Friday, May 16, 2014

Cape Girardeau Regional (KCGI) Air Festival: Heroes and Legends will occupy the city's skies Saturday and Sunday

Flying High: 2014 air fest will take to the skies of Cape Girardeau 

The Cape Girardeau Regional Air Festival: Heroes and Legends will occupy the city's skies Saturday and Sunday.

The air show will take place at Cape Girardeau Municipal Airport, and this year's headliners are the Royal Canadian Forces demonstration jet team, the Canadian Snowbirds.

The air festival almost didn't happen this year. In February, the Snowbirds canceled all of their 2014 air show appearances in the United States because of budget cuts. As a result, the air festival was canceled.

But the group reversed direction and in early March informed organizers the team would be able to perform at several U.S. shows this year, including Cape Girardeau's. The Snowbirds typically perform in only about five U.S. cities during air show season. This will be their first performance in town.

This weekend, members of the public also will get to see military and civilian aerobatic performers, jet-powered vehicles, ground displays and other family-oriented activities.

Gates will open at 10 a.m. At 1:30 p.m. both days, the opening ceremonies will begin, with performances by the U.S. Army Golden Knights, Patrick McAlee, Paul Stender, Matt Younkin, Friends of Jenny, Aerostars, Michael Vaknin, Susan Dacy and the Snowbirds. The shows will end at 5 p.m.

The Golden Knights are the Army's official aerial demonstration parachute team.

The Aerostars are a precision aerobatic demo team that performs in the Yak 52TW, a former Soviet-designed, Romanian-built, World War II-type aerobatic trainer.

Friends of Jenny is a not-for-profit organization that raises awareness for the Curtiss JN-4 Jenny biplane, the first mass-produced World War I flight trainer that carried the first regularly scheduled airmail.

Some of the most unusual performances will include Paul Stender's unique jet-powered vehicles he creates and drives, including a 367-mph jet powered school bus.

The audience also will get to watch Matt Younkin flying his Beech 18, a plane never designed for aerobatic flight, and to applaud aviators Paul McAlee and Michael Vaknin.

As for Susan Dacy, she will take people back in time by flying her 450-horsepower Super Stear­man, "Big Red," in a style reminiscent of flying's barnstorming era.

The audience also can view Warbirds on display on the tarmac, and children will have access to a large inflatables area. 

Tickets can still be bought online at