The world looks a whole lot different from 1,000 feet in the air, and Ashland Airport Appreciation Day organizers want to share that experience.

This Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. the airport hosts its 15th annual open house with airplane and helicopter rides, along with pancake breakfasts, barbecue lunches, ScienceWorks astronaut exhibits, remote control helicopter shows and tours of emergency equipment such as the Mercy Flight's Air Ambulance and the Jackson County sheriff's Mobile Command Unit.

Brittany Wise of Brim Aviation in Ashland said the purpose of the event is to educate people about aviation and their city-owned airport.

"It's mostly for the kids. They love going up in the airplanes," she said. "But even the adults enjoy getting to go inside the emergency service vehicles."

A local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association, as part of its Young Eagles Program, is flying kids ages eight to 17 free of charge between 9:30 a.m. and noon.

Richard Hendrickson, an Ashland Airport commissioner and member of EAA, said the group offers the free airplane rides as a way to get young people interested in aviation, either as a hobby or a career.

For people not falling into that age group, Brim Aviation, this year's sponsor of the event, is offering helicopter rides for $35 per person between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and Skinner Aviation will charge $30 per person for airplane rides at the same time.

New to this year's event are 10 hands-on space exhibits from ScienceWorks.

Ginny Auer, interim executive director of ScienceWorks, said the exhibits are part of a National Science Foundation-funded program to help kids get a sense of what astronauts do.

She said one exhibit is a heavy astronaut glove kids put on and then try to "fix equipment."

Entrance to the event and all of the exhibits are free. For more information, contact Brim Aviation at 482-1095 or brimaviation@qwest.com.

Reach reporter at 482-3456 x226 or .