Stevens Point Air Show Flies in on Saturday
By Jacob Mathias, Senior Staff Reporter
Aircraft exhibits, aerobatic demonstrations, and flight opportunities highlight the Stevens Point Air Show at the Stevens Point Airport on Saturday.
6000 people are expected to attend the show from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. according to Jim Deweerd, Air Show Director and pilot of a Cessna 310.
The show is a combination of aerobatic displays, aircraft exhibits, and flights for guests. According to Deweerd, the air show began about 25 years ago as a fly-in event but has been in its current format for the last 12 years.
The show has taken place every other year for the past 8 years in order to curb costs as all exhibits and performances are donated by area business and community members including Sentry Insurance, Delta Dental and Noel group among many others.
Three pilots will perform aerobatic displays this year. Bill Cowden, a Delta pilot from Menomonie, Wis., Pete Tallarita, also a Delta pilot from St. Paul, Minn., and Darrel Massman, a aerobatic competition pilot from Waupaca, Wis. will all be performing aerobatic displays in Saturday afternoon.
New displays this year include featured active duty helicopters flying in to the show include a Chinook from Peoria, Ill., a Black Hawk from West Bend, Wis. and a Coast Guard Dolphin from Travers City, Mich.
Other aircraft exhibits include a B-52 Bomber, a Spirit Medevac out of Marshfield, Wis., and World War 2 aircraft.
According to Deweerd, Stevens Point show is on a smaller scale but on par in quality with the annual Experimental Aircraft Association Airshow in Oshkosh, Wis. which draws 3-400,000 visitors every year.
Visitors will also be able to take a flying tour around the Stevens Point area in a Robertson R44 helicopter or a Cessna 172 airplane. The flight cost is $35 and $30 respectively.
Along with Deweerd, other volunteers from the Stevens Point Pilot Association complete the air show committee. Eric Berens, a retired Delta captain is this year’s air boss in charge of recruiting the aerobatic flyers as well as securing permits and permissions with the Federal Aviation Administration. Scott Rifleman, a former EMT and county coroner is Berens’ assistant.
Wisconsin National Guard Staff Sergeant Mark Turkewicz helped secure the military aircraft for this year’s show and will act as ramp boss and organized plane parking. Jason Draheim, Stevens Point Airport manager, and David Olson of the pilot association are also on the committee.