Local News

Pope Air Force Base Holds Final Air Show

Posted October 6, 2007
Updated October 7, 2007

— Pope Air Force Base held its last air show this Sunday. The base is scheduled to shut down in the coming months as part of the military base realignment plan. The base will become Pope Army Airfield, incorporated into neighboring Fort Bragg.

“You will never see something like this or this big attempted again,” Maj. Brian May, U.S. Air Force, said.

About 100,000 spectators were expected Sunday for the final air show. Saturday's air show also drew big crowds.

Air Force veteran Mark Broadie said he had to come out Saturday to see the aerial spectacle for a last time.

“Just the roar of the engines and the fanfare. It's overwhelming for me,” Broadie said.

Fans said the show gets better every year and they are sad to see the event go.

“I like how the planes sneak up on you, because you can't hear the sound, and then they're there. It scares you. You try to protect yourself from it, but they do it every time,” spectator Valerie Pinkston said.

Organizers said it is the fan reactions that make the show worthwhile.

“It's just nonstop flying from the minute people get here to the minute they leave. Obviously, memories that last a lifetime,” May said.

The Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration squadron dazzled spectators with close formation acrobatic maneuvers Saturday designed to show the fighter jets' capabilities.

Twenty-five acts were expected to take part in Sunday's final air show.


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  • paddie Oct 7, 2007

    About 15 years ago, we parked in a Walmart parking lot and rode our bikes into Pope from there. Very quick and easy and could park our bikes at the gate. Of course that was back in the pre 9-11 days when life was so much easier......

  • hollylama Oct 7, 2007

    i planned on going to see the thunderbirds but the hassle of getting there was somewhat frustrating. They gave a show a few months back at Wings Over Wayne (or something like that) and there was no where near as much hassle involved. We were allowed on base and could park on base.

  • smegma Oct 7, 2007

    Yep, ridiculous. Get ready to stand in line for hours for a bus to pick you up and drive you to the show 5 or 6 miles away. Wasn't worth it for us

  • Tired Of Excuses Oct 7, 2007

    Gulf War Vet, thank you for the link and for your service to our country!

  • GulfWarVet Oct 6, 2007

    Keep in mind the following when planning things to bring to the event. They are STRICT and were sending folks away, or confiscating 'contraband' items at security checkpoints.


  • GulfWarVet Oct 6, 2007

    tired of excuses - check this site on where to park ON post.

    When those five lots fill up, they will park you off post.

    Check this link to verify which gates are accessible to civilian traffic. NOTE: this site is subject to change without notice.... and DID for us, as my previous post indicated.

  • GulfWarVet Oct 6, 2007

    Wow. I certainly encourage you to go EARLY, if you go at all. We'd planned on getting there as soon as the gates opened to park on post in one of the five designated parking areas.

    We instead got there around 1030a today, and public access to the post was SHUT OFF, all civilian traffic diverted away to Seay Field, Black route. HUNDREDS of cars, and THOUSANDS of people trapped in several hour long queue lines made it unbearable, and some left. We stuck it out, and enjoyed the show.

    The return shuttle trip back to Seay Field was anticipated to be a PROBLEM. We left the show before the Thunderbirds finished their aerial performance (hated to do that!) but, even so, we ended up waiting just under 1hr to board the bus. The lines stacked up LONG and wide back to our parking area... no kidding about two tenths of a mile long. They indicated to us that mechanical failures of a few buses caused the delay.

    All considered, we REALLY enjoyed the event.

  • Tired Of Excuses Oct 6, 2007

    I'm planning on going. Where are the shuttles? Where's the best place to park?

  • K9Tucker.LoveMYcop Oct 6, 2007

    This is really sad. My dad started taking me to the airshows there when I was about 3. This is where I found my love for airplanes. I have a lot of fond memories that I will cherish forever. Thanks Dad!!!!

  • tazmeadowman Oct 6, 2007

    the shuttle lines are very long.Be ready to stand in line for a while.it took 1 hour to get in and out of the show.