Local Pilots Share Flying Passion with Children at Boshears Skyfest in Augusta, GA

This Article originally appeared on WJBF News Channel 6 website… You can view the orginal article here


Greg Connell, owner of A. Connell’s Heating & Air, has a passion for aviation.
“We have a big responsibility to be an ambassador and encourage and inspire the younger generation to get into aviation,” – Greg Connell ~ Owner of A. Connell’s Heating and Air


safeplaneBoshearsAugusta, GA – The planes finally took off at the Boshears Skyfest this weekend following a delay from the government shutdown in October.

Still, fans came out in the masses to get an up-close look at their favorite planes. There were especially a lot of children who came out to the event, which many pilots say are their biggest fans.

As the blades go round on these aircrafts, heads turn to see them take off.

Thousands of people came to Daniel Field Airport for the 21st Annual Boshears Skyfest to see some of the finest planes in the country.

This one was built in 1944 and was one of 500 for the British Royal Navy. The owner and pilot is Richard Epton, a native from the East Coast of England.

“My father and mother, they are both farmers and they always looked up from the fields and saw the airplanes and I did too as a young man, but I wanted to own one,” said Epton.

Epton got the chance to fly with a spitfire pilot when he was seven, and this weekend he shared his passion with other young children.

“I remember the kindness shown to me when I was his age, and that little boy may be the world’s greatest pilot because of a bit of kindness,” said Epton.

Air Show Pilot Greg Connell has been flying for 25 years and believes aviation is a dying breed.

“When I was younger, and especially when my parents were younger, there were no alternatives, the pilots were the heroes and the Norman Rockwell painting of the kid looking through the fence at the airport wanting to fly, now the kids have the Xbox, and they could care less,” said Connell.

Connell says it’s his duty to get children involved in flying.

“We have a big responsibility to be an ambassador and encourage and inspire the younger generation to get into aviation,” said Connell.

John Laughter is the proud owner of this Stearman, which was used in World War II as a primary trainer.

Laughter himself flew in the Navy for more than eight years, and then spent 30 years flying airlines, following the footsteps of his mother and father who were private pilots.

“We are always looking for kids who have a love of flying, and it’s a great career, and there’s always going to be a need for the pilots, and so the boys and the girls that I fly… I have flown a lot of them, a lot of us have, and I didn’t have anyone who just didn’t love flying in a Stearman,” said Laughter.

The proceeds from the event go back into the fund to help support next year’s show, and the extra money goes to support the Boys and Girls Club, the Boy Scouts, and the Youth Challenge Academy.