Teri Thorning is counting on the combination of unique aircraft, military displays and good weather to draw crowds to the 18th annual Olympic Air Show this weekend.
Thorning, the executive director of the host Olympic Flight Museum, is hoping to attract more than 3,000 people Saturday and Sunday.
Helping her is the weekend weather forecast. Last year, show visitors wilted under temperatures that hit 95 degrees the first day.
“When it’s 95 degrees outside, its over 105 degrees on that tarmac. That’s hard on families,” Thorning said. “The forecast is so much more pleasant than last year. This year, I’m pleased with the 74 or 75 in the forecast.”
While the weather is an important factor to attracting visitors to the show, Thorning said the main attraction is the aircraft.
Among the aircraft that will take to the skies is a Grumman F8F-2A Bearcat. Built for the Navy in World War II, the plane was recently added to the show lineup. The aircarft, the last piston-engine fighter built for World War II, is capable of taking off from sea level and reaching 10,000 feet in 91 seconds.
Also part of the show will be the FG-1D Corsair from the museum’s collection. One of the most famous U.S. fighters in World War II, the Corsair was restored and returned to the museum in 2014.
“It is one of only 30 still flying in the world. It’s a rare opportunity to see a Corsair fly. It’s a highlight for us to fly that, Thorning said.
Here is a look at some of the other attractions:
The Granleys: The father-and-son team of Bud and Ross Granley of Granley Family Air Shows will be taking part in the show. Bud Granley flew for United Airlines before retiring and now lives in Bellevue. Ross Granley is a United Pilot. They will do a formation flying performance using their Russian-built planes.
Alpha Jet performance: Mark Peterson will be flying a Dassault-Dornier Alpha Jet. The plane was built for air forces in Europe from the 1970s-1990s, serving as a trainer and light attack aircraft. The plane is capable of reaching 621 mph. This will be the only show in Washington with an Alpha jet demonstration, Thorning said.
Sky dancing: Aerobatic instructor Anna Serbinenko will be flying a Super Decathlon for her “Sky Dancing” performance. Born in Ukraine and now living in Canada, Serbinenko trains the aerobatic team for the Canadian Flight Centre.
From the collection: A number of aircraft from the museum’s collection will take to the sky. Among those scheduled to fly are World War II aircraft P-51D Mustang, A6M Zero and the Corsair. Other aircraft will include a demonstration by the AH-1 Cobra and H-1H Huey helicopters, as well as the Kaman HH-43 Huskie. Also taking part in the aerial show will be the Czechoslovakian-built Aero L-39ZO Alabatross.
There will be performances by the Cascade Warbird Squadron, Renny Price from Hammerhead Aerobatics and the demonstration team from Northwest RC flying large-scale radio-controlled aircraft.
On the ground, there will be, among others:
Smoke-n-Thunder: Returning to the Olympia show for the third year is Bill Bracck and his Smoke-n-Thunder jet car. The car can reach speeds approaching 400 mph. Each show will include a race between the car and an aircraft from the show.
Ground displays: Among the static displays, Thorning said an Army unit from Joint Base Lewis-McChord will bring an M142, the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System. The Air Force will be bringing ground vehicles as well.
Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640
Olympic Air Show
When: Gates open at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Opening ceremonies will be at noon, followed by aerobatic performances until about 4 p.m.
Where: Olympia Regional Airport, 7637 Old Highway 99 SE, Tumwater.
Admission: $12 for single-day ticket for ages 7 and older; free for children 6 and younger and Olympic Flight Museum members; $22 for two-day pass. Tickets at the gate will be $15 and $25.
Note: Bring your own chairs because there is no grass seating this year.