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Eighty years of flight history celebrated

Vintage planes will be displayed during airport’s anniversary. Photo by Rick Tobin

Vintage planes will be displayed during airport’s anniversary. Photo by Rick Tobin

Lowcountry Regional Airport, located just off Highway 17 behind the National Guard Armory in Walterboro, will celebrate its 80 years of operation on Saturday, June 15.

In honor of this momentous occasion, the Lowcountry Regional Airport will simulate a celebration that reflects the original event that was held on June 15, 1933, exactly eighty years, to mark the original dedication of what was once known as the C.C. Anderson Landing Field.

The public is more than welcome at this event, which starts at 10:30 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m. A program will be held from 11-11:45 a.m. to pay homage to those who made the opening of the airfield 80 years ago possible, and for all the growth and modernization the airport, now the largest general aviation airport in the state, has undergone.

City of Walterboro Mayor Bill Young, who will take part in the event, noted, “From humble beginnings eight decades back, our airport has become a model for the region and our state, and has opened many doors for tourism and economic development in our immediate and nearby communities that would not have otherwise been possible.”

Airport Manager Tommy Rowe added, “Our success is due, in part, to the full support of the Walterboro-Colleton County Airport Commission. Our airport is fast becoming a ‘state of the art’ cog in the FAA’s new NEXTGEN Aviation Transportation System, and now we also have a new ADS-B tower and ILS system enabling pilots to fly precision instrument approaches to, and land at, our airport in most weather conditions. Our runways were recently resurfaced, and our primary runway was extended to make it safer for larger jets, allowing commercial jet traffic up to and including a Boeing 737.”

Other activities planned for the celebration include the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) members, who will provide Young Eagle flights to youths between the ages of eight and 18. Flights last between 15 and 20 minutes. Each individual who chooses to take a plane ride will receive an official Young Eagles logbook, signed by the plane’s pilot. Flights are free, but parental permission is required. More information can be found at www.youngeagles.org. To schedule, parents should contact Roger Medlin, operations manager, at 843-549-2549, or acpilot.roger@gmail.com.

There will also be flight demonstrations, and the Civil Air Patrol Color Guard will march in formation. After the formal ceremony, hot dogs, hamburgers, and beverages will be served. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs for on-the-lawn seating.

The Lowcountry Regional Airport is the largest general aviation airport in South Carolina, with three runways ranging in length from 5,500 feet to 6,007 feet. Located just one mile from the city’s historic district, the airport is also a mere four miles from Interstate 95 with access from three different exits. The airport also has a geographic advantage to Charleston and Savannah, and the Georgia ports, where there are two international airports, the Charleston Air Force Base, SPAWAR (the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Engineering Center), Global Aeronautics, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, and the formidable Boeing Dreamliner plant facility. Both Charleston and Savannah are about an hour away by car. Closer to home, nearby Beaufort is the home of the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, affording the airport access to highly trained aviation technicians. Beaufort, like Charleston and Savannah, is also approximately 45 minutes away by car. For more information, visit www.lowcountryregionalairport.com, or contact the City of Walterboro by phone at 843-782-1000, by email at info@walterborosc.org, or visit www.walterborosc.org.