THIS WEEKEND: Olympic Air Show

By Molly Gilmore on June 16, 2011


Somehow I can't hear the word "warbirds" without wanting to put the word "Romulan" in front of it.

But "Star Trek" aside, the term is not a creation of Gene Roddenberry and company but a real-world designation for any aircraft that has served in a military capacity.

And warbirds - from World War II bombers to Vietnam-era helicopters to A-10s, a type of attack aircraft that has been used in Afghanistan and Iraq - are the aircraft that will be on display and in the air at the Olympic Air Show this weekend in Olympia.

Besides the flight demonstrations and displays, the 13th annual air show offers encampments with re-enactors, children's activities and a USO-style show with Joyride at 4 p.m. Saturday.

The highlight of this year's show is a visit from the U.S. Air Force's A-10 West Coast Demonstration Team. Still in use today, the A-10 Thunderbolt II was developed in the early '70s to support ground forces by attacking tanks and armored vehicles.

The A-10, which integrates a cannon that is the largest weapon ever mounted on an aircraft, is heavily armored. It can fly at speeds up to 439 miles per hour, said Jeffrey R. Johnson of Olympia, who works in administrative support at the museum.

Also of note are the World War II fighter planes visiting the show for the first time: the B-17 Flying Fortress "Sentimental Journey" and the B-25 Mitchell "Maid In the Shade."

"The A-10 is on top of the list, but the B-17 and the B-25, I'd consider a close second," Johnson said. "We'll get the present and the past."

The flight show, from 12:45 - 4 p.m. both days, will also include most of the Olympic Flight Museum's own aircraft, both helicopters and airplanes.

"We'll be flying the museum's Mustang, and we'll be flying the museum's Vietnam-era helicopters," said museum director Teri Thorning. "We have about 16 or so different aerobatic acts."

On the ground, people can get up close to some of the warbirds and even step inside.

There'll also be the opportunity to ride in some of the aircraft, including the B-17 and the B-25. But at $395 for the B-17 and $425 for the B-25, most people will likely remain on the ground. A ground tour of either plane costs $5 above the admission fee.

Olympic Air Show

Saturday, June 18, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. (gates close at 5), and Sunday, June 19, 9 a.m.-5 p.m..; $12 in advance, $15 at the gate; free for children 6 and younger

Olympia Regional Airport, 7637-A Old Hwy. 99, Olympia

360-705-3925 or