By Ryan Lengerich
Low visibility and strong winds tortured the pilots Tuesday night at Tucumcari’s first night air show.
One of the nights featured performers, hang glider Dan Buchanan never left the garage due to high winds. Spectators had mixed reviews about the show.
“It was kind of a cool show, we just could have used a little more,” said Dean Billings of Tucumcari after the show. “It was something different.”
Before the show, Joeray Quintana was looking forward to the night show and said he enjoyed having something else to do for a night. After the show his expression changed.
“I had better expectations than that,” Quintana said.
At the convention center, the shows designated viewing area, cars nearly filled the parking lot. On a windy night, some people sat wrapped in jackets in the back of pick-up trucks.
Bob Carlton opened with a routine featuring strobe lights and flares.
But confusion set in as Carlton’s act ended. As he turned back for the airport. Cars began filing out of the parking lot.
About half the parking lot had emptied before the second plane, Eric Beard “Russian Thunder,” reached the viewing area and made his first pass of the performance.
Beard’s performance featured fireworks launched from his plane and dazzling pyrotechnics, though over the radio he could be heard talking about the low visibility.
After the show Joeray’s father Johnny said he was impressed with pyrotechnics.
“I liked it,” Johnny said. “It is not often you see something like that.”
Show organizer Bob McClelland Jr. has seen more than 300 air shows, this was his first time seeing a night event.
“I thought the fireworks were just spectacular from that point of view,” he said.