Aviation Roundup not just for jets | RecordCourier.com

Aviation Roundup not just for jets

by Sarah Hauck

Not all of the performances at the Aviation Roundup Aug. 22-23 will have a motor attached.

Performances by a skydiving team and a hang glider will share the skies with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds at the Minden-Tahoe Airport.

The Misty Blues, an all-female skydiving team will leap from a plane with an 1,800 square foot American Flag to kick off each day's events.

"We have a more graceful routine," Misty Blues Owner and team member Amanda Scheffler said. "It is not crazy, chaotic and fast-paced like some skydiving shows."

Nine women from various places in the United States will jump from planes with banners and flags in a 5-10 minute routine.

While air shows are not a regular occurrence for the team members, who all work 9-5 jobs, demonstrations and shows like Aviation Roundup are informative opportunities, Scheffler said.

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"We like to leave an impression with people and inspire them," the 15-year skydiving veteran said. "The message we want to send, especially to the little girls, is you can be what you want to be. Don't let anyone tell you 'no.' That's how I lived."

Starting skydiving at the age of 18 for a spark of excitement in her busy life, Scheffler said the thrill of the sport is still there.

"For me, when I first started, it was very scary and with some excitement," she said. "But now that I've gotten the hang of it, and learned to trust myself to make the right decisions, it is just pure fun."

The Misty Blues will pave a path in the clouds for fellow nonmotorized performer Dan Buchanan.

Buchanan will perform a hang-gliding routine, launched from a custom designed winch system and rolling launch trailer.

Buchanan was a home builder and flat-track motorcycle racer before moving to Lake Tahoe, where he enjoyed the thrill of flying off mountain tops, he said.

He was getting his private pilot's license when in 1981, he had a spinal injury landing a hang glider in bad weather that he shouldn't have even been flying in.

"I have been hang gliding for 35 years; 34 from a wheelchair," Buchanan said. "I was teaching scuba in the evening up at Tahoe and one of our students taught hang gliding. We traded lessons. It was purely opportunity. Everything I do hooks me."

Despite his new handicap, Buchanan returned to the thrill of flying within six months, and since then he has accrued more than 2,900 hours of flight time in hang gliders and sailplanes.

Completing his private and commercial pilot license as a wheelchair user, his motorless recreational flights are typically 3-6 hours long, thermal soaring as high as 18,000 feet over the western deserts and mountains.

"There was no reason to stop (flying after his accident,)" he said. "You don't stop driving a car because you crash in a snow storm, you learn to drive in a snow storm."

After his first air show performance at Medford, Ore., in 1989, his appearances increased each year, and now he shares his enthusiasm of flight with millions of people around the world during his annual 25 plus city air show tour, driving 45,000 plus miles each summer.

"I got an opportunity to fly in an air show and it was a whole new awakening," Buchanan said. "I enjoy trying to create something people find entertaining. I am always trying to keep things fresh."

Before appearing at Aviation Roundup, Buchanan performed shows in Denver, Colo., and Canada.

Returning to Minden, Buchanan looks forward to adding another air show notch to his flightsuit.

"I have been performing for 26 years. I love the entertainment aspect of it," he said. "I like doing air shows because of the business, the travel, the people the camaraderie of the aviation business. There are hundreds of new people you meet every week."

Although being on tour eight months a year keeps him away from his Dayton home, Buchanan has made friends on the circuit, he said.

Buchanan looks forward to seeing some familiar faces at the roundup.

"I get to perform with some of my best air show performer friends," he said. "Bobbi Thompson (airport manager) has hired some awesome performers and some good personalities. It's a good line up. Everything is different from everything else. There is not a similar type of aircraft performing. There is something for everybody."

Gates to the show open at 10 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. each day. Opening ceremonies begin at noon.

The Thunderbirds will perform 3 p.m. both days.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children and children under 12 are free. Family packs are available.

For a full schedule of performances as well as to purchase tickets visit http://www.aviationroundup.com.