Air Force F-16s To Join Wings Over Tyler Air Show
By JACQUE HILBURN-SIMMONS
Elite military F-16s will be among the planes featured in next month's Wings Over Tyler Air Show, organizers said Monday.
The fighter aircraft is part of the Viper West aerial demonstration team that is part of the United States Air Force.
"We got the go-ahead late Friday afternoon," said Carolyn Verver, His-toric Aviation Memorial Museum board president. "This is a big, big deal."
The July 3 air show is expected to include about four hours of jaw-dropping aerobatic stunts, rumbling flyovers and an explosive Pearl Harbor re-enactment, the first event of this magnitude at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport, organizers said.
Proceeds will benefit the Alzheimer's Alliance of Smith County and Texas Wounded Warrior.
"They will bring in two F-16s," Ms. Verver said Monday. "One performs, one is a backup, but they travel in pairs. It will be the highlight of the show."
F-16s, described as a lightweight day fighter, can travel at speeds reported in excess of 1,500 miles per hour, records show.
More than 20,000 people are expected to turn out to see the fighters and other aircraft featured in the show, which also includes vintage planes from World War II and jets from Korea, Vietnam and today.
To accommodate the pilots' tight schedule of planned holiday appearances, air entertainment is to begin at noon, earlier than initially planned.
Gates open at 9 a.m. so visitors can see the aircraft before the show starts.
Schedule tweaks are common in these types of events, but especially in aviation, said Randa Conner, Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce Aviation Committee chairman.
"Aviation is a very interesting business," Ms. Conner said. "Nothing is set in stone, and things can change at the last minute" to adjust to schedule changes.
Those who want to meet air show performers can attend a special pre-event "meet the pilots" gala planned for July 2 at the Historic Aviation Memorial Museum.
Ms. Verver said every effort will be made to assist the unit, scheduled to perform in Tyler and then depart for another appearance in Tacoma, Wash.
"The F-16s are aircraft fighters of today," Ms. Verver said. "This is a special squadron. We're really blown away -- this will make the show."
The planes will land in Tyler on June 29 or 30 and then will perform a practice run over Tyler or the Cedar Creek Lake area July 1.
People interested in seeing the craft can view them only at a distance, unless otherwise directed by airport personnel.
The evening pilot's gala July 2 at the HAMM museum will provide an opportunity for people to observe the planes leave for a performance at Cedar Creek Lake, organizers said.
"When they come back, pilots are invited to join the gala," Ms. Verver said.
The come-and-go event is planned for 5 to 10 p.m. July 2 at the aviation museum, 150 Airport Drive. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children at the door. No advance tickets will be sold.
Other performers are expected to include Randy Ball with his "Check Six" Mig-17F; Tora! Tora! Tora!; Jan Collmer's EXTRA 300L acrobatic plane; the Trojan Phlyers T-28 flight demonstration team; Herb and Ditto's Smoke Ring Acrobatics; A-10 Warthogs from Barksdale Air Force Base reserve unit -- Shreveport; C-130 from the Fort Worth Air National Guard; B-25 "Devil Dog," courtesy of the Commemorative Air Force -- Georgetown; L-29 Delfin; Matt Yonkin's Twin Beech; Chris Avery's CAF F4U Corsair; Curtiss P40 and Jack Pyland Jumper with a 45-foot American flag.
Cash-only admission is $25 per car to park at the airport, and there is no limit on the numbers of occupants, according to event planners.
Off-site parking is $5 per person and includes a bus ride to the airport. Overflow parking sites include Greater Tyler Auto Auction, Harvey Convention Center and other locations to be announced closer to the event.
The air show is sponsored by the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce with presenting sponsor Tyler Morning Telegraph.
Sponsorship opportunities for the air show still are available. For a complete list of sponsors, visit www.wingsovertylerairshow.com