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Hawaii News

Flying back into town

William Cole
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How do you top the 2007 eye-popping spectacle of the Navy’s precision-flying Blue Angels, a 2,000-foot-long wall of flame, an F-15 fighter carving knife-edge turns, aerobatic flight displays, flag-bearing parachutists and big cargo planes swooping by?

You pretty much do it again — but add in some high-G maneuvers by another speedster, the stealthy F-22 Raptor, the Air Force’s premier fighter.


» www.mcbh.usmc. mil/airshow
» Premium "show center" grandstand, chalet and box seats are available through www.kaneohebayairshow.com.

The Kaneohe Bay Air Show and BayFest are returning to the Windward side Saturday and Sunday, with 150,000 people expected to be in attendance on the centennial of aviation in Hawaii.

For the fourth time since 1995 (the other appearance was in 2004), the Blue Angels will be streaking over Kaneohe Bay in a four-plane diamond pattern, looping and turning high over the Marine Corps base, and roaring by as low as 50 feet and 700 mph in the "sneak pass."

"We have eight hours of flying (each day). We start at 9, and we’ll finish around 5 in the afternoon," said air show Director Pete O’Hare.

The wind-up to the show starts as early as today, with professional performers arriving on an Air Force C-5 Galaxy cargo aircraft, officials said.

Seven of the Blue Angels’ distinctive blue and yellow F/A-18 Hornets will be touching down at the Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps base tomorrow, O’Hare said.

Practice will begin after that, with a full dress rehearsal for the six performing Blue Angels on Friday for military families, local law enforcement and schoolchildren.

The base will be a busy place on and off the flight line.

The air shows and static displays Saturday and Sunday and BayFest Saturday evening with the Kings of Spade, Mike Corrado, Willie K and Natural Vibrations are expected to draw about 150,000 people — up from the 122,000 who came out in 2007.

"It (the expected increase) is due to the economy," O’Hare said. "These are free shows."

More than a bit of aviation history will be on display.

This year marks the centennial of flight in Hawaii. On Dec. 31, 1910, J.C. "Bud" Mars soared over Moanalua polo field in a Curtiss P18 biplane.

Inter-Island Airways, renamed Hawaiian Airlines in 1941, started offering sightseeing tours over Honolulu in 1929 in a Bellanca Pacemaker, and that aircraft will be on display.

"This isn’t a mockup. This isn’t one that’s similar to it. This is the plane that flew the very first commercial flight here in 1929," O’Hare said.

Col. Robert Rice, commander of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, said the air show and BayFest are opportunities by the base to show appreciation for the community’s support, and to help celebrate a momentous occasion in Hawaii’s history: the first flights over Oahu.

"We’ve invited our Oahu ohana to enjoy BayFest here for the last 20 years, and this year we are pleased to do it again and to bring the largest air show ever to the island," Rice said.

The static line also will include C-17 Globemaster III and C-130 Hercules cargo carriers, a KC-10 refueler, an F-15 fighter, CH-53D Sea Stallion and SH-60 helicopters, a World War II DC-3 still flown by Kamaka Air, Coast Guard aircraft and military vehicles, including an M-60 Patton tank, O’Hare said.

Radio-controlled scale model airplanes; aerobatic pilots Kirby Chambliss, Jacquie "B," Greg Poe and Tim Weber; the Flying Leathernecks sky divers; and a demonstration of the helicopter pickup of a downed pilot are part of the show.

Montana Air National Guard F-15s, which are providing air defense for Hawaii as the state makes the transition to stealthy F-22 Raptor fighters, will be part of the air show, O’Hare said, as will a visiting F-22 from Langley Air Force Base, Va.

Temporary flight restrictions will be in place for five miles in all directions from the center of the runway, and the demonstration aircraft will range throughout that airspace, O’Hare said. A performance "show box" parallels the runway and extends over Kaneohe.

Show organizers keep the flying order a secret — including exactly when they expect the Blue Angels to fly.

"There’s a lot of interdependency that occurs as to when things go off in an air show," including weather and terrain, O’Hare said. "We have to pick and choose and place our acts in certain places that day with the best information that we have."

With a minimum cloud ceiling of 1,500 feet, the Blue Angels perform a limited number of maneuvers in what is called a "flat" show. With a 3,500-foot ceiling, a "low" show will include some rolling maneuvers. With a minimum ceiling of 8,000 feet and visibility to three nautical miles, the team can perform a "high" show with all maneuvers.

The shows Saturday and Sunday will be open to the general public, with the gates opening at 9 a.m.

Friday’s dress rehearsal is a special opportunity for military families, local law enforcement and schools to see a full preview of the air show, which also starts at 9 a.m., officials said.

Military and law enforcement need identification cards and badges to enter the base with their families.

BayFest will be held at the airfield Saturday evening right after the flying. Fireworks are scheduled at 10 p.m.

On Sunday the Hot Day @ the Bay Car and Bike Show will be held adjacent to the airfield. The Taste of Oahu and carnival rides are available during the weekend-long event.

"Carpool. Please carpool," O’Hare advises. "Come early. Stay late. This is not a point-in-time event. It’s a gate event. The gates are open at 9 a.m."


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