Thursday, September 20, 2018

Lifestyles

Jet setting: Blue Angels return and rare B-29 bomber will drop in for Chippewa Valley Air Show

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    Above: A Blue Angel gives a thumbs up from the ground as four of the Blue Angels F-18 Hornet jets pass by the crowd on July 4, 2015, during the Chippewa Valley Air Show at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport in Eau Claire. Top left: The Blue Angels F-18 Hornet jets fly in formation during the 2015 show. The Blue Angels are among the attractions at the Chippewa Valley Air Show on June 16 and 17 at the airport.

    Staff file photos

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    The Blue Angels F-18 Hornet jets fly in formation Saturday at the Chippewa Valley Air Show. Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik [Chippewa Valley Air Show 2015 held Saturday, July 4 at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.]

    Marisa Wojcik

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    Major Gunter, from Milwaukee, who's great uncle is a Blue Angels crew member, holds his toy F-18 Hornet jet close to him Saturday in the VIP area at the Chippewa Valley Air Show. Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik [Chippewa Valley Air Show 2015 held Saturday, July 4 at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.]

    Marisa Wojcik

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    The United States flag waves as four of the Blue Angels F-18 Hornet jets pass in the distance Saturday during Fourth of July at the Chippewa Valley Air Show. Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik [Chippewa Valley Air Show 2015 held Saturday, July 4 at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.]

    Marisa Wojcik

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    The Blue Angels fly over the heads of aviation enthusiasts on July 5.

    Anna Mateffy

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    Fat Albert crew members, also referred to as "Bert boys," go flying up in the air as passengers experience negative g-forces on board the Blue Angels Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules on Friday at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport. Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik [Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules, aka Fat Albert, media ride Friday, July 3 at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.]

    Marisa Wojcik

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    Blue Angels C-130 pilot Maj. Mark Hamilton of Becker, MN., talked to the media on July 2, 2015, about the upcoming air show.

    Dan Reiland

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    Blue Angels C-130 pilot Maj. Mark Hamilton of Becker, MN., talked to the media on July 2, 2015, about the upcoming air show.

    Dan Reiland

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    Blue Angels C-130 pilot Maj. Mark Hamilton of Becker, MN., talked to the media on July 2, 2015, about the upcoming air show.

    Dan Reiland

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    Blue Angels C-130 pilot Maj. Mark Hamilton of Becker, MN., talked to the media on July 2, 2015, about the upcoming air show.

    Dan Reiland

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    Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik [Chippewa Valley Air Show 2015 held Saturday, July 4 at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.]

    Marisa Wojcik

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    Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik [Chippewa Valley Air Show 2015 held Saturday, July 4 at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.]

    Marisa Wojcik

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    The Minnesota Wing Commemorative Air Force give a wave from a B-25J Mitchell plane after a flying demonstration Saturday at the Chippewa Valley Air Show. Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik [Chippewa Valley Air Show 2015 held Saturday, July 4 at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.]

    Marisa Wojcik

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    Vincent Etchen, who served in the Air Force for four years and was stationed in Germany, and his son, Anthony Christopher, keep their eyes on the sky as Etchen points to a plane flying overhead during the 2015 Chippewa Valley Air Show.

    Staff photo by Anna Mateffy
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    Mike Wiskus flies the Lucas Oil biplane, a one-seat version of the stunt plane he flew while giving media rides this past week, over the jet-powered Shockwave Truck driven by Neal Darnell during the 2015 Chippewa Valley Air Show Sunday.

    Staff photo by Anna Mateffy
    Buy This Image

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    Aviation enthusiasts of every age convened at the Chippewa Valley Air Show on July 5.

    Anna Mateffy

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    Aviation enthusiasts of every age convened at the Chippewa Valley Air Show on July 5.

    Anna Mateffy

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    Aviation enthusiasts of every age convened at the Chippewa Valley Air Show on July 5.

    Anna Mateffy

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    Greg Koontz performs an aerobatic stunt, cutting a ribbon while inverted, in a Super Decathlon airplane Saturday at the 2015 Chippewa Valley Air Show. Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik [Chippewa Valley Air Show 2015 held Saturday, July 4 at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.]

    Marisa Wojcik

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    Two members of the Wings of Blue US Navy Skydiving Team disconnect from one another after performing a dual stunt Saturday at the Chippewa Valley Air Show. Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik [Chippewa Valley Air Show 2015 held Saturday, July 4 at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.]

    Marisa Wojcik

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    The Shockwave Jet Truck makes its way across the runway after spewing white smoke all around it. The truck, driven by Neal Darnell, is the world's fastest jet-powered truck. Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik [Chippewa Valley Air Show 2015 held Saturday, July 4 at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.]

