By Amy Rea

Every year in July, there’s an event out at Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie: the Minnesota Air Expo.

Air Expo

(credit: Amy Rea)

I went once many years ago, but as I live close enough to Flying Cloud Airport that I can sit on my deck and see some of the planes fly overhead during those weekends (especially cool when they’re flying in formation), I haven’t attended in a long while. This year, I thought I’d venture over and see what was happening.

airex 6 Wander MN: The Air Expo

(credit: Amy Rea)

The show itself seemed smaller than I remembered—has anyone attended it in the past decade or so that could shed some light on that? Still, there were plenty of vintage planes to admire.

airex 9 Wander MN: The Air Expo

(credit: Amy Rea)

In spite of the fact that it was a blisteringly hot day (which I guess has been most of them this summer), serious fans brought umbrellas and beach chairs and coolers to sit and enjoy the sights and sounds of planes taking off, flying formation, and landing again.

airex 8 Wander MN: The Air Expo

(credit: Amy Rea)

There were helicopter rides for a fee, and for those who could cough up more money, a ride in a more vintage model. Also for a small fee was the chance to crawl through a B-17.

airex 1 Wander MN: The Air Expo

(credit: Amy Rea)

And I do mean crawl. There’s not a lot of room to spare in one of these babies.

airex 2 Wander MN: The Air Expo

(credit: Amy Rea)

It was fascinating to be aboard a piece of history. We could take a good look at the cockpit, as well as some of the weaponry.

airex 3 Wander MN: The Air Expo

(credit: Amy Rea)

Note the rapt attention these kids are paying to the explanation of how the gunner would fly in this tiny compartment beneath the plane. For his sake, hopefully there were no belly landings.

airex 4 Wander MN: The Air Expo

(credit: Amy Rea)

There was plenty of food and drink available for purchase, and a collection of bouncy houses for kids who, in spite of the weather, were more than happy to burn off some steam that way.

The next Expo will be mid-July 2013. Watch the Air Expo website for future details.

What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Sunday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.


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