Amid the bustle of families and festival-goers, VNY’s own mascot Vinny made his debut with stylish enthusiasm. Thousands of people from all over the San Fernando Valley made their way to the busy street fairs in Encino and Sherman Oaks this past October, where adults and kids alike enjoyed live music, local artisans, businesses and community organizations, food trucks, family fun zones, raffles and more. But few things stood out more than Vinny’s bright orange wings and friendly smile.
Vinny, whose name is based on the three-letter Van Nuys Airport designation VNY, began as a hands-on educational exhibit for elementary and middle school students to learn about the working components of an aircraft up close and in person. Designed to be airborne, the original two-seat aircraft was built from 1973 to 1976 and retired after 53 hours of flight. After retirement, Vinny was donated to the North Valley Occupational Center Aviation Campus, which in turn donated it to Van Nuys Airport in 1998. Though his home remains on the VNY airfield, Vinny still loves to get out and meet his neighbors. Keep a lookout at your next community event – you never know when you might bump into this high-flying friend!