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Ottumwa Stories: Take to the Skies in Ottumwa
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Ottumwa Stories: Take to the Skies in Ottumwa

From Ottumwa's first air show in 1911 to the Ottumwa Naval Air Station established in 1942, the city has a long and storied aviation history. Ottumwa celebrates this history every summer and Ottumwan’s mark their calendars with exciting and fun aviation events.


Imagine driving across the Des Moines River on one of Ottumwa’s many bridges and seeing the sky filled with hot air balloons. This three-day event in July includes balloon races, special shaped balloons, fireworks and all sorts of family fun activities including food, music, crafts, a 5K run, and even a kiddie tractor pull. Many people from all over enjoyed the Ottumwa Pro Balloon Races the weekend of July 12-15, 2018. People are already marking their calendars and making travel plans for next year’s performances.

FLY OTTUMWA   August 24th – August 26th 

Fly Ottumwa is Iowa’s premier family summer airshow. Hosted at the Ottumwa Regional Airport, Fly Ottumwa combines the world’s greatest aerial performers and their eye-popping, jaw dropping, heart stopping performances with family fun activities and community engagement to promote aviation.

To celebrate their 25th anniversary, Fly Iowa selected Ottumwa as their host city in 2017. Thanks to our community’s massive support and outreach, last year’s show was the largest on record for Fly Iowa, dazzling more than 20,000 attendees over the course of 3 days. Fly Ottumwa is our response to last year’s overwhelming success and continues to gain notoriety in the world of high-performance aviation as on the best new shows in the country.

Fly Ottumwa is an airshow focused on families. In addition to the spectacular stunts and aerial acrobatics, we have all kinds of activities that make this airshow a weekend that families will remember for years to come including, kids activity areas, unique/military aircraft on display, live music, and rides aboard aircraft.

This year, Fly Ottumwa continues our commitment to connect and inspire young people with a new initiative: Legacy Education Day. Supported by the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation, our goal is to introduce youth form Ottumwa and surrounding school districts to aviation in general and the IHCC Aviation program. Fly Ottumwa has put together a series of display stations throughout the Ottumwa airport grounds which will expose students to all aspects of career opportunities in the aviation field. Students will have the opportunity to view displays not available to the public. We believe this will be a fantastic opportunity for students who have any interest in aviation or just a curiosity to glean some valuable information from people who really know about the career.


The thrills kick off on Friday, August 24th with a night airshow and the Fly Ottumwa Jet Rally. On Saturday and Sunday, there is a full airshow with performances from ariel artists Skip Stewart, Aeroshell, Matt Younkins, Kyle Franklin, Susan Dacy, Mike Vaknin, Eric Egrin, and the U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt Demo Team.  There are also other activities including, fly-in breakfasts, airplane rides, kid zones, craft vendors, and live music.

Tickets are only $10 or $15 for a weekend pass. Kids 12 and under are free!


Photo Courtesy of Brent Taylor

One of Ottumwa’s hidden gems.  Located just a few short miles from town, The Air Power Museum's mission is to preserve aviation heritage as well as educate both present and future generations about that heritage.  The APM has over 20,000 square feet of display and storage space that showcases aircraft parts, aviation memorabilia, and history...a must stop for anyone interested in taking flight. The Airpower Museum also features a large collection of vintage and homebuilt aircraft, many of which are flown regularly.

Image credit: Fly Ottumwa

Leave a Comment

  1. Travel Iowa Team
    Travel Iowa Team
    Wow! These summer events in Ottumwa are exciting and impressive! Thanks for the post!
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