Air shows can be extremely hot and dull --old stuff--or they can be packed with thrills, full of things to do and see. That's the kind of an air show that will officially open Warsaw's new $50,000 Municipal Airport next Sunday, July 25.
The Chamber of Commerce and Warsaw Aero club have spent better than $1,000 to get the "hottest" talent available for this Dedication Sunday. You can get an awful fooling on this sort of things, so I asked for the official CAA certificate of waiver which was filed by the stuntsters who are going to participate in the show. (They don't put anything in that waiver that they aren't going to do.)
You see, all that type of flying is illegal and these experts must tell the Civil Aeronautics Authority just exactly what they are going to do and when and where. Then they get a waiver for those acts which make them legal for a day.
Bob McCombs, big darned-near fat, pleasant, and one of the smoothest pilots that ever monkeyed with an airplane, will show you how not to fly. Nearly all his so-called "high altitude" stunts are really done right over the field at less than 1,000 feet. Fact is, the waiver calls for between 500 and 700 feet. That's low-down, believe me.
In this class, Bob does the usual snap rolls, slow rolls, clock rolls, shuts off the motor and does two loops and a barrel roll on the way down, inverted flight, dead stick landings. There is also promised a fancy piece of wing-walking, which is an old favorite.
Two novelty acts that Bob does, can be seen only from the airport. One Uncle Thud act is an old farmer, who gets into an airplane and accidentally takes off without the pilot. In this act, Bob plays around, 50 or 60 feet off the ground, seated backwards in the front seat, flying backwards with the controls in the rear seat. You'll love this act. You can see the guy in the airplane, looking back over the tail, hopping around just off the ground. To pilots, it's a marvelous piece of precision flying --but not for me.
Then McCombs comes up with the fat man act. He and another hefty fellow crawl into a dinky, little plane and can't get it off the ground. They hop up and down like a ruptured duck. Sail a couple of feet, then wham, in they come. It's very funny.
Don Woods is a former para-trooper who is a parachute expert. Don will do the high-altitude delayed action parachute drop. He goes up to 10,000 feet, jumps out and falls free for 7,000 feet. He opens his parachute at 3,000 feet. (The waiver says so). These boys wear two chutes--one strapped to their chests and one to their backs. Sometimes the impact of opening after such a long fall rips the first parachute to shreds. The the aeronaut must quickly shed the first chute, get untangled from it and open the second. (This one isn't for me either).
I guess I've told you before that my favorite is the old-fashioned balloon ascension. Don Woods has a big old hot-air bag (neuter gender). They call volunteers to help hold it as it slowly fills with gas and smoke. When released, the big balloon sways and tugs, yanks Don and his parachute off the ground and up. At approximately 2,000 feet he cuts himself loose from the balloon and makes his parachute drop. The old balloon rolls over like a harpooned whale, falls, falls to the ground, trailing smoke. It's sure-fire fun.
Now that's only part of the show. If army red tape doesn't get us doubled-crossed, there will be a flight of jet planes sweeping the runway at faster than the speed of sound. (Somewhere over 600 miles per hour.) Just ahead of these speedy boys will be a giant B-29 Superfortress. That's the kind we are making threatening passes at the Russians with. This giant ship carries four 4,000-horsepower engines at the present time, but actually flies at 325 miles per hour. He won't do any didoes. Just flies around the field, nice and smooth-like.
When the jets come over, you'll hear a sound like a wailing of all the banshees of Hades being stuck by pins and needles. Their noise is sometimes referred to as a pair of hurricanes holding hands.
Not least of the attractions is a genuine helicopter, built by Lawrence Bell, and owned by the Stuart Sales Corporation, of Indianapolis. The helicopter will be on the field all day Sunday and will present a crop-dusting demonstration during the show.
You will see this novel aircraft fly straight up, straight down, stand still in air, fly sideways, and do many things you've never seen done in the air before.
There will be, of course, passenger rides all day and there may be night rides available Saturday night and Sunday night if the airport lights get rigged up properly. Extensive arrangements have been made to handle everything smoothly, give everyone a ringside seat at the event.
The speakers' stand will be located just west of the new hard-surface runways at the field. This is where the dignitaries will say nice things about everyone concerned with building the county such a nice airport. Among the folks on the platform will be Hobart Creighton, flying candidate for governor, Morrison Rockhill, a helicopter fan, Col. Clarence Cornish, director of the aeronautics commission, and Bill Renshaw, head of the Flying Farmers, and Robert Hall, of the Chamber of Commerce.
Free parking is arranged along along the north-south runway and the southwest corner of the big diagonal runway. There will be an admission charge of 75 cents for adults and 25 cents for children, which goes to cover the cost of the exhibition and dedication.
Road 15 will be kept clear between the airport road and the Chapman lake road. The Chapman lake road will be closed to traffic entirely. The airport road will be open at both ends. That is, you can drive north of Warsaw on 15, then a quarter-mile east to the airport or drive north from McDonald hospital to the east end of the airport road and come in that way.
Ambulances from Bibler funeral home, Bilby funeral home and Landis funeral service will be on hand--but we don't want to use them. Fire trucks from Warsaw and Winona will be there. Company L will help with traffic and safety. The state police are assisting. The Motorcycle Club boys will be on hand to help. The county highway department has promised assistance.
There will be special bus service from Warsaw to and from the airport Sunday. I might mention that the dedication actually lasts two days, Saturday and Sunday. Saturday is a free day for on-the-ground inspection of the airport and a whopping big display of personal aircraft-- all the newest models. Sunday, then, is the air show.
Warsaw Daily Times July 19, 1948