Record crowds are expected to turn out for this popular family event. Admission is free. A donation of $10 per carload for parking is encouraged and appreciated. Come early. There is plenty of parking, with both handicap and special needs parking available.
Gilmer Mayor Buck Cross, the City Council, and City of Gilmer Staff will begin Saturday’s program with a coffee reception at the Gilmer Airport Terminal for veterans and their families.
The reception is open to all show visitors and all are urged to drop by and say hello.
There will be a mini parade of military and classic vehicles from the terminal out to the tarmac where the veterans will pass in review as Mayor Cross, U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tyler), State Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler), State Rep. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), and Col. James Marks from the 47th Fighter Squadron salute the veterans.
A-10 Warthogs from the 47th Fighter Squadron will kick things off at 11 a.m. as they make their fly-overs for the Veterans Tribute Program beginning promptly at 11 a.m.
The 47th Fighter Squadron has a rich history in WWII, being the first and only squadron to launch fighter planes against the Japanese forces on Dec. 7, 1941 during the Pearl Harbor attack. The 47th is credited with seven Japanese planes downed.
Two pilots from the 47th who flew combat missions this summer over Afghanistan will attend and perform in the show.
The Air Force has confirmed that the mighty B-52 Stratofortress Bomber will appear over Gilmer for Saturday’s air show.
“Members of the 93rd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB in Shreveport, La. called this week and expressed appreciation to the show organizers for allowing them to participate in Gilmer’s salute to our WWII veterans,” Dean said.
The B-52, affectionately called the BUFF, will fly over the air show crowd at 1:35 p.m. Saturday. The path of the B-52 flight will take the plane over Midway Truck Stop, then south along the Cotton Belt tracks past Bettie, then just east of Lake Gilmer Dam, then along Montgomery Street to the airport.
“The B-52 flying over with engines revved high and smoke pouring out the tailpipes of eight huge jet engines makes an awesome show of force for freedom,” Dean said.
Just confirmed this week is the return of the Texas Heatwave Radio Control Model Aircraft performance team. This Show Team of builders and pilots from the DFW area are regulars at the Gilmer airshow. Their performance at noon kicks off the air show portion of the day’s program.
Airplane rides in the B-25 Mitchell Bomber, and the T-6 Texan are available on Friday afternoon, Saturday, and Sunday. The C-47 Skytrain flights will be available Saturday only. A donation to the museum is your ticket to ride.
The B-25 is $375; the T-6 is $350; and the C-47 is $200. Reservation and ticket information is available on line. Details of the flights are on www.flightofthephoenix.org. Telephone scheduling can be made with Dina Holman at 903-843-3811.
John MacGuire, Paul Fiala, and Jan Collmer round out the world class aerobatic performer acts, while Ed Shipley puts icing on the cake with his P-51 Mustang formation aerobatic demonstration.
“This is the first time ever for a formation of Mustangs to appear in Gilmer. This Mustang performance will be a memorable and rare treat for all in attendance,” Dean said.
The entire show program should prove to be a fitting salute to our veterans of all services from WWII up through the current times.