This year's air show biggest ever

Posted: Wednesday, April 26, 2000

Military bombers, fighter planes, helicopters, experimental aircraft and a precision flying team from over the border will fill the airspace over Juneau this weekend during the Southeast Alaska Regional Airshow.

Boasting more than 30 military and civilian aircraft from around the nation and a performance by the Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds, event coordinators expect this year's event to be Juneau's largest show to date.

``This is a great chance for Alaskans to see Alaska military equipment that you would never see and to meet your friends and neighbors that are flying the planes,'' said coordinator Mark Farmer. ``We have aircraft from every Alaskan military service unit coming down for this event.''

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas Case will be grand marshal.

``He's responsible for a large chunk of the planet. We're lucky to have him,'' said Farmer.

Along with demonstrations and fly-bys, spectators can also board some of the aircraft.

``People will be able to go onboard, touch and feel the planes as well as sit in the pilot seat,'' said Jeannie Johnson, who is co-chairing the show. ``It's not only the kids who like to climb on board. Big people like it too.''

The event boasts bombers, fighter planes and the biggest aircraft in the show, a Galaxy Transport plane. But the headliners remain the Snowbirds.

``The Snowbirds are one of the greatest precision flying teams in the world. They put on a very tight show - nine planes, flying low in perfect precision. It's pretty dramatic,'' Farmer said.

The show officially takes flight at 10 a.m. Saturday, over the Juneau Airport and ends 5 p.m. on Sunday. The Snowbirds are scheduled at 4 p.m., Saturday, but will also perform a short arrival show at about 2 p.m. Thursday. A Coast Guard helicopter rescue demonstration will be at 10 a.m. Sunday and can been seen from Marine Park.

Food and $5 raffle tickets for assorted prizes, including two first-class Alaska Airlines tickets, will be available at the airport.

``The citizens of the United States already paid for them (the military aircraft in the show). They should come down and see them,'' said co-chairman Dick Rountree. ``It's a good opportunity to see the aircraft.''

The air show is supported by donations, contributions from local businesses and the proceeds of the raffle. The entire event is free.

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