• August 22, 2014

Turnout for three-day airshow may top 30,000

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Posted: Monday, May 5, 2014 4:30 am

TEMPLE — The Central Texas Airshow 2014 wound up its spine-tingling aerobatic performances Sunday at Draughon-Miller Central Texas Regional Airport.

Expected to draw 30,000 people, the three-day event had a good turnout, said Bonnie Tamres-Moore, VIP director, who has been with the show for 10 years.

“Saturday was one of our busiest days ever,” she said.

There were a lot of high points to dazzle and amaze the onlookers, many of them spread along the runway in lawn chairs with umbrellas, straw hats and sunscreen. VIPs and wounded warriors enjoyed the shelter of a tent to stay cool.

Between aerial performances, vendors on the midway offered everything from T-shirts to sunglasses, and people lined up for sausage, lemonade and other refreshment. Before the live action part of the show, many attendees took photos of various aircraft in the static displays.

Among these were two B-25s, like the ones used in the 1942 raid on Tokyo. For $2 you could sit in the cockpit, and for a lot more you could take a ride. Helicopter rides also were available.

During the live action schedule, the announcer, Ray Norton, kept up a knowledgeable commentary on the acts, explaining to the crowd what the pilots were doing. As he said, he’s known most of them for years.

One of the exciting performances was by Gene Soucy and his wing walker, Teresa Stokes. The wings of their biplane have special safety devices, but that didn’t make it look any easier. Stokes did the “flying lady pass,” where she hangs by one knee and appears to be flying. As if to top that, she did the “headstand pass.”

Perhaps the most maneuverable aircraft in the show was the Extra 300L, flown by Jan Collmer of Dallas. Just about all of the pilots appeared to do whatever they wanted to with their particular aircraft. But Collmer took that to a higher level. It was like watching a bird show off, wowing the crowd.

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