MONROE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A part of history and power was on display at the Warbirds over Monroe air show Saturday and Sunday.
“We have 13 acts and close to around 50 planes that take off and land right here, and they do aerobatics and do performances. They come right over the flight line. People can get right up to them,” City of Monroe Lucore Communications Specialist Bradley Lucore said.
In the crowd of thousands, Sunday was the O’Connor family
“Being around aviation is just a part of our family,” the father said.
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His two young children got a small glimpse of the talents their father has after serving 11 years in the navy.
“They were pretty young when I was flying, so for them, this is their exposure and it’s nice to bring that back to them because they didn’t understand what it was when I was actually doing it,” O’Connor said.
For those putting on the show, it’s an honor to participate.
“Oh, it’s like nothing else. I tell all the kids all the time, ‘flying is far better than working for a living,’” Pilot Thom Richard said.
Richard has been flying for 33 years. He took flight Sunday in a WW2 War Hawk, also known today as a fighter aircraft.
“It’s a tremendous experience. It’s a step back in history every time you get into one of these things,” Richard said.
All stunts and aerobatics performed at the show must be pre-approved by the FAA, but there are always going to be risks. A crash involving two planes in Dallas, Texas Saturday show those risks can cause tragedy.
“I haven’t even been able to formulate how I feel about that except it’s just tragic,” Pilot Jack Michaud said.
Six people died during the Dallas air show after two vintage aircraft collided mid-flight.
“It’s horrible to watch, and we are friends with all of those guys. We know a lot of those people. They are our brothers, and it really hurts when something like that happens,” Michaud said.
“People that go to air shows, they are all connected. They are all in the same kind of family, so everyone pretty much knows anyone. So, it is a tragedy in any community that, that happens in,” Lucore said.
Monroe’s airshow Sunday started off as it has for 15 years, with a safety briefing. All pilots were told that if they don’t feel safe executing a performance not to do it.
“It’s really rare. Air shows are run really well and everything very organized and safety is the number of factors, and it’s really proven it. It’s rare when there is a crash like that at an air show, unfortunately, it does happen sometimes,” Michaud said.