Rain Threatens Success of Three Air Shows Along East Coast Saturday
This weekend, three air shows are set to take place in the eastern United States headlining all of North America's top jet teams, military, and civilian performers. However, mother nature has not been cooperating the last few days and continues to threaten Saturday's shows and may stick around for Sunday.
Southernmost, Shaw AFB in Sumpter, South Carolina hosts the Shaw Air Expo this weekend, also known as Thunder over the Midlands. The United States Air Force Thunderbirds are headlining the show this weekend as the final stop on their two-week east coast trip, which started last weekend at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey. The Thunderbirds arrived Tuesday from New Jersey after opting out of their usual return trip home to Nellis AFB following last Sunday's show. Ever since the team arrived to Shaw AFB, weather has kept the team grounded. Friday, the pilots had to conduct their site survey from a United States Coast Guard Helicopter after the poor visibility kept the jets grounded. Other military performers include the U.S. Army Black Daggers, the U.S. Navy F-18 Legacy Hornet, the Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Demo Team, and the hometown F-16 Viper Demo Team. Civilian performers include Gary Ward, Bill Braack in the Smoke-N-Thunder Jet Car, Scott Yoak in the P-51 Mustang, Jim Tobul in the F4U Corsair, Randy Ball, and more. The forecast has improved for this weekend's show, with the chance of rain diminishing. Clouds remain the only factor for both Saturday and Sunday's show. The gates open at 8:00 am with the flying starting just after 10:00 am.
Just north of the Carolina's, the Lynchburg Regional Air Show is set to take place this weekend headlining the United States Navy Blue Angels. Other performers include the famous Team Aeroshell, the U.S. Navy Leap Frogs, Kevin Coleman, the Shockwave Jet Truck, Jerry Conley in the DH-100 Vampire, the Harrier jump jet, the P-51 Mustang, Julie Clark, and Scott Francis. Rain from yesterday has already affected parking for today's show due to the high amount of grass parking. but the rain today is forecasted to hold off until tonight. Clouds will be the only factor for today's show, and may affect the Blue Angels' demonstration this afternoon. Clouds and a slight chance of rain may be a factor for Sunday's show. The gates open at 9:00 am and the flying starts at 11:30 am.
Northernmost, in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, the Westmoreland County International Air Show welcomes back the Canadian Forces Snowbirds for the first time in nearly three decades this weekend. Other military performers include the U.S. Navy F-18 Super Hornet, the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor, and the U.S. Army Golden Knights. Civilian performers include Rob Holland, Mike Wiskus, the Flashfire Jet Truck, Greg Shelton, and Lee Leets. As of Saturday morning, air show officials and air boss David Schultz are hopeful that all of the rain is pushing east and they'll be able to fly, but rain is still expected from lunchtime Saturday through Saturday night, and again throughout the day Sunday. The gates will open at 8:00 am and the flying is scheduled to begin at 11:00 am weather permitting.
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