Overview & Background

Purdue Aviation Day (PAD) is an open access event welcome to community members, prospective students, industry partners, and aviation enthusiasts alike. The event focuses on sharing the passion of aviation through static aircraft displays, educational events, historic displays, guest speakers, and children's activities. What makes this event special is that it is planned and executed entirely by student leaders within the School of Aviation & Transportation!

Purdue Aviation Day 2020

Aviation Day 2020 is going to be held on April 18, 2020 from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM. It is held at the Purdue University Airport with activities held throughout the airport including Niswonger, the Terminal, and Hangar buildings. Aviation Day 2020 is on track to be our largest event since 1911. Backed by our Presenting Sponsor Envoy Air the entire student team behind the event is eager to present the final product to the public. This year’s theme is "The World Is Invited" Inviting everyone to Fly In, Drive In, or Walk In.

Guests can expected to enjoy a wide variety of aircraft displays from general aviation, military, historical, airlines, and more. Historical exhibits and guest speakers will be on site during the event to give the public a look at the history of aviation and how Purdue has influenced the past, present, and future of the aviation industry. The future of aviation will also be represented with exhibits and expert speakers in unmanned aviation. The younger generation of aspiring aviators will enjoy an entire area dedicated to youth and kids activities. Returning to Aviation Day this year is the fly-in breakfast that will be available before the main event to general aviation pilots who fly their aircraft into the event. Purdue Aviation Day has something for everyone, the students at Purdue Aviation Technology work hard all year long to ensure that everyone who visits the Purdue Airport will enjoy a day full of aviation fun.

Purdue Aviation Day

The History of Purdue Aviation Day

The first Purdue Aviation Day was held in 1911 on a grass landing strip where present day Elliot Hall is located. Nearly 17,000 spectators from the region gathered to watch as two biplanes took to the sky. Before Aviation Day 2016, students of the Department of Aviation Technology, now School of Aviation & Transportation Technology, held an annual “Pancake Fly-In”, but it was determined in 2015 that a second annual Purdue Aviation Day would be the perfect way to celebrate the school’s name change, enhance partnerships with industry, expand community participation, and inspire young aviators. The leaders of all Student Organizations within the School of Aviation & Transportation formed a committee to plan and implement an event that would last for years to come.

Purdue Aviation Day 2016 and 2017 featured activities and learning opportunities for all ages. Support from industry partners was represented in the form of static displays of various types of aircraft and informational booths for all to enjoy. Interactive exhibits featuring Purdue University aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, and aviation facilities gave prospective students and community members alike a glimpse into the School of Aviation and Transportation Technology. Historical exhibits provided by Purdue Archives gave our guests a look at the history of aviation at Purdue. Aviation students also inspire the next generation of aviators through a variety of aviation themed activities. In the last two years the event was attended by over 6,000 guests, over 50 general aviation aircraft, dozens of corporate sponsors, regional airliners, military aircraft, and so much more.

Purdue Airport


Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

© Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by ITaP

Trouble with this page? Disability-related accessibility issue? Please contact us at itap@purdue.edu.