SkyFest kicked off today at the Pocatello Airport, a day full of food, family, fun, and of course flying. We jetted on over and met with a few of the pilots performing in the main attraction.
“Once you’ve flown, life on the earth is never quite the same,” said Pilot John Bagley.
The Pocatello Airport’s annual appreciation day soared to new heights this year with their new title of “SkyFest”, and greatly thanks to a few gutsy guys.
“It’s a challenge, you can never perfect it. It’s fun, things you can’t normally do. Go hang upside by the belts, you can’t normally do that,” said Todd Therp.
Todd Therp was the first pilot to perform today, in his Aviat Pitts built especially for aerobatics. He wowed the crowd with his barrel rolls, loops, and Cuban 8’s, but the next plane up wowed the crowd with its tricks and history.
“Ole Yeller is the most famous of the most famous,” said John Bagley, “so I’m just lucky to have it. I’m flying a national monument.”
Ole Yeller is a North American p51 Mustang, the plane that changed WWII saving the bomber pilots. It was originally owned by Bob Hoover, one of the most famous test pilots who started the Reno air races. But Ole Yeller wasn’t the only plane with a backstory.
“It is the first jet that was capable of carrying a nuclear weapon off a carrier, and it’s the only one left in the world flying,” said Rich Sugden of his plane.
One of the last to perform is the Navy FJ4B Fury, built in 1958. All of the pilots put on quite an impressive show, and according to them, hopefully did some recruiting as well.
“It’s how you get kids hooked, kids and adults I should say,” added Therp, “and if they don’t, they’re missing out on a lot.”
If any of these planes piqued your interest, you can go check them out at the Legacy Flight Museum in Rexburg which houses quite a few of these old war birds.