Thunder returns to air show

By Julian J. Ramos / Staff Writer / jramos@santamariatimes.com | Posted: Tuesday, March 9, 2010 12:00 am

The roar of American air power will be back for the 2010 Thunder Over the Valley air show at the Santa Maria Public Airport, airport sources said.

Last year, in a change from previous years, the Santa Maria Museum of Flight’s annual show had to do without the aerial demonstrations of modern and classic warbirds the event has become known for. Organizers said they were unable to secure the required waivers in time.

However, this year the aerial spectacular will return, including the Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II demonstration team and an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III, a 174-foot-long cargo plane, according to Mike Geddry Sr., Museum of Flight president and air show organizer.

Santa Maria’s air show is unique as it is dedicated to the men and women of the armed forces and their sacrifices for our freedom, Geddry said.

“We’re the only ones doing it,” he said.

Attendance and exposure for the air show has grown over the years, he said, and this summer’s Thunder Over the Valley is expected to be the biggest yet.

Scheduled for Aug. 28 and 29, the 21st edition of the event is specifically dedicated to the U.S. Coast Guard and a C-130 Hercules cargo plane crew the Coast Guard lost in an October 2009 crash with a Marine Corps Super Cobra helicopter over the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, he said.

Geddry said he is waiting for confirmation from the Canadian military that its versions of the P-3 Orion sub chaser, a C-130 and an F/A-18 Hornet fighter will make an appearance.

He is also working with the Marine Corps to book a CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter, a Super Cobra and a V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.

The airport district’s board of directors approved a permit last month to allow the air show this year.

The agreement, approved Feb. 25, includes a $15,000 contribution from the airport, which is a $5,000 increase from 2009, said Chris Hastert, airport general manager.

Money from the airport covers the cost of insurance for the show, sanitary facilities, temporary fencing and barriers, security, lodging and rental cars for visiting military crews, first aid, and general promotion and marketing of civil aviation at the airport, Hastert said.