r For decades our military bases have held open house events as community relations tools every couple of years. There has been an evolution in the past few years as military only events have increasingly invited members of the nation’s air show community. The Hill Air Force Base Open House held June 23 and 24 had a total of 13 civilian air show acts in addition to an F-35A Lightning II demonstration, the U.S. Special Operations Parachute Commandos, and the concluding event, the USAF Thunderbirds. There was spectacular aerial action from 9 a.m. until the Thunderbirds landed about 4 p.m. Everything went off like clockwork and further demonstrated the professionalism of these aviators and their support staff.
The air show announcer was excellent in describing the flyers, their flying machines and aerobatic maneuvers they performed. One thing the announcer emphasized was that each of the pilots was living their dream. As kids, they looked to the sky and watched air show performers. Someday they may want to be flying precession aerobatic maneuvers themselves. It takes many years of practice to become an airshow performer. Bill Stein says he flies almost every day and sometimes two or three times a day. Brad Wursten is a raising air show star and the announcer commented that it has taken him 10 years to become an overnight success.
For the many young people looking to the sky with fascination and a desire to someday become a pilot, the air shows are a great inspiration. The air show is an ultimate event defining pilot control of flight beyond straight and level. What a great way to excite and motivate future pilots. There were a lot of young faces and a few older faces almost hypnotized by the amazing flying.
The dream of flying airplanes is very much alive in our Nebo High School students at the Advanced Learning Center in Salem. The school district program will offer five aviation classes this fall and already has 140 pre-enrollments for those classes. Fascination with flying machines and aviation careers is alive and well in our local kids. The courses offered are (1) Aviation History, (2) Private Pilot Ground Course, (3) Flight Simulator Course, (4) Air Transportation Management, and (5) Unmanned Arial Vehicles. Aviation is experiencing shortages in all career categories with opportunities throughout the worldwide industry. Who knows, one of these local students may even become a future air show pilot. It is all about dreaming and taking action to achieve your goals. That is the connection between air shows and the high school aviation programs.