The Bandit Flight Team, based at Raleigh Exec, flies over the airport during Family Day 2022. The Bandits perform on October 7 before the NC State football game in Raleigh and have confirmed their participation again this year for Family Day, though the actual time for the Family Day flyover has not yet been set. (Photo by Chip Pate)

Family Day @ the Jetport, an annual community aviation celebration, returns to Raleigh Exec on Saturday, Oct. 7, with aircraft displays, a Bandits Flight Team flyover, community group exhibits, food trucks and more.

The free event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and features corporate jets, vintage airplanes and recreational aircraft. The Bandits Flight Team is currently scheduled to perform a flyover and, for the first time, Central Electric Membership Corp. will operate an activities center where youth can enjoy aviation-related games, have their photos taken as pilots and see a bucket truck and Tesla electric car.

“This is the third straight year we’ve held Family Day and it seems to grow a little more every time,” said Airport Director Bob Heuts. “We offered a more elaborate event years ago, but had to pause that because of ongoing airport expansion projects and then the pandemic. But since it’s returned, Family Day seems to have found a very dedicated and enthusiastic following.”

Family Day was created to introduce young people to aviation, invite everyone out to see the rapidly expanding airport and thank the community for their support.

Since then, other public events have been added to the airport’s annual calendar. Young Eagles Day, offered with EAA Chapter 1114 based in Apex, provides free discovery flights for youth and was held most recently in June. And the airport has just announced Behind the Scenes at Raleigh Exec, described as “a small-group, insider’s airport tour for youth.” In fact, the first quarterly tour will be offered as part of Family Day.

Community groups also visit the airport regularly. In August, Raleigh Exec hosted local Boy Scout Troop 952 as they worked on aviation merit badges and the Kitty Hawk Ninety-Nines association of licensed women pilots as they planned an upcoming Girl Scout Day presentation.

Heuts said events like these are part of the airport’s ongoing effort to serve the regional community and help everyone learn more about general aviation. “People are fascinated with aviation and it’s becoming more important every day. But there aren’t that many opportunities for them to see different kinds of aircraft up-close and maybe even get a chance to sit inside the cockpit.

“When you see their reactions — especially for the children — you can see why this is such a valuable event.”

More than a dozen airplanes and helicopters are currently scheduled to be on display — along with an ambulance and fire engine. Pilots will often be available to talk with guests and answer any questions about the aircraft and flying experience.

Family Day is offered free of charge with financial assistance from area companies and organizations. They include gold sponsors Campbell Oil, Carolina Commercial Contractors, Central Electric Membership Corp., Chatham Economic Development Corporation, Elite Aircraft Services, Lee-Moore Capital, Mertek Solutions, Michael Baker International, M.R. Stoner Electric and Sanford Area Growth Alliance.

Also, silver sponsors Bankers Insurance, Brad Womble Aviation, Chatham Park, Express Employment International, First Bank, MAG Aerospace, RS&H, Sanford Contractors and Wings of Carolina Flying Club.

Because some aviation exhibitors must wait closer to an event date to confirm their participation, additional aircraft may be on display — with some displays and events subject to change based on weather conditions. For the latest updates on Family Day, follow Raleigh Exec on Instagram, Facebook, X and Threads.