colleges telling the kids how they can get started in this great aviation career. Lopez, who is also the San Gabriel Valley Airport manager, will be showing off his vintage Stearman bi-plane and his father, Edward, now 96 years young, will be the guest WWII fighter pilot vet and he’ll be signing his book at the air show.