By Katelyn Gendron
Reminder Assistant Editor
WESTFIELD -- It's time to pull the chocks and start the props for the 2010 Westfield International Air Show this weekend.
Two hundred thousand people are expected to converge on Barnes Municipal Airport Aug. 21 and 22 to witness aerial acrobatics and demonstrations from some of the county's most extraordinary pilots, many traveling at speeds up to 1,500 miles per hour.
"The fact that we have this right in our backyard is amazing. [The event] showcases the United State's air superiority and that's why we've done so well throughout the world," Capt. Mary Harrington, public affairs officer for the 104th Fighter Wing, Barnes Air National Guard Base, said.
"The highlight of the [U.S. Air Force] Thunderbirds is significant. The formations that they do are awe inspiring," she added of this year's show.
Other acts include the "Golden Knights," the U.S. Army Parachute Team, the Geico Skytypers, who use vintage World War II aircraft to create type in the sky and more than 30 different aerobatic aircraft. The air show will also feature static displays of historic and military aircrafts, bounce houses and a "grand LEGO experience" for kids from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
Greg Poe of Greg Poe Airshows in Meridian, Idaho, will be one of the featured acts this weekend, not only as an aerobatic pilot of the Fagen MX2 but also as one of "Stan Lee's Superhumans" on the History Channel. Poe was selected for the show because of his incredible tolerance of pulls measuring up to 12-Gs.
When asked if he fears anything while in the air, Poe replied, "I go about my life with the realization that I've chosen a profession that is inherently dangerous ... My biggest fear is not getting to do this."
Poe has been a pilot for more than 35 years, with 18 years on the national air circuit.
"This is one of the best forms of family entertainment because it gives people a chance to see a 3-D aerial ballet," he said of air shows.
Poe will also be on site prior to this weekend's events to meet with kids at the local Boy's & Girls Club to talk about "Elevate Your Life," a program inspired by his son, Ryan, who died of a drug overdose in 2002.
"This program is about following your dreams and positive goal setting," Poe explained. "After losing my son and trying to deal with that very, very difficult situation [it turned from] something I didn't want to talk about into the most rewarding thing I do. Ultimately the goal is to inspire them [young people] and get a fire in their belly and go for something."
The goal of the foundation is to speak about "elevating your life" in front of 10,000 children by the end of the year, a goal he said will be attainable with the help of Westfield's air show.
The Westfield International Air Show is free and open to the public. A $10 donation for parking is requested.
For a complete schedule of events, visit www.westfieldairshow.net.
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