PITTSBURG — On Thursday, people will be able to watch aircraft land in Pittsburg as part of the Fly Kansas Air Tour.

Approximately 40 pilots will fly in to the Atkinson Municipal Airport. They will arrive at 11 a.m., and it is suggested for the attendees to show up by 10:30 a.m. to watch them fly in. The public is free to attend. 

Area schools will also bring in approximately 250 fifth graders who will be able to see the aircraft up close, meet pilots and learn about aviation careers. According to a release from the Kansas Department of Transportation, KDOT has partnered with the Kansas Commission on Aerospace Education (KCAE) to promote aviation and economic growth.

“Aviation is a profession we will cherish for a lifetime and we believe there is no higher calling than to share the spark of excitement that inspires hope for a bright future in all our Kansas youth,” said Lindsey Dreiling, President of the Kansas Commission on Aerospace Education in the release.  

According to Kansas Department of Transportation Director of Aviation Bob Brock, aviation is a growing career field in Kansas. 

“There are more opportunities than we've seen in decades to get good, lasting job,” he said.  

Career opportunities include aviation manufacturing, aircraft maintenance and piloting. The development of technology has created even more job opportunities in aviation careers, Brock said. 

“We want to hurry up and get Kansas people in the front of the line,” Brock said. 

People interested in learning more about aviation careers can contact KDOT Division of Aviation at 785-296-2553.

This year’s events take place in Wellington, Pittsburg, Garnett and Concordia on Thursday, Rooks County, Goodland, Hays and Kingman on Friday; and Benton, Abilene and Wichita on Saturday.  

“Local airports improve the health of communities around the state of Kansas through vital emergency services and important economic development roles to residents,” said Julie Lorenz, Kansas Secretary of Transportation said in the release. “KDOT is pleased to work in tandem with its aviation partners to show the importance as well as the fun side of aviation with this annual air tour.”