Annual Air Tour takes flight

Planes parked in Liberal as part of the Fly Kansas Air Tour

LIBERAL, Kan. (KSNW) – The annual Fly Kansas Air Tour started on Thursday. The event is meant to introduce students across the state to aviation-related careers.

Pilots started out in Wellington, then went to Liberal, Dodge City, and ended up in Hays. Dozens of students stopped by Liberal’s Mid America Air Museum for the tour. Some entertained a possible career path.

“I wanted to explore my options in different places, and doing physics and everything,” said Liberal High School student Codi Presley.

Others just enjoyed the tour, like Liberal High School student Emanuel Andrade.

“It’s just been really nice to come look around here,” he said, “and some pretty good weather, just look at all these planes, see a surprising amount of Skyhawks here.”

The fly tour was last in Liberal in 2015. About 30 aircraft landed there on Thursday.

“It’s been fantastic,” said Scott Metelko, the director of the museum. “It’s been so great to see the kids being able to learn directly from pilots, being able to interact with pilots, which is not something that you’d normally get a chance to do.”

“It’s been good,” said Jason Wojteczko, a pilot who has participated in the tour for several years. “They’ve asked some interesting questions, some funny, some serious. Kids are kids, and we do our best to answer the questions we can.”

This year, the tour happened to stop by Liberal and Dodge at a time when both cities are trying to bring back commercial air service to their communities.

The students also had the chance to step into some of the older airplanes at the museum to see how far aviation has come.

On Friday, the planes will fly from Hays to Concordia to Atchison and end up at the New Century Airfield southwest of Kansas City. On Saturday, they’ll fly from there to Pittsburg, then to Independence and finish the tour in Benton in Butler County.

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