Minden-Tahoe Airport prepares for USAF Thunderbird invasion
Major Scott “Cheetah” Petz will be overflying the Minden-Tahoe Airport on Sunday in preparation for the USAF Thunderbirds performance at the Aviation Roundup on Aug. 22-23.
Airport Manager Bobbi Thompson briefed members of the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce about what is needed to accommodate the 10-15,000 visitors the show is expected to draw.
“We’re hearing from all over the country, and we have a number of people who follow the team wherever they perform,” Thompson said Wednesday. “The airport is 1,000 acres, so accommodating 15,000 people is not a problem. Our biggest concern is making sure everyone gets parked safely.”
August’s visit is the second time in 20 years, The Thunderbirds have performed in Northern Nevada.
“They visit 40 locations a year, and we’re one of them,” Thompson said. “You’re going to see a show that will last four hours. It won’t just be The Thunderbirds, we’ll have civilian acts as well.”
Some of those acts include Bill Stein, Kyle Franklin, Matt Younkin, Team Rocket Aerobatics, hang glider pilot Dan Buchanan and glider pilot Manfred Radius.
“Team Rocket has been here before, but that’s the only one,” Thompson said. “We wanted to have the glider because we have such a large soaring population in the Valley. Plus, we wanted a mix. When you do an air show, you want fast, slow, loud and quiet.”
The airport is looking for event sponsors who will receive reserved parking and VIP tent privileges.
Volunteers are also needed to drive parking shuttles, manage the VIP tent, clean up and other jobs.
“With the help of a lot of people, we’ll get the job done,” Thompson said.
In addition to the air shows, there will be a static aircraft display, a kid’s zone, merchandise vendors and food vendors.
“It’s your event, and we want you to come out and participate and be involved,” Thompson said. “To be able to have the Thunderbirds in this Valley is pretty fantastic. We’ve got 18 percent veterans in this area, so to bring that to honor our veterans, I’m really happy about that.”
On Aug. 21, the Thunderbird pilots will be doing a closed full dress rehearsal followed by visits to the high school and Make-A-Wish children.
Advanced tickets go on sale in 10 days. Tickets cost $10 for adults, $5 for children 12-17 and free for children younger than 12. A family pack is $20. Prices increase at the gate. Gates open at 10 a.m. both days with opening ceremonies at noon. Gates close at 5 p.m.
There will be no bleacher seating, so lawn chairs are recommended. For more information or tickets, visit http://www.aviationroundup.com, or call 782-9871