Note: This story appears in the Wednesday, Sept. 25 newspaper on Page 1.
NEW PLYMOUTH — Air planes, motorcycles and hundreds of people filled the Vinton County Airport over the weekend.
The Vinton County Air Show, which was held on Sunday, Sept. 22, featured both new acts and favorite traditions.
After promising a return after last year’s hiatus, the Vinton County Pilots and Boosters had to jump through multiple hoops to make an air show happen. New Federal Aviation Administration regulations brought a few changes to the usual performance line-up. For example, Roger Barnes’ fan-favorite flying lawnmower was unable to make an appearance at this year’s show, but the Pilots and Boosters are hopeful it’ll be around at next year’s air show.
Many things didn’t change, though. Air show goers, for example, were able to get up close and personal with the performances. Visitors got to sit just a half-mile away from the action.
Second, the show still featured its iconic barbecue chicken dinners, and there still wasn’t an admission fee. Hundreds of vehicles collected by the air port as people, eager to see air planes, arrived.
As the show’s emcee Bill Henshaw (referred to on air show day as “Wild Bill”) describes it, it’s the “world’s biggest small air show.”
Multiple pilots entertained the crowd that day. Emerson Stewart lll, a veteran of the air show who hails from Red Stewart Field in Waynesville, performed in his Citabria Aircraft.
Brett Hunter, also from Red Stewart Field, performed in his RV6 plane. Robert Lecerda, of Cincinnati, jetted through the sky in his Pitts S2B stunt plane, and Robert Richards, of Downers Grove, Illinois, participated for the first time in his Pitts Special.
The show featured a special feat to close out the aerobatic portion of the afternoon. Hunter and Lerceda ascended into the air in a duet of sorts.
“Two wild and crazy guys out in smoke and airplanes on a Sunday afternoon,” Wild Bill said. “I call this ‘chaos.’ You’ll see why.”
Both pilots zipped around the sky during the same performance, looping, spinning and rolling up above. Many attendees pulled out their binoculars to see the aerobatics in action.
But the air show was not limited to just aircraft performances, as this year introduced a motorcycle stunt show. Mitch Adams and Andy Niles traveled to the Vinton County Air Show to pop front and back wheelies that thrilled the crowd.
“Don’t do this at home,” Wild Bill said. He joked to the crowd of attendees, who clustered along the fence in folding chairs to watch the show, that this is likely the only time someone could speed by law enforcement and do tricks without negative consequences, as an Ohio State Highway Patrol vehicle was parked nearby.
Of course, as he does during every air show, Santa Claus came to Vinton County a little early and skydived down to children as candy rained from the sky. The candy drop was sponsored by the McArthur Eagles.
As tradition, the Screaming Chicken Sky Diving team descended to the pavement to open and close the air show.