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Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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March 28, 2012     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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March 28, 2012
 

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A Wednesday, March 28, 2012 News pirit of JEFFERSON andFARMER'SADVOCATE 9 CHRISTINE MILLER FORD Spirit Staff MARTINSBURG - Months after a deadly crash halted the Thunder Over the Blue Ridge Air Show, organizers say they're making progress on staging another spectacular aerial event for autumn. In the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 17 crash that killed a North Carolina-based stunt pilot, organizer Nic Diehl heard from Panhandle business sponsors and citizens alike who wanted to see Thunder go on. This week brought the an- nouncement that contracts have been signed with three aerial acts as well as with Lar- ry Rutt to serve as air show an- nouncer. Bill Finagin, Jerry Wells and Charlie Schwenker will re- turn to perform for the Sept. 15 and 16 air show and open house, which will unfold on the grounds of the 167th Air- lift Wing at Eastern West Vir- ginia Regional Airport in Mar- tinsburg. Finagin will demonstrate the aerobatic capabilities of the Pitts $2C, a light, highly ma- neuverable aerobatic bi-plane designed for air show perfor- mances. Wells will perform in both a Bucker Jungmeister, a 1930s German bi-plane known for its agility and originally used as a trainer for the Luftwaffe, and in an Extra 300, a German aer- obatic monoplane. Rutt served as announcer for the 2010 and 2011 Thunder shows. Event organizers say they will continue to work with nfil- itary and civilian aerial dem- onstration teams. Shaun Perkowski, presi- dent of Thunder Over the Blue Ridge Inc says he hopes to see more local companies part- ner with Thunder Over the Blue Ridge. "Sponsors have the oppor- tunity to maximize exposure of their product while helping build an exciting community event," he said. Martinsburg will again host the Thunder Over the Blue Ridge Air Show in September, The event's organizers say that contracts have been signed with three aerial acts for the annual air show and open house Sept. 15 and 16. Last year's event came to an end early when a stunt pilot crashed and was killed. No one on the ground was injured. Proceeds frona Thunder sup- port local charities through the United Way of the Eastern Panhandle. Anyone interested in spon- soring the 2012 Air Show can contact Perkowski (304-283- 1038 or io~ g ola) or Diehl (304-702-3700 or nicdiehl@yahoo.com). The disaster that brought a premature end to last fall's Thunder came after rain forced the delay of the event's start by hours. After the crash, organiz- ers sent spectators home and called off the rest of the two- day air show. The 2:35 p.m. crash killed John "Jack" Mangan, 54, who was flying a 1950s-era T-28 Warbird. The crash and the follow- ing explosion left the crowd stunned and silent. The audience watching when the crash happened was small- er than at the 2010 air show and open house, which over two days brought some 80,000 spectators to Martinsburg. The day before the Pmlhan- die crash, a pilot and eight oth- ers were killed during an air race in Reno, Nev. More than 60 people on the ground were sent to the hospital. Mangan, of Cornelius, N.C was killed following an acro- batic maneuver with the Trojan Horsemen flight demonstration team. He was one of six pilots tak- ing part in the team's Salute to the Armed Forces, which has as its finale a "bomb burst," a synchronized pyrotechnic dis- play that creates a wall of fire. Mangan, a Boston native, graduated fro19 the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1979. After retiring from the Air Force, he owned a restaurant. "We were fortunate that the safety measures put in place by the Federal Aviation Adminis- This fall's Thunder Over the Blue Ridge Air Show will feature Bill Finagin, Jerry Wells and Charlie Schwenker on the grounds of the 167th Airlift Wing at Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport in Martinsburg. factured just after World War II. Many who called for the tration ensured the safety of event to continue after the those on the ground," said Ma- crash point to the good that its jor Gen. James Hoyer, adjutant proceeds do in the Panhandle. general of the West Virginia Those who come to see National Guard. Tlmnder are asked to make As in the Nevada crash, the a $10 donation to the United plane that crashed in Martins- Way as they pass through the burg was a restored propeller- gates onto the air base. driven military aircraft manu- Before coming to Martins- burg, Diehl, a Beckley native served as the executive direc- tor of United Way of Southern West Virginia. He said the air show and open house is. impor- tant to the community because it gives the region a chance to shine. "As someone who's from southern West Virginia. I know all about the negative stereo- types that get attached to our state," Diehl said in Septem- ber. "That's one of the reasons the air show is such a good thing for our community. "The air show is the perfect opportunity to showcase West Virginia - that's what's driven this from the beginning," Investigators from the Na- tional Transportation Safety Board arrived on the scene ear- ly Sept. 1 8. The final report on the crash still hasn't been re- leased. Please make note of our new contact information: Send legal notices to: legals@spirit0fjeffers0n. com Submit news or event listings to: news@spiritofjefferson. com Contact the Editor by emaih editor@spiritofjefferson. com Place an advertise, ment disolav or classi- fled to: ads@spiritofjefferson. corn AND F^~MEa'S ADVOCA'r~ 210 N. 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