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Carl Hopkins Aviation Expo Set for Recreation Complex in August; Several Activities Planned for Kids

March 25, 2021
Ed Waske built his first free flight glider when he was six years old.
By the time he was 12, he had moved on to building, painting and flying control line airplanes. At 18, he was flying radio control planes, then he went into the United States Air Force where he learned how to fly. Currently he owns his own company at North Central West Virginia Airport.
Waske’s passion for airplanes began at an early age and he turned it into a career.
Now, the CEO of Engine & Airframe Solutions Worldwide, is helping to put together an event to show others they can experience a similar path that he has.
The Carl Hopkins Aviation Expo is scheduled for Aug. 20-21 at the Bridgeport Sports Recreation Complex.
Plans are to include the nearby Airport in the Expo as well, where visitors can see full-size aircraft and helicopters.
At the Rec Complex there will be a ton of activities including: Basic airplane flight, control line flying, radio control flight simulator, basic rocket flight and basic drone flight.
Kids, ages 6-to-18 will receive a free Balsa glider and there will be a competition with prizes for whose glider will fly the farthest or longest while staying airborne.
“If we get one or two kids into this and pursue an interest in aviation, then it’s a success,” Waske said.
The roots of the expo can be traced to 2019 when Waske and some of his colleagues and fellow model enthusiasts with the Flying Wing Nutz model club (based out of St. Marys)  met with some students within Harrison County.
“It started off with attending a Harrison County Board of Education meeting about aerospace education and trying to get kids ready degrees and colleges and things like that and I brought up during that meeting that you need to look at the younger kids and model aviation has gotten people involved in the career,” Waske said.
“So that led to us giving a demonstration to five Harrison County middle schools. We had five students, from each school, where we showed them how to make a pie plate into an airplane and showed them how to make it fly. We had a little bit of a competition and then we gave a little power point display on how that can lead into aviation jobs.
“The kids, they really don’t know all the possibilities out there.”
Waske said initial plan was to do more school presentations in 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic prevented that from happening.
Waske recently lost a good friend that he flew planes with to brain cancer and his friend’s wife and family wanted to try and help get kids interested in model aviation. One option that was discussed was doing something with the Academy of Model Aeronautics, which is based out of Muncie, Indiana, has about 200,000 members and has all kinds of programs for kids and adults.
“The other option was, ‘Wait a minute, what if we have a model event here,’” Waske said.
That was in August of 2020 and he’s been planning this summer’s expo ever since.
Funding for it received a boost last week when the Benedum Airport Authority approved a donation of $2,500.
The two-day event will feature free admission. Waske said fundraising efforts will go to helping will supplies and gifts for the kids.
“It keeps going forward,” Waske said. “We’ve got 50 percent of it raised. The whole idea is to let the kids see this, see what’s out there for them.”
The expo is named in honor of Carl Hopkins, a Clarksburg native, who formed the state’s first model aviation club in 1928.
To view the flyer for the expo, click HERE
More information on the Flying Wing Nutz can be found HERE
Editor's Note: Top and bottom photos of model airplanes courtesy of the Flying Wing Nutz website. Middle photo is of Waske at a recent meeting at the airport.