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updated: 8/15/2014 11:05 PM

Chicago Executive Airport holding open house

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  • Chicago Executive Airport in Wheeling covers 411 acres.

       Chicago Executive Airport in Wheeling covers 411 acres.
    GEORGE LECLAIRE | Staff Photographer

  • Chicago Executive Airport in Wheeling has more than 300 aircraft based on the field and approximately 200,000 takeoffs and landings occur annually.

       Chicago Executive Airport in Wheeling has more than 300 aircraft based on the field and approximately 200,000 takeoffs and landings occur annually.
    GEORGE LECLAIRE | Staff Photographer

  • On Dec. 26, 1986, the airport changed from private to public ownership as the City of Prospect Heights and the village of Wheeling purchased Palwaukee from Priester Aviation. It is now known as Chicago Executive Airport.

       On Dec. 26, 1986, the airport changed from private to public ownership as the City of Prospect Heights and the village of Wheeling purchased Palwaukee from Priester Aviation. It is now known as Chicago Executive Airport.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • In the Roaring Twenties, Chicago Executive Airport in Wheeling was a grassy 40-acre plot, with dirt and sod runways, known as Gauthier's Flying Field.

       In the Roaring Twenties, Chicago Executive Airport in Wheeling was a grassy 40-acre plot, with dirt and sod runways, known as Gauthier's Flying Field.
    DANIEL WHITE | Staff Photographer

 
Submitted by Chicago Executive Airport

Chicago Executive Airport (www.chiexec.com) is inviting the public for a rare opportunity to be on its runways and taxiways during its open house from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30.

Beginning with the "Run the Runway" 5K and 1 Mile Walk, this unique event for all ages raises funds for scholarships awarded through the Chicago Area Business Aviation Association Scholarship Foundation (www.cabaa.com).

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From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., after the 5K, there will be a variety of Chicago-area food trucks and a free aircraft display.

"How cool is it that we get to be on the actual runways? It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance to do this," said Sophie Shepley of Arlington Heights. "I'm signed up for the 5K while the rest of my family will be walking -- and you better believe we're all going to hit the food trucks afterward and take in the airplane display. Plus, it's for a good cause … and what bragging rights!"

Chicago Area Business Aviation Association (CABAA) is a grass-roots organization formed by business aviation professionals. The group is proud of its ability to mentor young aviation enthusiasts. This includes offering a number of scholarships valued at nearly $100,000 through the proceeds of this and other fundraising events.

Like most airports across our nation, Chicago Executive Airport (PWK) was once a modest grass strip created by early aviation enthusiasts in the days when airplanes were a novelty and travel by air was an uncommon luxury. In the Roaring Twenties the grassy 40-acre plot, with dirt and sod runways, was known as Gauthier's Flying Field.

In 1928, the field was renamed Palwaukee, after the two highways that formed its southern and eastern borders. The airport was purchased in 1953 by George Priester who over the next 33 years expanded and developed the facility until 1986, when it was purchased by the neighboring towns of Wheeling and Prospect Heights.

Renamed Chicago Executive Airport in 2006, to more accurately reflect its regional importance, the facility now covers 411 acres and is a key building block and powerful economic engine for both communities, as well as the surrounding area.

Today a thriving Chicago Executive Airport serves the general and business aviation sector, and is the third busiest airport in the Chicago area, after O'Hare International and Midway. Approximately 300 aircraft are based on the field and approximately 200,000 takeoffs and landings occur annually.

For more information and to register for the "Run the Runway" 5K and 1 Mile Walk, visit chiexec.com.

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