Wings Over Wayne Airshow

2017

Wings Over Wayne Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Airshow

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20 S tanding with his family at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, 5-year-old Matthew Olde watched the United States Navy Blue Angels flying for his first air show. He never forgot that moment which helped inspire him to fly a jet one day. Now, Maj. Matthew Olde — a pilot with Seymour Johnson Air Force Base's 335th Fighter Squadron — will see the Blue Angels soar again at the base. After eight years, the 71-year-old flight demonstra- tion squadron is back for the Wings Over Wayne Air Show Saturday, May 20, at 3 p.m. "You see the Blue Angels, and you're just blown away by them as a kid because it's just incredible," Olde said. The Blue Angels include six F-18 Legacy Hornets which will take flight to entertain crowds by flipping upside down, placing wings on top of fellow jets' wings and taking on what may seem impossible. Olde said he remembers the first time he saw the Blue Angels when a wing tip of one aircraft hovered closely over the top of the canopy of another. He also remembers how loud the aircraft can be, and he encourages visitors to wear ear pro- tection. "If you've never seen the Blue Angels, the F-18 is a very maneuverable aircraft with very powerful engines," he said. "You'll see them take off and go straight up and defeat gravity with thrust, and you'll see them fly in formation within one or two feet from each other." Olde became the air show director this year, but he said he sent the request to the Blue Angels, the United States Air Force Thunderbirds and the Canadian Snowbirds in 2015 when he was an assis- tant director. He said the Thunderbirds and Snowbirds were unable to attend, but the Blue Angels agreed to return after last flying for Wings Over Wayne in 2009. "We're happy to have them," Olde said. Olde said the fact the Navy Blue Angels will fly over the base shows significance since Seymour Johnson is the only Air Force base named after a Navy officer. He said Lt. Seymour Johnson served as a pilot, but Johnson died in a plane crash in Maryland 76 years ago. "Really sad, but that's where the name for Seymour Johnson Air Force Base came from," Olde said. BLUE ANGELS: Unforgettable in the sky The Blue Angels will perform at the 2017 Wings Over Wayne in a show that is promised to be memorable and exciting. See BLUE ANGELS, Page 21 Story by Brandon Davis

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