    Marisa Wojcik

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    Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik [Chippewa Valley Air Show 2015 held Saturday, July 4 at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.]

    Marisa Wojcik

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    Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik [Chippewa Valley Air Show 2015 held Saturday, July 4 at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.]

    Marisa Wojcik

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    Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik [Chippewa Valley Air Show 2015 held Saturday, July 4 at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.]

    Marisa Wojcik

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    Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik [Chippewa Valley Air Show 2015 held Saturday, July 4 at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.]

    Marisa Wojcik

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    Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik [Chippewa Valley Air Show 2015 held Saturday, July 4 at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.]

    Marisa Wojcik

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    Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik [Chippewa Valley Air Show 2015 held Saturday, July 4 at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.]

    Marisa Wojcik

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    Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik [Chippewa Valley Air Show 2015 held Saturday, July 4 at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.]

    Marisa Wojcik

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    Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik [Chippewa Valley Air Show 2015 held Saturday, July 4 at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.]

    Marisa Wojcik

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    Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik [Chippewa Valley Air Show 2015 held Saturday, July 4 at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.]

    Marisa Wojcik

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    Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik [Chippewa Valley Air Show 2015 held Saturday, July 4 at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.]

    Marisa Wojcik

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    Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik [Chippewa Valley Air Show 2015 held Saturday, July 4 at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.]

    Marisa Wojcik

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    Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik [Chippewa Valley Air Show 2015 held Saturday, July 4 at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.]

    Marisa Wojcik

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    Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik [Chippewa Valley Air Show 2015 held Saturday, July 4 at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.]

    Marisa Wojcik

A chance to glimpse one of only two active B-29 bombers in the world will come with a high-flying performance this Father’s Day weekend as the Blue Angels return to Eau Claire.

This B-29 bomber named Doc will be on display during the two-day Chippewa Valley Air Show June 16-17 that features the U.S. Navy’s flight demonstration squadron. Doc is the same type of plane that flew the atomic bomb over Hiroshima in 1945 near the end of World War II.

“It will bring a lot of excitement,” said Tim Molepske, Scout executive of the Chippewa Valley Council — Boy Scouts of America. “That’ll be the most exciting thing besides the Blue Angels.”

The plane had been abandoned for 45 years, said Tim Olson, vice president of special initiatives for the local Boy Scouts board. The bomber was found in the Mohave Desert, restored and taken to its new home in Wichita, Kan.

The plane will fly from there to Eau Claire, a several-hour flight that costs $3,000 per hour in fuel.

“It was in Oshkosh last year, and it was the biggest draw that was there as far as static displays,” Olson said. 

Olson said the plane isn’t making the trek to many shows this year, with Eau Claire being one of the exceptions. Visitors to the air show can pay $20 to go inside the cockpit of the bomber on Saturday and Sunday. 

“They say it’s unbelievable,” Olson said of others who have made the tour.

Daily attendance at the air show is expected to be about 30,000, similar to previous years. 

Parking will be free this year, hopefully helping to discourage traffic back-up similar to what occurred in 2015. United Bank is sponsoring parking.

Admission is $30 per person each day for general admission, with prices going up from there for other amenities such as access to tented areas. Visitors 12 and younger get in for free, compliments of CCF Bank. 

“This is a community event, and every time they spend a dollar, it helps the Boy Scouts of America and lots of nonprofits in the area,” Molepske said.

The air show in the Chippewa Valley dates back to 1976, when it was run by the Eau Claire Jaycees. That organization managed the show until 2002. The Boy Scouts took over in 2008 and held a show that year as well as in 2010 and 2015.

The show each day is scheduled to start at noon and end by about 4:15 p.m. Featured in the show will be the Wings of Blue Air Force skydiving team, aerobatic demos, a heritage flight and a jet truck run.

A public meet-and-greet will be from 7:15 to 8:15 p.m. on Friday, June 15, at Holiday Inn South, 4751 Owen Ayres Court. The event is free.

If You Go

What: Chippewa Valley Air Show.

When: Saturday and Sunday June 16-17. Gates open at 8:30 a.m. Shows run from noon to 4:15 p.m.

Where: Chippewa Valley Regional Airport, 3800 Starr Ave., Eau Claire.

Parking: Free.

Tickets: General admission for one day is $30. President’s Club tickets are $125 per day and include access to a tented area with open seating, lunch buffet, complimentary soda and water and two drink tickets.

More info: chippewavalleyairshow.com.


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