Taking a ride in a rare bird at the Olympic Air Show
The 21st annual Olympic Air Show is landing at the Olympic Flight Museum this weekend with time-honored favorites and new additions in tow.
Gates open at 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and opening ceremonies begin at noon. One-day tickets cost $15 online and $20 at the door, and weekend passes cost $25 online and $35 at the door. Children 6 and younger get in free.
The show’s theme is Aviation in the Movies, featuring cinematic aircraft from World War I, Vietnam and contemporary films. The theme was chosen by the Olympic Flight Museum board members and president to honor museum owner Bryan Reynolds’ motion picture adventures.
“He has been in several movies where his aircraft has been featured,” museum president Ken Collins said.
The show will include eight aircraft from the museum as well as returning outside acts such as Anna Surbinenko, Renny Price, Bud Granley and more. Annual attendees looking for something new can look forward to seeing the West Coast Raven’s RV6 formation show, Collins said.
In addition, the two-day event will feature a rare Vietnam-era patrol boat provided by the Northwest Chapter of the Gamewardens Association; displays by the Evergreen Chapter Antique Motorcycle Club; vintage aircraft from the Puget Sound Antique Aircraft club; a World War II encampment with authentic military vehicles; and the Cascade Warbird Squadron’s collection of historic military planes.
Guests also will be able to take a ride in Cascade Warbird John “Smokey” Johnson’s T-6 plane. A 20-minute scenic ride for $250 and a 30-minute ride with combat maneuvers for $375 will be offered, according to the flight museum’s website.
One participating group is showcasing two unique aircrafts. The Cascade Warbirds are a group of military aviation enthusiasts based in the Pacific Northwest who haven’t missed an Olympia Air Show since its inception, according to Public Relations Officer Kerry Edwards. They will bring two “Scottish Bulldogs” and two “IAR-823s” — both rare Air Force crafts seldom seen in North America.
Although the Warbird’s members participate in air shows individually all season long, the Olympia Air Show is one of the group’s “maximum effort” events, in which the squadron aims to get everyone involved and present a strong showing of pilots and aircraft. This year they plan to bring more than 20 pilots and planes to the event.
“One of the reasons we name the Olympia Air Show a maximum effort event is because it’s one of the biggest and best,” Edwards said. “It offers such a wide variety of activities both in the air and on the ground.”
Patrons won’t be stuck looking up at the sky all day. The family-friendly event also offers food and merchandise vendors, youth activities and a beer garden. Once the air show ends on Saturday, the beer garden will stay open until 6 p.m., with live music from local classic-rock band BackLash.
For Collins, the event provides a place for the community to get involved and watch air show acts come together. He also sees it as an opportunity to put the museum’s educational mission to work.
“We are hoping we will inspire some young people and others to get interested in aviation,” Collins said. “Our goal as a museum is to preserve these aircraft in flying condition and display them for the public to see.”
Attendance varies year to year depending on the weather, according to Collins.
“Our record is 8,000,” Collins said. “On really nice days, where it’s not too hot, we can expect about 5,000 to 6,000 attendees.”
There is limited seating available and there will be no grass seating this year, according to the museum website. Attendees are encouraged to bring folding chairs.