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Fly Guys & Girls: Memphis Airshow returns to Millington

By Walter Bruce Hale1 2 3 4 Greg Koontz Raiders Skip Stewart Snowbirds

The Memphis Airshow came back to Millington this past weekend.
Starting Friday night with a spectacular show that included  planes flying with pyrotechnics and flashing lights. The night ended with the Shockwave jet truck doing 376 mph down the runway through a 1,000 foot wall of fire and a fireworks display.
Saturday and Sunday had shows that were just as amazing.  John Klatt and Mike Wiskus started the show with each of them thrilling the audience with shows of precision flying. Greg Koonts entertained the crowd with his superb flying and landing his plane on top of a truck being driven down the runway.
Kyle Franklin was a show stopper with his ability to fly his plane sideways down the runway, changing directions and going straight up and rolling his plane over and over.
Manfred Radius piloted a fully aerobatic glider. It was a truly amazing show watching him sail through the air with no engine noise. Steve Vihlen, a pilot for Fed Ex, was the pilot of the tow plane pulling the glider. Next up were the Raiders a team of 3 pilots flying Yahkovlev 52 and Nanchang CJ6 in tight formations .
Skip Stewart, a Memphis native, performed an exciting show  in a plane in which  he custom built himself. The abilities he showed as he twist and turned, flying at 197 mph, climbing straight up and falling as he spun and pulled up at the last minute left you breathless.
Teresa Stokes, teaming up with Gene Soucy, walked the wing  as Gene flew down the runway, doing flips and rolls during her show.
Mike Goulian and Matt Younkin continued the show as they performed rolls and flips, streaking across the sky as smoke streamed out behind them. Julie Clark, who has flown for 32 year,  was sidelined Saturday by a broken part in the control of the flaps of her Juice Plus sponsored T-34 plane. The plane was fixed and she gave the crowd a super show on Sunday.
The Snowbirds Demonstration Team, a Canadian Team of service members closed out the show with a thrilling performance of flying across the field in an 8-man formation. They had 2 planes flying head to head as the other 6, in formation, did rolls and flips.
Fed Ex sent the company’s newest plane,  the 767, to do a fly over every day. It is an awesome looking plane and the crowd was able to listen in as the pilots flew across twice each day. The first fly over was with wheels down and flying slow. The second pass was wheels up and very fast, giving the crowd a wave as they left.
Then there were the kids. Kids of all ages.  When the planes were flying, heads were turned to the sky, following the planes through every twist and turn. They had their parents standing in long lines to see the planes that were on the static display. On Sunday, even in the rain, their spirits were not dampened. Walking around, there was Brett Rozman, with his mom, Rita Rozman, getting an autograph  from Kyle Franklin. Tyler Duckworth, with his grandfather, Dale, sitting in the pilot seat of the Boeing 757, ready to fly away.  Two of the Snowbirds pilots taking a minute to have a picture taken with Jacob Smith of Memphis, who was at the show with his dad, Robert. He was excited to see the planes, but has his mind set on becoming a cop. Bryce Hagstrom, along with his mom, Angela, and friends, was piloting the model Fed Ex plane. Bryce wants to be a pilot just like his dad.
The Airshow could not happen without the hundreds of volunteers that gave hours to make it work smoothly. Many of the volunteers are parents of handicap children.
The directors worked hard to bring the best entertainers to Millington. This is one of the few airshows that did not have to be cancelled dues to the sequester, that cut the budget of the military. Linda Coyle, Creative Director, is one of the awesome volunteers. She helped me get to where I needed to be, when I needed to be there. She spent the last 10 months helping to make sure that the show went off without a hitch.
I was able to catch a few rides from one end of the field to the other with another volunteer, Rita, who knows how to whip around on a golf cart.
The ticket takers, security, concession stand workers and all the other volunteers were very professional and helped to make this a great show.

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