Even the showers that started the day and came back at the end of the show couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of either the performers or the large crowd at Richard B. Russell Regional Airport.
Rob Skelton, one of the organizers, said the showers actually kept the temperature down, which made it a little more bearable on Admiral John Towers Field.
“It makes for a little more challenging of an air show with regards to the clouds and being able to maneuver around those and fly safely,” said Skelton.
Aerobatic champion Michael Goulian agreed that Saturday’s conditions were a bit of a challenge.
“I like about 3,000 feet of clouds and we had about 1,900 feet, so wherever you could see a space in the clouds is where I was aiming for,” Goulian said. “It was probably good for the crowd but you just make do for the conditions.”
Like many of the family attendees at the air show Saturday, the Hubenthal children were thrilled by the aerial acrobatics performed by the pilots in planes like the F/A-18 Super Hornet and the single-engine plane painted with a Jelly Belly jelly beans paint job.
Roane Hubenthal, 9, thought the performance of Kent Pietsch in his 1941 Jelly Belly Interstate Cadet was one of the best of the day. He especially enjoyed the antics of “pieces” of the plane falling off randomly.
“It was my favorite plane,” Roane said, “because he was throwing stuff out of the window.”
Pietsch explained that in the first of his three acts the aileron falls off and tires fall off.
“I act like I don’t know how to fly, which isn’t too hard for me,” Pietsch said.
His second performance had him landing on top of a moving RV.
“I’ve only got about eight inches on each side to be able to see the rack, so its take a little bit of work,” Pietsch said. “Any gust of wind hits the side of that and pushes the airplane up.”
Gideon Hubenthal, 6, liked Otto the Helicopter much more.
“I like how it goes backwards and its blowing out bubble gum!” he exclaimed.
Gideon’s 7-year-old sister, Lanna Hubenthal, liked the helicopter too, simply because it “even has a tongue sticking out of its mouth.”
John Klatt, flying on behalf of the Air National Guard, said he had always had an interest in aerobatics.
“I did some competition aerobatics, and my wife encouraged me to get out there and make a living at it, so we’ve been doing this for the better part of a decade full time,” Klatt said, adding that he was impressed with the large crowd Saturday and said he hoped to see another big crowd today.
Skelton said the organizers were pleased with the crowds for the first two days of action.
“We really wanted to up the ante and bring in an event that we felt was worthy of the community,” Skelton said. “I think the word is out and we’re committed to doing more of this in the community so they’re only going to get better.”
The Canadian Snowbirds, goodwill ambassadors for the Royal Canadian Air Force and Canadian Forces, put the wraps on the second day of the air show with their precision formation flights, zooming in and out of the clouds that brought back the rains that sent the crowd scurrying for shelter under the wings of some of the massive aircraft on display at the air show.
8:30 a.m. — Parking & shuttle service starts
9 a.m. — Airport gates open
10:45 to 11:15 a.m. — Air show opening ceremonies
11:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Air show
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Auto show
5:30 p.m. — Airport gates close
6 p.m. — Shuttle service ends
*Reserved Permit Parking Only (*Russell Regional Airport)
*Limited Handicap Permit Parking: $10 (*Russell Regional Airport)
*Limited Overflow Parking: $15 (*Russell Regional Airport)
Staff Writer Kevin Myrick contributed to this report.