The Air Up There

by Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

The 14th annual Tucumcari Air Show will be featuring new acts as well as some high-flying favorites
and some low-flying power machines, said show organizer Bob McClelland, Jr.

One of the low-flying spectacles is an Chevy S-10 that doesn’t sound like your dad’s Chevy S-10. It’s a jet truck that’s billed as the world’s fastest one-quarter mile Chevy pickup. This Chevy has a J-34-48 Westinghouse jet engine in its truck bed.

In addition it will fire off some spectacular afterburner fire and smoke that always pleases the crowd, McClelland said.
On the high-flying side are the Canadian Snowbirds, whose easily paced aerobatics are fun to watch, McClelland said.
“We’re really lucky to get the Canadian Snowbirds,” he said. “They had a opening in their schedule, and so they asked if they could come here.”

Although Tucumcari is a small town, it puts on a big city air show, McClelland said.

There will also be airplanes, modern and classic, that will be on the ground for people to inspect, McClelland said.
The annual event is put on by the Tucumcari Rotary, and volunteers from the club organize ticket sales, parking, air show bookings and other aspect of the event, McClelland said.

“We really do this for the kids,” he said. “We’ve ignited a spark in several of our kids from Tucumcari and they have gone on to become pilots.”

As part of the event, U.S. Air Force pilots visit each of the schools and give a presentation on what it takes to become a pilot and other aspects of being a pilot in the military.

On a more somber note, there will also be a brief memorial for a pilot Eric Beard, known as the Russian Thunder, who was killed last year in a flying accident. His wife, Diane, will attend, McClelland said. “Beard attended a number of our air shows. He was a good friend of the air show and we became friends,” he said.