As part of a weekend “Celebrating 50 Years of Aviation Excellence” at the University of Central Missouri, the School of Aviation has announced an array of fun activities Saturday morning, Oct. 26 at the Max B. Swisher Skyhaven Airport, 160 NW 251 Road, Warrensburg.

Open to the community, the festivities not only call attention to a significant milestone in the history of UCM aviation, but provide an opportunity for families and local aviation enthusiasts to enjoy the facilities while seeing and experiencing aircraft and training resources at the state’s only university-owned public airport..

Activities take place between 8 and 11:30 a.m. Visitors can enjoy an all-you-can-eat breakfast with pancakes, sausage and orange drink served by the well-known Chris Cakes Pancakes of Kansas City. The cost is $7 per person, and serving takes place through 10:30 a.m.

A “Fly-In Drive-In” featuring vintage and new cars, as well as emergency vehicles from local police, fire and ambulance units is planned throughout the morning. Visitors can take advantage of an opportunity to test drive new vehicles available at the event, and enjoy a UCM alumni flight competition.

There also will be vintage aircraft displays, a free bounce house and games for children, and sightseeing and simulator flights. Tethered hot air balloon rides also will be available, weather permitting.

The Saturday morning festivities are part of a celebration that will bring many aviation alumni back to campus Friday, Oct. 25. An open house is planned for 2-5 p.m. in the Gaines Technology Building. This will be an opportunity to walk through classrooms and meet instructors who are part of the aviation program. Also on Friday will be a social event at Fitter’s Pub, 131 W. Pine St., beginning at 6 p.m.

Saturday afternoon and evening activities take place at the maintenance hangar at Skyhaven Airport, starting at 5 p.m. with a social, silent auction and flight demos, followed by a welcome from UCM President Roger Best and School of Aviation Chair Terry Hunt. The Aviation Fundraising Banquet at 7 p.m. provides insight into UCM’s aviation program history and a remembrance ceremony for one of the program’s pioneers, John “Jack” Horine.

Pre-registration for these Saturday afternoon and Friday evening events is required, and individuals who want to know more can visit the website ucmfoundation.org/aviation.

During the past five decades, UCM aviation has grown from a program with only 25 students to a comprehensive aviation education program that serves nearly 500 students, and has a reputation for quality while seeking to provide qualified aviation professionals who can fill a global shortage of pilots. The program has grown from a fleet of only four Cessna 150s to more than 24 aircraft ranging from the Cessna 172 Skyhawk to the high-performance Beechcraft B58 Baron, and includes a state-of-the art flight simulation programs.

To meet the needs of the present and future, the school has developed a multi-phase renovation plan, which includes construction of an aviation center at Skyhaven Airport to house the UCM flight school, FBO/terminal as well as offices, instructional spaces, a dispatch area, a flight planning room and accommodations for public use. Learn more about this effort by visiting ucmfoundation.org/airport-renovation.

For more information about UCM’s “Fly-In Drive-In,” contact Ashley Windsor, assistant chief flight instructor in the UCM School of Aviation, at awindsor@ucmo.edu or 660-543-4557.