Eyes on the sky

9/9/2013

By BECKY MALEWITZ

By BECKY MALEWITZ

bmalewitz@gctelegram.com

SCOTT CITY — Five-year-old Trenton Frank and 3-year-old Keller Turner either didn't notice or didn't care about the heat beating down on them Saturday afternoon.

The sun high in a nearly cloudless sky was causing sweat to pour off spectators at the Scott City Municipal Airport, but the Scott City duo was jumping out of their seats pointing excitedly at the sky.

"It's a pretzel! It's a pretzel!" one of them said, pointing at the smoke trail left by stunt pilot Brian Correll.

"It's a heart," the other chimed in.

Despite the heat, crowds flocked to the airport for the fourth annual Showdown BBQ and Air-Show. Hiding beneath the shade of umbrellas, under the wings of planes on display and just inside airplane hangers, spectators enjoyed the performances of Correll, the Rocky Mountain Renegades, and hang glider Dan Buchanan.

"We've been here the last two years, and we really enjoy it. The kids enjoy it, so we braved the heat for the kids. They love the smoke planes, that's their favorite," said Nicole Turner, who was attending the event with her husband, children, two sisters and nephews. "It's funny walking in and seeing all the different counties and all the different (license plate) tags to see how far people travel to come to this."

For five-year-old Kallyn Turner, there was one highlight of the two days of festivities.

"I gotta get in the helicopter and the airplane," she said.

Brian Vulgamore, chairman of the Spencer Flight and Education Center, has been involved with the air show from the beginning.

"I thought (the turnout) was great. It was a little bit on the hot side, so I didn't know if people would come out. I think a lot of people had fun," Vulgamore said, adding that he loves that a community the size of Scott City has the yearly event. "A lot of people don't have a chance or the opportunity to go to an air show. We get to promote aviation. There's something out here for everybody — the barbecue, the rides and the simulators you can fly yourself."

He went on to give accolades to Correll for making the event possible.

"Without Brian, we could have never gotten this started. He's just a Spearville kid," Vulgamore said.

Correll started doing aerobatics when he did spin training for his flight instructor certificate. Once he got a plane capable of doing aerobatics, he started doing competitions and eventually air shows.

"Air shows are a great way to show everybody how much you enjoy it and give back to the public, and let them see what the joy of flight's all about," Correll said. "I've done air shows where there are a couple thousand people, and those are fun, but you're a little disconnected at those. Small town shows are probably the most fun to do because they are a close-knit group, and you get to see people and spend time with them every year, and the whole community comes out. It's just a lot of fun."

Monta "Gunner" Plank was at this weekend's event as part of the Commemorative Air Force.

He has been flying planes since 1956 and was in the Air Force for 10 years as a loadmaster before he was shot down in Vietnam. On Saturday, he was enjoying everything the air show had to offer.

"It's fantastic for being in a small town. You can't beat it," he said. "I like to see air shows in small towns to show people in the whole community what flying is all about. I've never been to Scott City before, but I will be back."

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