Fort Worth air show taking flight this weekend

FORT WORTH -- It is Sean Tucker's last performance of the season this weekend at Alliance Airport.

It is also one of his perennial favorites.

"This show is buttoned-up," said Tucker, who flies the Oracle Challenger, a cherry-red high-performance biplane. "There are not many air shows that put so much care and thought into enhancing the visitor experience. And this area has such a great aviation history and culture that the fans are sophisticated about what you do."

The Fort Worth Alliance Air Show, on Saturday and Sunday, typically attracts more than 100,000 people a weekend. Mother Nature appears ready to give organizers and performers ideal conditions, which isn't always the case for an outdoor event in late October.

"It's going to be absolutely perfect weather -- cool mornings, warm afternoons," said Dave Pelletier, a spokesman for Hillwood Development, which developed and manages the airport.

Since much of North Texas has caught Texas Rangers fever, Pelletier made sure to note that the air show won't conflict with Games 3 and 4 of the World Series in Arlington.

"You can come out with the family and spend the day and still get home for first pitch," he said.

Proceeds from the show benefit local charities, including the USO.

The headliner is the Navy's Blue Angels flight team in one of its final performances of 2010, although Lockheed Martin employees might suggest that the headliner is a flight demonstration of the F-22 Raptor, the Air Force's most prized jet and one partly produced in Fort Worth.

Other military acts include an F-16 Viper demonstration team, the Army Golden Knights parachute team and numerous warbirds from the Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addison.

Tucker, a veteran of air shows since 1976, will be one of the civilian acts, along with longtime Dallas resident Jan Collmer in the Fina Extra 300L.

"This show is like the Indy 500, the Fourth of July and Top Gun all rolled into one," Tucker said.

Greg Poe, flying the ethanol-powered Fagen MX2 aircraft, is also performing this weekend after a busy few days of flying essay-winning middle-schoolers over the North Texas prairie.

Poe visited middle schools in the Keller and Northwest school districts, speaking to them about green energy, aviation and drug addiction. He lost a teenage son to heroin several years ago and sponsors an essay contest to motivate children.

"The air show has become a means for him to tell his story to young people," said Greg Gibson, team coordinator for Poe.

Chris Vaughn, 817-390-7547