An Extra 300S stunt plane takes a practice flight during a previous Bluebonnet Airshow. This year's event is noon-4 p.m. April 25 at Burnet Municipal Airport-Kate Craddock Field, 2302 S. Water (U.S. 281) in Burnet. Go to bluebonnetairshow.com for more. File photo
DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
BURNET — The sound is what first catches your attention. You hear the rumbling engine before it rolls into sight on the runway. And then, you can’t help but look twice just to make sure of what you’re seeing.
This isn’t your typical Cessna. Matter of fact, it’s not a Cessna at all but a World War II-era fighter or bomber. Maybe it’s a P-51 Mustang or a B-17 Flying Fortress, but whatever the plane, you can’t help but notice it.
“There’s just something about the way these planes sound,” said Belinda Whitworth, who is working with the Highland Lakes Wing of the Commemorative Air Force on promoting the Bluebonnet Airshow on April 25. “I remember when muscle cars were really muscle cars, and they had this distinct sound. These planes are like that — only they have a lot more muscle.”
And people can check out these WWII birds, as well as many other aircraft, during the annual airshow noon-4 p.m. at the Burnet Municipal Airport-Kate Craddock Field, 2302 S. Water (U.S. 281). Tickets are $15 for adults; $10 for seniors and military members; $5 for ages 6-17; and free for ages 5 and younger. Tickets can be purchased at bluebonnetairshow.com or at the gate. Gates open at 10 a.m.
Jim Hower, the Highland Lakes Squadron public information officer, said while you can see these planes on TV, in a book or even sitting in a museum, it doesn’t compare to witnessing them in flight.
“We all have an attachment to these planes because of their history and just how incredible they are,” he said. “You just don’t really appreciate how incredible these planes are until you see them fly.”
The Bluebonnet Airshow has lined up a list of WWII-era planes, including the “Bluebonnet Belle,” the Highland Lakes Squadron’s own Douglas C-47 Skytrain. Other WWII aircraft include a B-25 Mitchell (aka B-25 Devil Dog), a P-40 Warhawk, a P-51 Mustang and several more.
Several of the planes will participate in the World War II Air Power Demonstration during the airshow.
Highland Lakes Squadron member Henry Coram said he enjoys the WWII planes himself but also likes that the younger generations can experience them.
“One of the things that keeps us going here at the (CAF) is the kids today,” he said. “So many of the kids aren’t being taught about World War II and the sacrifices the veterans made. When they come through here or to the show, it’s one way we can help teach them about this important part of our history.”
While the World War II planes are a focus of the Commemorative Air Force, they’re only a part of the 2015 airshow.
This is also a chance for pilots to show off their flying skills. Several pilots, including Scott Lane, Andrew Wright and Paul Fiala, will demonstrate aerobatics in their planes.
The hope is that, through the air show, people can find that connection with aviation and history, especially when it comes to the remaining World War II aircraft. Despite the aircraft being the stars of the show, Whitworth and Hower said it’s really about remembering and honoring an important group of people.
“We dedicate our air show to all veterans, past and present, as well as current members of the military,” Hower said. “Sure, we focus on the period of 1939 to 1944, but the spirit is there.”
“For all veterans,” Whitworth added.
Go to bluebonnetairshow.com for more information on the event.