KC-135 refueling tanker to highlight airport’s 25th annual open house

A local flyers’ group has big plans for the 25th anniversary of the annual open house at St. Louis Regional Airport in East Alton.

The local EAA Chapter is working with the Illinois Air National Guard to bring one of the world-famous KC-135 Stratotankers to the event.

The four-engine carrier planes refuel the United States Air Force in midair.

The Stratotanker is made by Boeing and used by the 126th Air National Guard unit at Scott Air Force Base. It will be on the ground throughout the open house so area residents can get a close-up look at the unique aircraft.

This year’s open house will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. A range of family-friendly activities will be offered on the airport grounds. Admission and parking are free.

Activities this year include:

  • Fly In – coordinated by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter 864 – Besides the KC-135, the event will feature Cessna, Beechcraft, and Piper aircraft, ultra-lights, helicopters and even some historic planes. Visitors can walk through and view all the planes that just Fly In for the day to view the car show as well.
  • MDA Car Make-A-Muscle Car and Bike Show – hosted by the Southern Illinois Camaro Club to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association – offering hot rods, antique automobiles, custom cars, motorcycles, the High Roller classic monster truck and Camaros. Registration opens at 8 a.m. and the first 150 paying entrants get a T-shirt and goody bag. Judging starts at 11 a.m. with awards presented at 3 p.m.
  • Radio Controlled Exhibition – coordinated by the East Side RC Club – featuring acrobatics and exploits from a large selection of radio-controlled aircraft and drones. The group shares the latest technology as well as some history on drones.
  • Food and Activity Booths – for a variety of non-profits and local clubs – including the EAA club BBQ, Cake Pop-a-Go-Go, Kettle Corn and more. Family-friendly games, like a baseball pitch will be available for the kids. New to this year’s event, the Victory Vixens will be strolling the grounds in classic attire to pose for photos with the planes and the viewers.

Sunday Kids Day

On Sunday, Sept. 29, the cars will be gone but area youth can take free airplane rides sponsored by the EAA Chapter 864 Young Eagles. Horses from the Legendary Mustang Sanctuary in Alhambra, Ill., will be on-site for viewing and petting to entertain the kids. Families and spectators are encouraged to enjoy an early lunch on the patio of the High Flyers Grill to watch the all the recreational planes taking off and landing.

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