Leader Blues

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

TOP STORY > >Base will welcome all to big air show

Little Rock Air Force Base’s open house is set for Saturday and Sunday and is open to the public.

The open house gives the base an opportunity to showcase its mission as the world’s largest C-130 training base and dazzle spectators with aerial and ground events from all branches of the armed forces from varying eras. The host unit is the 19th Airlift Wing, commanded by Brig. Gen. Rowayne Schatz.

The Navy’s premier aerial demonstration team, the Blue Angels, will highlight this year’s show, which boasts a “Combat Airlift” theme.

The Blue Angels performed at the 2006 open house, and more than 250,000 spectators were in attendance. This year’s show is expected to be even bigger.

Also performing at the open house will be the Army’s parachute team, the Golden Knights.

The T-28 Warbird formation/acrobatics team, also known as “Trojan Horsemen,” will perform their acrobatics overhead.

Shockwave — a jet truck that has a record speed of 376 miles per hour on a mile-long runway — will also be performing.

Also in this year’s lineup will be the Viper West F-16 demonstration team; the Air Force’s Air Combat Command Heritage Flight; the C-17, the newest airlifter to enter the Air Force’s inventory; Fat Albert Airlines, an all-Marine Corps crew of three officers and five enlisted personnel who operate the Lockheed-Martin C-130T Hercules; Mike Rinker and his SU-26 “Pink Floyd” aircraft, and the disabled American Veterans’ B-52 “Special Delivery.”

This year’s announcer will be an Emmy Award-winner, Rob Reider, who narrates air shows around the country. “Stepping Stones to Aviation,” a program designed to enrich the education of children by introducing them to the experience of flight in a hands-on program, will let children climb into the realistic simulators, pedal down a colorful runway and taxi into a controlled airspace.

Static displays for ground-based viewing include the F-22 Raptor, the F-15 Eagle, KC-135 Stratofortress, OH-58 Kiowa Warrior, EC-130 J Commando Solo, C-17, C-21, C-130E and J, B-25 and much more.

The base’s open house — more commonly known as air show — is the largest single spectator event in Arkansas, attracting people from not only around the state, but from adjoining states as well and is the largest open house in the south central region.

In what is known as a “combat capabilities” exercise, C-130 aircraft from the base will show what they do in combat: paratroopers will jump in a display of military power and will drop heavy equipment and other cargo.

Five hours of flying and military-related entertainment for attendees will be available at this year’s two-day air show/open house. Also available for spectators to participate in will be the Army’s “Virtual Army Experience.” Participants will employ teamwork, rules of engagement, leadership and high-tech equipment in a virtual Army mission.

Souvenir, food and information booths will also be available. As always, admission and parking are free. For everyone’s safety, all visitors and their vehicles will be subject to search. No coolers, pets, or backpacks are allowed at the open house. Due to limited parking, RVs will not be allowed on base.

The Little Rock Air Force Base is located off Hwy. 67/167, at the air base exit.

Gates will open at 8:30 a.m. and close at 4:30 p.m.

View continuous updates to this year’s air show lineup and find more information at www.littlerock.af.mil or call 501-987-2278 for a recorded informational message.