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Airport planning air show for July 2013

September 17, 2012
By Jason Raiche - staff writer ( , Daily Press

ESCANABA - Though the event is not until next year, organizers are hoping for big crowds as they continue planning the Northern Flights Air Show's "Thunder Over Delta County" July 27-28, 2013 at the Delta County Airport.

According to Assistant Airport Manager Kelly Smith, this is the airport's first air show in years.

"We haven't done an air show here in Delta County since the late 1970s," said Smith. "We've done our Aviation Day Pig Roast and stuff like that, but we haven't done an air show here since then."

Smith said "Thunder Over Delta County" will feature two days of air shows courtesy of Dave Dacy Airshows out of Harvard, Ill. The flight team coming to Escanaba will include the "Super Stearman Wingwalking Team" of Dave Dacy and Tony Kazian, Jim 'Fang' Maroney's DeHavilland Super Chipmunk routine, Doug Dodge's high energy, low level aerobatic routine "Machaira," Michael Vaknin's "Extra 300," a high energy, fast-paced aerobatic routine, and Erik Edgren's comedy performance routine "Twistin' it Old School." Phil Dacy will serve as the air show announcer and Scott Duck will be in charge of airboss/air & ground safety. Smith said the two-day event is expected to last from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days with many other activities planned as well. Tickets are currently available for pre-sale at at $10 for adults and $5 for children, though group rates are also available.

Gate ticket prices will be increased to $15 for adults and remain at $5 for children. Military discounts will be given at the gate. There is no charge for parking at the event.

"Thunder Over Delta County" will also feature performances by Scott Murray's Sick Air FMX freestyle motorcross routine prior to the start of the show.

Smith said organizers are hoping for a big military flyover as well as a couple C-130s, which are big cargo military planes.

"We're looking for A-10s, F-16s, F-15s to be on-site," she said. "They do their flyover and land. We're hoping to have static displays and all kinds of other aircraft that people can look at."

There will also be vendor booths selling food and other items for sale and a kids area which will have bounce houses and other fun activities. Organizers are also currently in the planning stages of some evening events to take place Friday and Saturday nights of the air show.

Michael McNeal is the president of Northern Flights Air Show responsible for a similar show at Sawyer International Airport in 2007 called "The Sawyer Experience." Smith noted that Northern Flights Air Show, which is the company putting on "Thunder Over Delta County," hopes to have air shows that can move to other U.P. airports through the years.

Smith said if people want to attend "Thunder Over Delta County," they should purchase tickets as soon as possible.

"We're hoping, and we believe, we can handle 5,000 people a day," she said. "So if there comes a point where we're going to have to cut people off, we don't want anybody missing out, so we would suggest getting tickets early."

Due to the capacity of the show, organizers are also looking for approximately 50 to 60 volunteers for each day.

"Online we actually have a volunteer form that you can fill out, pick out what you want to do, and it goes right to us immediately," she said.

They are also in the process of organizing sponsorship packages for those who would like to donate to the air show, as the two-day event is expected to cost approximately $60,000 to hold.

Sponsorship packages are available anywhere from $100 to $10,000 and include certain amenities like VIP passes and more. Sponsors will also be featured in the air show program book and posters advertising the event.

Smith said the air show is possible through a federal marketing grant the airport received late last year.

"I had money in there set up for an air show, so I have been able to start the fund off and we've gotten the website going by our marketing money," she said. "We've gotten the banner made up. We've done a few little events and now we're paying for the deposit for the Dacy Air Show team."

Organizers are currently planning some fundraising opportunities for the event and will be putting more sponsorship information on their website soon.

Any questions about sponsorship packages, volunteering, or the show itself can be directed to Smith at the Delta County Airport by calling 786-4902 or by emailing her at Northern Flights Air Show President Michael McNeal may also be contacted by calling (906) 360-6670 or by email at

For more information, visit, or visit the Northern Flights Air Show Facebook page.



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