Local News

Pope Air Force Base Holds Final Air Show

Posted October 6, 2007 8:30 p.m. EDT
Updated October 7, 2007 4:29 p.m. EDT

— 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.