The wonders of aeronautics take flight this weekend during the annual Portland Jetport Aviation Expo. This interactive event offers an opportunity to tour historic and modern aircraft, watch aviation demonstrations and take a flight over downtown Portland.

“The people who come out really enjoy themselves,” said Kevin McNamara, who coordinates the event for the Portland Jetport. “It’s very family-friendly. It’s a chance to let folks know what goes on at the airport.”

A wide assortment of aircraft will be on the runway for the public to view and tour, including:

A KC-135 air refueling tanker.

A Blackhawk med-evac helicopter.

An E-2 Navy early warning aircraft.

A SNJ Navy trainer from World War II.

A C-47 “Gooney Bird” military transport used to drop paratroopers during World War II.

A B-25 bomber flown in World War II by a five-star general.

On Saturday afternoon (at a time airport officials declined to disclose in an effort to avoid overcrowding), a B-2 Stealth Bomber will perform a couple of fly-bys of the airport.

“It’s spectacular,” McNamara said. “It’s shaped like a boomerang with a jagged back edge. It looks like a UFO. It’s very impressive.”

For those who want to take to the skies themselves, there will be two helicopters and a bi-plane offering short sightseeing flights for a fee over downtown Portland.

Folks who would rather observe from the ground will have plenty to see as well.

One not-to-miss event will be the Plane Pull on Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m. A benefit for the MS Society, the event will feature teams from local businesses attempting to pull a 72-ton FedEx Boeing 757 for a distance of 10 feet.

“The hard part is getting it started,” McNamara said. “Each pull lasts less than 10 seconds.”

Following the competition, the plane will be available for tours.

Throughout the day on both Saturday and Sunday, the Chuting Eagles Powered Parachute Demonstration Team will perform formation maneuvers.

“I’d describe it as a flying go-cart,” McNamara said. “Instead of wings, it has a parachute. They can only operate with less than 15 knots of wind. If it’s a very windy day, they won’t be able to operate.”

Also buzzing the skies will be miniature planes and helicopters operated by the Propsnappers Radio Controlled Aircraft Club. These planes are a serious step up from what you can buy at the mall. Some come with retractable landing gear; others have wingspans measuring up to 8 feet.

Spectators will want to train their eyes more than two miles in the air to see the aerobatics of the Skydive New England team. The six-person team will jump both days, and will have smoke trails attached to their legs to make them more visible from the ground.

Other attractions include displays of World War II equipment by the Airborne Re-enactors, and a simulated fire response from the Portland Jetport Fire Department.

Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at:

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