Canadian aerial team, vertical-landing jet added to Westmoreland air show
The return of the Snowbirds and a Harrier to the skies above Arnold Palmer Regional Airport should give an extra lift to next year’s Shop ’n Save Westmoreland County Airshow.
Marking its 48th season taking part in shows and fly-overs across North America, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds air demonstration team includes members of the Canadian Armed Forces and National Defence Public Service employees. The squadron has flown Vicker Wellington, Hadley-Page Halifax, Avro Lancaster and Canadair F-86 Sabre aircraft.
“There’s a lot of excitement about the Snowbirds and Tora! Tora! Tora! being together,” said Gabe Monzo, executive director of the Westmoreland County Airport Authority, which operates the Unity airport and stages the air show. “We’re on our way to a fantastic show.”
The Tora! aerial act, presented by the Texas-based Commemorative Air Force, reenacts the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 7, 1941. That show, which hasn’t been seen at the local airport since 1983, features replica aircraft and explosive effects on the ground.
The air show is set for Memorial Day weekend, May 25-26.
“It will be spring, and people will be looking for things to do,” Monzo said. “We’re going to give them something to do.”
Harrier jets, capable of a vertical takeoff and landing, last were featured in the Westmoreland show 23 years ago, Monzo said.
Don Rossi, chairman of the airport authority, still remembers that impressive performance.
“They came down the runway and came within a stone’s throw distance of each other,” he said of the jets. “They turned to the crowd, they bowed, they came back and then, whoosh, they were gone.”
Monzo said VIP tickets for the show are selling well. The cost of $150 for adults or $50 for ages 6-12 accompanied by an adult includes free parking, cart and limousine service to a VIP tent, an air-conditioned private rest room, a commemorative program, food and beverages. They can be bought online at palmerairport.com .
General admission tickets go on sale in February at $25, with a discounted price offered at Shop ’n Save supermarkets.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @jhimler_news.