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‘Blue Angels’ air show slated for Sept. 8-9

The Little Rock Air Force Base Air Show will soon be upon us.

Lt. Col. Mike Kirby, Air Show Director of the Little Rock Air Force Base’s 2012 Air Power Arkansas Show, told members of the Jacksonville Advertising and Promotions Commission on July 16 that the event is slated for Sept. 8-9 at the base.

“The world-famous Blue Angels flight demonstration team is the pride of the U.S. Navy,” Kirby said. “Performing high precision maneuvers in air-tight formations, coupled with the fast-paced high-performance maneuvers of its’ two solo pilots, their demonstration is guaranteed to impress any crowd.”

The Blue Angels have performed for more than 414 million fans since the team was created in 1946.

Kirby said the U.S. Navy Blue Angels support aircraft “Fat Albert” will perform a gravity defying demonstration that will leave air show fans in awe.

“Fat Albert cruises at a speed of more than 320 knots (approximately 360 miles per hour) at 27,000 feet,” he said.

Another feature at the air show will be the U.S.A.F.’s Heritage Flight program that was established in 1997 to commemorate the Air Force’s 50th anniversary. It involves today’s state-of-the-art fighters flying in formation with World War II, Korean Conflict and Vietnam Conflict vintage fighters. The P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang from the Heritage Foundation wiill join the F-4 Phantom to commemorate the heritage of USAF aircraft.

People attending this year’s air show will see Mike Rinker of Elkins who was a former corporate pilot for NASCAR driver Bill Elliott and was a member of the NASCAR pit crew world champions in 1990. He is a member of the U.S. Unlimited Aerobatic Team. Michael has won five aircraft aerobatic championships since 2002. Mr. Rinker will be flying “Pink Floyd,” an aerobatic SU-26.

In addition, Otto The Helicopter is one of the most unique versatile air show acts in the world. “Otto provides air show fans the best entertainment value in the industry. During OTTO’s daytime comedy show he entertains the crowds by blowing bubbles, playing with his yo-yo, racing around barrels and picking them up, shooting smoke in all directions, towing banners, and more all while interacting with the announcer,” Kirby said.

The Black Daggers are the official U.S. Army Special Operations Command Parachute Demonstration Team. Their mission is to perform live aerial demonstrations in support of Army Special Operations community relations and recruiting. Comprised of volunteers from throughout Army Special Operations the Black Daggers have diverse backgrounds and are skilled in various military specialties including Special Forces, Rangers, civil affairs, psychological operations and signal and support. The team represents the professionalism and dedication of special operations forces, he said.

The SkyHawks are the Canadian Forces Parachute Demonstration Team based at CFB Trenton in Trenton, Ontario. They are a sub-unit of the Canadian Forces Land Advanced Warfare Centre.The team consists of ten permanent members and nine temporary members from the Regular and Reserve Forces. They act as ambassadors for the Canadian Forces at special events, airshows and schools. They are easily recognizable because of their parachutes resembling the Canadian flag, according to Kirby.

He added the Super Hornet Tactical Demonstration, or “Tacdemo” is rapidly becoming world renowned as an awesome display of thrilling high-speed, high “G” maneuvers coupled with heart-stopping slow-speed performance. The crew from the VFA-106 Gladiators will fly this two-seat Strike Fighter as close to the “edge of the envelope” as safely possible while amazing even the most experienced aviators. The Tacdemo highlights the incredible power and grace of the Super Hately known as the “Rhino”.

The CF-18 National Demonstration Team returns for the 2012 air show season with one mission: to deliver spectacular performances throughout the summer.

“This year, the 2012 schedule has our team participating in 15 Canadian air shows with two taking place in Canada’s North (Yellowknife and Inuvik), four shows in the United States, as well as a deployment to South America,” Kirby said.

In addition, the C-130 Hercules is the prime transport for air dropping troops and equipment into hostile areas.

“Airmen at Little Rock Air Force Base love to demonstrate the capabilities of the “Herk” and show off what they do best. They will demonstrate a cargo drop of container delivery system (CDS) bundles and will partner with Army paratroopers for a Hollywood-style mass paratrooper drop,” Kirby said.

Another feature will be John Klatt who has thrilled millions of air show spectators across America with a unique blend of precision, power and performance. He has served in the Air National Guard for more than 20 years — flying combat, air support and humanitarian missions throughout the world in the F-16 “Fighting Falcon” and the C-130 “Hercules” aircraft.

Neal Darnell’s Air National Guard Flash Fire II Jet Truck has been a crowd favorite with record setting performances in front of huge crowds. As driver/pilot of the World’s Fastest Jet Powered Truck, Neal has been involved in the Air Show Business nearly 10 years. Neal’s ANG Flash Fire II Jet truck is fashioned after a pickup truck and has set airshow speed records of 375 mph

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