Planes fill skies at Tucumcari air show

Freedom New Mexico: Thomas Garcia Nicholas Brown of Tucumcari sits in the cockpit of a A-7 corsair II.

Thomas Garcia

TUCUMCARI — The light rain and heavy overcast clouds gave way to blue skies and the aircraft performing Wednesday during the Tucumcari Rotary Club/Chamber of Commerce Air Show.

“I think we did all right, the airshow turned out pretty good,” said Bob McClelland Jr., airshow coordinator.

As the crowd began to enter the gates, the clouds began to fill the skies above the Tucumcari Municipal Airport.

“I was kind of worried there for a bit,” McClelland said of the wet weather. “It turned out OK, a little breezy but it’s OK.”

McClelland said even with the drop in static displays there were still plenty of stands and displays for the crowd to enjoy.

McClelland said the money raised at the air show will be used for Quay County youth.

The crowd enjoyed stunt flying by Scott Lane of Lubbock and John Melby of Chandler, Ariz.

One of the new attractions to the airshow was a dog fight between a Grumman F8F Bearcat and a Mitsubishi A6M Zero.

The Zero was flown by Steve McCartney, a member of the Commemorative Air Force of Camarillo, Calif.

“This is an actual Zero World War II airplane which was recovered. It is not a reproduction,” McCartney said.

McCartney said the plane was one of three that were discovered in Indonesia in the early 1990s. The planes were brought to the United States, and later to Europe and Asia to be restored.

“This is one of four Zero aircraft which are being flown in the world today,” McCartney said. “There is not much known about the history of the plane due to much of the information being lost or destroyed during the war.”

To close out the airshow the crowd witnessed the maneuverability and speed of an A-10 flown by the Southern California Wing A-10 West Demo team.

The A-10 performed simulated strafing of ground targets and a bombing run.

There were more than 250 people who attended the airshow. McClelland said the Rotary Club had to cancel the 2010 airshow, and the Rotary was hoping that many residents were ready for its return.

“I’m pleased with the turnout,” McClelland said.