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.
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.