What plane lands above the runway? Who cut their teeth at Top Gun? Read on…
The countdown for Space Shuttle Atlantis is over, but it's only just begun for the Cleveland National Air Show presented by Discount Drug Mart Labor Day Weekend—September 3, 4 & 5—at Burke Lakefront Airport in downtown Cleveland. It's a year of firsts, fun, old and new. And this is a first … the air show quiz (don't stress, all the answers are here too.)
What's the most frequently asked question about the Cleveland National Air Show?
We'll answer that question with THE question (and answer). Which jet team will be flying this year? While we're not guaranteed to have a precision military jet team every year (it's a Department of Defense decision), we are excited to say Cleveland will host the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds this year. The red, white and blue aviators will get within a few feet of each other as they fly the skies over Burke Lakefront Airport as the grand finale on Sept. 3, 4 and 5.
What does the Jelly Belly® plane land on?
Forget the calm tarmac of the runway. The Jelly Belly® lands on a moving RV—a first for Cleveland. Kent Pietsch (pronounced like peach) will make his Cleveland debut by going to the extreme in his 1942 Interstate Cadet. He turns off the engine at 6,000 feet for a dead stick aerobatic routine (watch out for falling parts) and culminates his flight with his RV Top Landing—a vehicle he can't even see while bringing his plane down to the ground (well almost). Check out more on Pietsch, who has more than 25,000 flying hours, here.
Who cut their teeth at Top Gun?
Graduating No. 1 in his U.S. Navy Top Gun flight training, Jim "Fang" Maroney will make his first Cleveland appearance for "Super" Chipmunk Aerobatics. A pilot who first flew in his dad's crop-dusting plane, Fang flew combat patrols over Washington, D.C., for two months after 9/11. Retired from the military in 2002, Fang will take to the sky in the Dehavilland Super Chipmunk.
So what's a Super Chipmunk?
It began as a Canadian Air Force trainer with its engine switched out for one with 160 horsepower, 3 feet clipped off the wing, 30 percent more rudder and 10 percent more elevator, a modified air frame and an inverted oil system. You can learn more about Fang and the Super Chipmunk here.
What scorches down the runway but never takes off?
Here's a hint. It's yellow and pops up at the end of every summer (though this is it's first time in Cleveland). It's the School Time Jet Bus—and this isn't an ordinary school bus. It's the world's first jet-powered school bus with a 42,000 horsepower engine from an F-4 Phantom. It streaks the runway with 75-foot flames and smoke. Driver and builder Paul Stender of Indy Boys raced motorcycles and snowmobiles as a boy before turning to USAC Midgets and Outlaw Sprint cars. Now he's the school bus driver for the air show circuit. Check it out here.
Who blurs the aviation lines?
As a member of the Air National Guard, John Klatt flies F-16s. As an air show performer, he flies the Air National Guard-sponsored Panzl S330. As a long-time member of the Air National Guard, John has flown missions in Africa, patrolled the skies over New York and Washington, D.C. for two years after 9/11 and has been deployed to Iraq a handful of times. When he's not serving in the Guard, he's serving the Air National Guard by spreading the news of its mission and role as an aerobatic air show pilot—reaching speeds of more than 250 miles per hour in his civilian aircraft. See and learn more of John's story here.
What about the military demos and display aircraft?
Cleveland fans will see the historic, the rare and the modern this year. In addition to the Thunderbirds, the U.S. Air Force will be sending an A-10 Thunderbolt II to fly solo and later accompany a World War II-era P-51 Mustang and a rare appearance by a Vietnam-era F-4 Phantom II as part of the U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight.
The U.S. Navy announced last week that Cleveland is a stop for the F/A-18 Hornet, which is sure to get the attention of fans with its rumble taking off from Burke Lakefront Airport. The U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team will be back to bring in the U.S. flag and show off their skills with individual and formation skydiving.
The U.S. Marine Corps selected Cleveland (one of only 13 cities) to host the U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey on ground display in 2011. Air Show fans can get up close to the newest combat-tested aircraft of the Marines.
How can we attend?
Get tickets in advance or on show day. General admission and box seat tickets are available online and by calling (216) 781-0747. General admission tickets go on sale at Discount Drug Mart locations Aug. 1.
What's the difference between general admission and box seat?
General admission tickets are good any one of the three show days (Sept. 3, 4 or 5) and grant you admission to the show. Ticketholders can bring lawn chairs or blankets to set up and enjoy the aerial show and visit the ground attractions too. Adults are $19 each; children ages 6-11 are $12 each; and children 5 and younger are free for general admission. These tickets are $2 more at the gate.
Box seat tickets, which include a reserved seat along the flight line, are day-specific. Advance box seat tickets are $30 each for all ages. If available, day-of-show box seats will be available inside the gate for an additional $10 per person.
Do you like and follow us?
If you haven't "liked" us on Facebook yet, please do so at the Cleveland National Air Show page, where we post frequent updates, news about the show and how to win tickets or other super fun stuff related to the Air Show. We plan to have another fan photo contest this year too.
If you're not following us on Twitter, why not? We share the latest news and even offer some Twitter follower surprises (last year one lucky follower won upgraded VIP seats inside the show gates). We're @cleveairshow.com
What questions do you have?
Now we want to know what questions you have of us. Post on our Facebook page, email us, or tweet us (@cleveairshow). We'll answer and share them through the social media outlets—and may even pose them in our Executive Director's podcast like this one last year (listen to see if he already answered your question.)