LIVERMORE -- It's up, up, and away, with everything but the ticket price at Livermore Airport's free, annual Open House and Air Show to be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where else can you hold down your lunch while watching Jacquie Warda's stomach-churning aerial flips, loops, hammerheads and inverted-flying aircraft? Or drool over vintage automobiles and military warbirds while the kids experience magic at the hands of Woopsie Daisy Toys? Or chat up Dr. D (otherwise known as Dr. Frank Donnelly, holder of the FAA's highest mechanic rating and 6,000 flying hours), hang tight near a CALSTAR official with a medevac chopper, or stand nose-to-mask with a Livermore firefighter in full regalia?
Like a fair in the sky, the aerobatic performances from 11 a.m. to noon and 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. will inspire awe and amazement, even from seasoned pilots such as Pleasanton flyboy Kevin Ryan, 62.
"There are no wing-walkers in this year's show, but they'll be doing barrel rolls and dives," he promises.
Ryan fell in love with flying when a buddy took him up for a chandelle (vertical climb and turn) and other maneuvers. After college, when he says he "had a job and more than one nickel in (his) pocket at a time," he started to fly.
"I've been flying since January of 1976 ... 36 years!" he says, as if startled that time has flown faster than the Cessna 182 he shares with two friends.
Silvia Kersh, the City of Livermore's airport division
"People in the community don't always know what goes on at the airport. There are P-51 Mustangs, a P-40, a couple of T-60s, antique classics, the Coast Guard should be bringing a helicopter, and the Experimental Aircraft Association pilots will take sign ups for "Young Eagles" so kids can go on a future flight," she bursts in a single breath.
Admittedly, the show's roster of aviation treasures isn't parked on the tarmac daily, but Kersh insists there's a lot more than just noise at the civic airport.
In 2011, then-Mayor Marshall Kamena stepped up in the control tower to kick off the annual event, and none other than Sully Sullenberger showed his stuff in EAA's 633 Young Eagle.
Operations Supervisor Justin Drinkwater masks his excitement for the upcoming festival then gives in to impulse and says, "Warda does fantastic twists in an Extra EA-300 and Dr. D does slow maneuvers in an old Taylorcraft. He goes up and turns the engine off in the air -- really!"
If the anticipation and enthusiasm of people like Ryan, Kersh and Drinkwater -- plus the idea of free parking and a chance to light your inner-flying ace -- aren't enough to send everyone rocketing out of the house Saturday, there's a link to a YouTube video of the 2011 show at the Livermore Airport's website. Go to http://www.cityoflivermore.net/citygov/pw/airport/openhouse/default.asp.