WILLIAMSTOWN - Thousands of people are expected to attend Air Expo 2010 on Sunday at the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport to view exhibits on the ground and exciting aerial activities, from military demonstrations to aerobatic flyers to skydivers.
Admission is free to the Air Expo, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, but parking on-site is $10 per vehicle. People can park at the Williamstown Welcome Center or West Virginia University at Parkersburg and ride the free shuttle buses to the airport for no cost at all to enter and enjoy the expo, said Greg Smith, one of the event organizers.
Smith said this year's program will be the first time the Air Expo has hosted two military demonstration teams for the same event. The teams will be on the ground during the expo and will also give flying demonstrations Sunday afternoon.
One of the demonstration teams will be the U.S. Air Force A-10 Demonstration Team from Moody Air Force Base in Georgia. The other will be the U.S. Navy F-18 Eastern Demonstration Team.
"It's going to be phenomenal. It's the first time we've ever had two demos at the same time," he said.
As a special item of interest to local residents, former Parkersburg resident Lt. Col. Robert Sweet of the U.S. Air Force Reserves is scheduled to participate in the Air Expo as part of the A-10 team's ground exhibit, according to his father, Arthur Sweet of Lubeck.
Schedule of Activities
* 10 a.m.: Gates open
* Noon.: Opening ceremonies with the Pipes and Drums of St. Andrews, Portal and the Presentation of Colors
* 12:15 p.m.: Mark Mondo - Large American flag
* 12:40 p.m.: Jump plane takes off
* 1 p.m.: Ohio Valley Skydivers with American flag and circled by Jonathan Knutson with smoke
* 1:10 p.m.: Jonathan Knutson MX-2 Acrobatics
* 1:20 p.m.: Curt Arnspiger Saeta Jet Acrobatics
* 1:40 p.m.: Chris Keegan DR-109 Acrobatics
* 2 p.m.: Mike Lakin Citabria Acrobatics; B-2 Flyover
* 2:10 p.m.: U.S. Air Force A-10 Warthog Flight Demonstration
* 2:40 p.m.: A-10, F-18 and P-51 Heritage Flight
* 3 p.m.: P-51 Flight Demonstration
* 3:20 p.m.: Blennerhassett Area Radio Control Club, Sky Sharks, Flying Wing Nutz
* 3:40 p.m.: U.S. Navy F-18 Hornet Flight Demonstration
* 4:10 p.m.: Jonathan Knutson MX-2 Acrobatics
* 4:30 p.m.: Ohio Valley Skydivers Demonstration Jump with smoke
* 4:45 p.m.: Mark Mondo Candy Drop
* 5 p.m.: Air Expo 2010 "Salute To Those Who Serve" closes.
A 1984 graduate of Parkersburg South High School, then-Lieutenant Sweet was an A-10 pilot during the Gulf War in 1991 when his Warthog was shot down by Iraqi forces in Kuwait and he spent several weeks as a prisoner of war. He remained in the U.S. Air Force and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel before retiring in 2009 and becoming part of the Air Force Reserves at Moody AFB.
Smith said there are also plans for a heritage flight featuring the F-18 Hornet and the A-10 Warthog along with a World War II-era P-51 Mustang which will be participating in the expo, flying in formation over the event to show the different generations of military aircraft.
The theme for this year's expo is "A Salute to Those Who Serve" and will recognize not only the military but also law enforcement and emergency services, with police vehicles, fire trucks and other emergency vehicles on display at the event.
The expo will also have several demonstrations of aerobatic flying, local radio control airplane clubs and the Ohio Valley Sky Divers. The expo will end with the annual Mark Mondo candy drop.
The aerobatics pilots will include Mike Lakin, Curt Arnspiger, Chris Keegan, Jonathan Knutson and others.
Smith said were indications in the final couple of weeks leading up to the expo that the planned B-2 Bomber flyover might be replaced with a B-52 Bomber due to operational requirements for the B-2.
The Air Expo also expects to have many static displays of all types of aircraft on exhibit on the tarmac at the regional airport, concessions, an exhibit by the Pioneer Antique Auto Club and entertainment by groups like the Pipes and Drums of St. Andrew and Portal.
This year's Air Marshal will be Gov. Joe Manchin who is expected to be in attendance, Smith said. A reception for the participants will be Saturday at 6 p.m. at S&P Harley Davidson at Williamstown.
Airport manager Terry Moore said the Air Expo is one of the largest events held at the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport.
"It's huge," he said. "It's a treat for the community."
Moore estimated about 22,000 people attended the last Air Expo in 2008, which is at least one out of every six residents in the Mid-Ohio Valley. He believes it was one of the largest single-day attendance marks set by any event in the area.