Thousands attended the sixth annual Aviation Days at the York Airport in Thomasville Sunday, according to event organizers.
Thousands attended the sixth annual Aviation Days at the York Airport in Thomasville Sunday, according to event organizers. (John A. Pavoncello —

After seeing Aviation Days at York Airport advertised last year, Robert Firestone wished he had gone.

So this year, four of his daughters and two of his grandsons took him to the sixth annual event for Father's Day.

While he was awaiting a ride on one of the airplanes, two of his daughters held his spot in line so he could explore several plane exhibits. Firestone, 78, of Dover Township said he particularly liked the World War II-era B-25 Mitchell bomber — and especially enjoyed hanging out with his young grandsons.

"I always enjoy being with them," he said.

And although grandson Brock Allison, 11, of Spring Grove said his favorite planes were the big "gunners" — the B-25 and the TBM Avenger, a torpedo bomber — he didn't go up in the sky like his grandfather.

"The ground's my friend," he said.

History: In addition to the planes, attendees could explore a historical "camp" that had all the basics from WWII: photos of pin-up girls, Ivory soap, old magazines and, of course, firearms.

A Gettysburg-based paratrooper reenactment group put on the display.

"These were weapons that were used to defend soldiers' lives, on both sides," said Evan Alessi, corporal armorer with the 82nd Airborne, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Company C.

The group held a firearms demonstration comparing the quickness of the Americans' semi-automatic rifles to the one-at-a-time bolt action of German rifles in WWII.

As they fired, the children put their hands over their ears.

"You don't learn this in school ... I am all for educating the youngsters," Alessi said.

'Worth it': After the demonstration, Dan Warner said his sons Corbin, 8, and Zander, 4, loved seeing war history in action — and they especially liked the planes.

"They wanna climb in them, they wanna climb on them, they wanna fly them — just everything to do with them," said Warner, 37, of Thomasville.

Thousands of people attended the two-day event, said Doug Trout, a private pilot with York Flight Training, which organizes Aviation Days.

One of the most popular planes is the B-25, he said, and the event is a way to celebrate aviation history.

"We got to the moon with aviation," Trout said.

Every Father's Day, the father of three spends his time at the event, doing what he loves, he said.

"You look around, you see a lot of little kids with their parents ... That's what makes it all worth it for us," Trout said.

— Reach Mollie Durkin at