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Excitement builds as air show nears

Air National Guard sponsored, aerobatic pilot John Klatt, is among the many performers and aerial events scheduled for the 139th Airlift Wing Open House and Sound of Speed Air Show, May 5-6 at Rosecrans Memorial Airport, St. Joseph, Mo. (Photo courtesy of John Klatt Air Shows.)

Air National Guard sponsored, aerobatic pilot John Klatt, is among the many performers and aerial events scheduled for the 139th Airlift Wing Open House and Sound of Speed Air Show, May 5-6 at Rosecrans Memorial Airport, St. Joseph, Mo. (Photo courtesy of John Klatt Air Shows.)

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Excitement is building among Airmen here as the 139th Airlift Wing joins the city, Buchanan County and the St. Joseph Metro Chamber for some high-flying aerobatics and events at the 2012 Sound of Speed Air Show and Rosecrans Air National Guard Base Open House.

One month away, the Rosecrans Memorial Airport May 5-6 events are scheduled to kick off at noon in celebration with the city's Apple Blossom Festival barbeque May 4 and downtown parade the following morning.

"I am certain that the St. Joseph community, which we serve and live in, is just as excited as we are," said Col. Michael Pankau, wing commander.

Pankau said the Wing is planning the open house in conjunction with the air show.

"We are very proud of our organization, and I welcome the community to come and learn more about their Air National Guard while enjoying a world-class event.

The gates are scheduled to open at 10:00 a.m.

Air show officials explained that this year's show is intended to have an international theme with aircraft performances and direct access to aircrew and their equipment.

The daring Canadian Forces Parachute Demonstration Team, Canadian Skyhawks, are scheduled to help kick off festivities each morning with the national anthem.

Soviet-era jet aircraft including a MIG-17 fighter and an L-29 Delfin are scheduled to roar through the sky, along with a swarm of other international, vintage and aerobatic planes, which will buzz, swerve, lift and dive for spectators. A collection of Italian, German and Spanish military aircraft is also scheduled for display.

Of course, it's not an air show without a few flyovers too.

Saturday's and Sunday's plans include two, timed flyovers of the Air Force's stealthy B-2 Spirit bomber as well as a nimble T-38 Talon supersonic jet trainer.

The Air Guard's sponsored headliners are John Klatt, who performs precision aerobatic maneuvers that include barrel rolls, loop-the-loops, flips and flying upside down with jaw-dropping skill, as well as Neal Darnell, who is scheduled to thunder down the runway in his smoking, 12,000 horsepower Air Guard Jet Truck at record-breaking speed.

The flight line will be packed with aircraft.

Spectators will get up and close to current and vintage U.S. military jets and propeller types, including standing displays and aircrew of the C-130 Hercules, KC-135 Stratotanker, F-15 Eagle, F-18 Hornet, C-2 Greyhound and Army helicopters. WWII aircraft, including the warbird "Lady Liberty," should provide a sense of their bygone era.

Children will get hands-on in activities, experiments and demonstrations at a planned "Adventures in Aviation" display.

The air show will also host dozens of concessions and vendors.

One of the air show's highly anticipated acts is the Air Combat Command F-22 Demonstration Team, which is scheduled to cut through the sky with that aircraft's "fifth-generation" capability as the "world's premier fighter."

If that's not enough, there's a wing walker.

Tombstone Riders' wing walker, Carol Pilon, is scheduled to conduct her death-defying stunts, and the U.S. Navy parachute demonstration team, The Leapfrogs, will jump from a perfectly good aircraft to make for a full and exciting day, all not necessarily in that order.

Admissions to the air show and the open house are free.

Civilian officials said that area business sponsors are to thank for the air show.

"Many generous companies and individuals from throughout Northwest Missouri are our hero's and the true stimulus to our success," said Michael Reinert, the air show's charitable fund organizer. "The Sound of Speed takes its hat off to our team members: the businesses of St Joseph and surrounding areas."

The air show supports regional charities.

The most current Sound of Speed Air Show postings and information can be found on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SoundofSpeed).