The biggest air show in Central Oregon is just a few days away. The Airshow of the Cascades at the Madras Municipal Airport is this Friday and Saturday.
“Air shows a lot of times are shows where you look up for two, three hours,” said Rick Allen with the Airshow of the Cascades Board of Directors. “We’re not. We have a car show. We have live music on two stages. We have an air show that you get to look at, and the Erickson Aircraft collection is open. That’s included in your ticket.”
Every year offers something new, and this year is no exception.
The airshow will have fireworks, a motorcycle stunt show and planes of all sorts of shapes and sizes, but the main attraction is something the airshow has never had before. And if you blink, you just might miss it.
This year’s prominent feature is what organizers call Nascar in the Sky. Eight planes race up to 240 miles per hour for everyone to see.
“It’s quite an adrenaline hit,” said Bill Beaton, president of the Sports Class Air Racing Council. “First of all, you’re close. You are flying within one to three airplane lengths from the other aircrafts. You are 50 feet to 100 feet off the deck. Things are going by real fast.”
Beaton says the event comes with some risk, but the pilots come with thousands of hours of experience and must qualify for an air racing license, which only 200 pilots have at any given time.
“Very exciting, very intensive, but the pilots have a lot of situation awareness, they have a lot of training,” Beaton said. “The foundation of all air racing is formation flying, and they are very good at what they do.”
The air show racing demonstration is on Saturday only.
Organizers say they don’t expect any cancellations or delays due to this year’s wildfire smoke.
“The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) is here,” said Allen. “They have safety regulations. The altitude, how far you can see. There is all those rules and regulations, they talk about that, and it is nothing we would anticipate.”
The Airshow of the Cascades runs Friday 2-11 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. General admission tickets cost $20 for adults and $6 for youth. Veterans and kids under five years old get in for free.