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Bluebonnet Air Show offers sights, sounds and stunts

FROM STAFF REPORTS

A pilot puts his plane in a dive during an aerobatic demonstration at a previous Bluebonnet Air Show. The daring pilots and their flying machines return April 26 for the 2014 Commemorative Air Force Bluebonnet Air Show at Burnet Municipal Airport-Kate Craddock Field in Burnet. Gates open at 10 a.m. with the air show starting at noon. Go to www.bluebonnetairshow.com for more information. File photo

A pilot puts his plane in a dive during an aerobatic demonstration at a previous Bluebonnet Air Show. The daring pilots and their flying machines return April 26 for the 2014 Commemorative Air Force Bluebonnet Air Show at Burnet Municipal Airport-Kate Craddock Field in Burnet. Gates open at 10 a.m. with the air show starting at noon. Go to www.bluebonnetairshow.com. File photo

BURNET — Nothing sounds like, or even comes close, to the rumble of a P-51 Mustang barreling just a few hundred feet off the ground as it races by. For a big part of World War II, that sound sent shudders through the bodies of enemy forces as they dove for cover.

Today, however, the sound beckons us to look up with awe. The P-51 Mustang, like many of the other planes of that era, rekindle that amazement we have of flight. Sure, planes pass over every day, but they aren’t like these birds.

On April 26, you can get a heavy taste of these warbirds as well as some incredible modern aircraft that can push the envelope of aerobatics during the 2014 Commemorative Air Force Bluebonnet Air Show at Kate Craddock Field. The facility is located on the south edge of Burnet on U.S. 281. Just look for the signs.

Or, look for the planes.

Gates open at 10 a.m. with the show running noon-4 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults; $10 for seniors and military members; $5 for youth 6-17; and free for children 5 and younger. You can purchase tickets at the gate or by going to www.bluebonnetairshow.com.

A high-performance plane taxis down the Burnet Municipal Airport-Kate Craddock Field strip as the pilot prepares to take off during a previous Commemorative Air Force Bluebonnet Air Show. File photo

A high-performance plane taxis down the Burnet Municipal Airport-Kate Craddock Field strip as the pilot prepares to take off during a previous Commemorative Air Force Bluebonnet Air Show. File photo

The P-51 Mustang owned by Cowden Ward Jr. and based in Burnet is one of many aircraft scheduled to participate in the show.

One of the big dogs or, in this case, pretty ladies taking to the sky during the show is the “Bluebonnet Belle.” The “Belle,” which is based at the Highland Lakes squadron of the Commemorative Air Force in Burnet, is a Douglas C-47 Skytrain, also known as the “Gooney Bird.” The plane, adapted from the DC-3 commercial aircraft, was one of the most ubiquitous airplanes of World War II. It served a variety of roles from transport to paratrooper life.

The plane also was used to tow gliders loaded with troops behind enemy lines.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower described the C-47 as one of the four weapons that won the war.

The “Gooney Bird” saw action in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam war. The last of the U.S. Air Forces’ C-47 retired in 1975.

The “Belle” rolled off the assembly line in 1944, making her 70 this year.

The Bluebonnet Air Show serves as a flying history lesson as each model of plane and aircraft brings with it a story of its own.

Along with the “Belle” and the P-51, other aircraft participating in the show include a B-25 Devil Dog, a Douglas A-1 Skyraider, a Douglas A-26 Invader and a North American AT-6/SNJ Texan. But that’s only a few of the almost 30 aircraft taking part in the event.

One part of the show that will definitely have you smiling and, at times, catching your breath is when Curtis Richmond and his Pitts Special S-2B take flight. Richmond competes in aerobatics and earned gold, silver and bronze flight medals last year in International Aerobatic Club sanctioned events.

In other words, he will put on a great show. He’s not the only aerobatic specialist entertaining the crowds. Adam Baker Aerobatics also is going to put a plane through its paces.

The Falcon Flight, a group of Austin-area pilots who specialize in close-formation flying, is also taking to the skies over Burnet.

The major air show performances include: the opening; skydivers; Curt Richmond-Pitts Aerobatics; Falcon Flight-RV Formation Flying; Airborne Heritage Platoon paratrooper demonstrating; fighter demonstration; World War II power demonstration; Adam Baker Aerobatics, Andrew Wright-Giles 202 Aerobatics; Vietnam air power; and Missing Man formation. The order may change the day of the event.

But the best way to find out which planes are up in the air is to head for the 2014 CAF Bluebonnet Air Show.

editor@thepicayune.com

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