Tuesday, September 07, 2010

TOP STORY > >Air show set for takeoff Oct. 9-10

Little Rock Air Force Base is expecting up to 250,000 people at its “Thunder Over the Rock” air show Oct. 9-10.

Gates will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. both days. Admission is free.

Main headliners are the Air Force Thunderbirds precision flying team and the Army Golden Knight parachute team.

Other attractions will include several C-130s, the Super Hornet, Canadian Skyhawks, Otto the Helicopter, Mike Rinker and “Pink Floyd,” Shockwave Jet Truck, Alabama Boys and “Tora, Tora, Tora” World War II fighter planes and others.

“’Thunder Over the Rock’ gives us the opportunity to showcase Team Little Rock and our C-130 combat airlift mission to our central Arkansas neighbors,” said Bob Oldham, 19th Airlift Wing chief of public affairs. “It’s a great deal, especially for families, because you can’t beat the price – admission and parking are free,” he said.

Local businesses are contributing $50,000 to make the air show possible.

The Thunderbirds began flying in 1953, making them almost as old as the Air Force, which was organized in 1947. The team includes 12 officers and 120 enlisted members.

They perform in 73 air shows a year in 11 F-16s. The Thunder-birds are assigned to Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas.

The Golden Knights have been parachuting together for 50 years. They have two 12-member teams that fly in a C-31A Troopship and perform 240 days a year.

The “Tora Tora Tora” re-creation involves several Japanese fighters and bombers simulating the Pearl Harbor attack.

In addition, “Tora” provides smoke, fire and explosions from the pyrotechnics team.

The Alabama Boys are a flying comedy team. Using a 1946 Piper J-3 Cub, this act begins as “farmer” Clem Cleaver climbs up on the announcer’s stand, demanding a flight lesson.

Later in the show, he “steals” the plane and takes off solo, with his whole crew chasing. “Grandpa” shoots off a tire to get him down.

Planes on display will include the A-10 Thunderbolt II Warthog, B-52 Stratofortress, F-16 Fighting Falcon and others.