Airshow of the Cascades gears up


Organizers send out letters to participants, sponsors

by: TOM BROWN - Bud Granley, of Bellevue, Wash., who flew for the Royal Canadian Air Force, will return to Madras for the Airshow of the Cascades in August.The Airshow of the Cascades may be four months away, but preparations are already well under way.

This month, organizers sent out about 450 emails and letters to remind pilots about the fly-in during the event, which will run from Aug. 23-24, at the Madras Municipal Airport.

“Over the past few years that I’ve been associated with it, we’ve had between 80 and 120 airplanes (fly in),” said Mack Gardner, chairman of the 2013 Airshow of the Cascades, who expects a larger fly-in crowd this year.

“This has been a popular air show in the past,” said Gardner. “Word is getting out about changes in the airport.”

Morgan Distributing, of Portland, and Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser beer, which sponsored the air show last year, have signed a three-year contract to continue sponsoring the show.

St. Charles Health System, which now owns St. Charles Madras (formerly Mountain View Hospital), has also “stepped up to be a donor,” said Gardner, noting that they have been receiving donations from other smaller sponsors.

Airshow of the Cascades organizers are in the process of sending out letters and emails to past donors as well.

“Last year, the air show venue provided the opportunity for nonprofits to take in $10,000 for their various civic and scholarship programs,” he said. “We are confident they will do even better this year.”

Once again, former airport manager Don Mobley is in charge of contacting aerial performers for the show, and has already booked numerous returnees from previous years.

Among those returning to the Madras air show are: Bud Granley, of Bellevue, Wash., who flies a Yak; Will Allen, of Seattle, the Flying Tenor, who flies a Pitts aerobatic airplane; Dan Buchanan, of Dayton, Nev., a paraplegic who flies hang-gliders; Renny Price, of Aurora, who flies a Sukhoi, Russian-built aerobatic airplane; and Canadian Dave Mathieson, known as “Super Dave,” who flies an MX-2, and is called Canada’s No. 1 aerobatic pilot ... by his mother.

Homeland Fireworks will provide a choreographed pyrotechnic display and fireworks Friday night, and again during Allen’s performance on Saturday, as well as the popular Wall of Fire on both days.

“A lot of people are contacting us to perform,” said Mobley, noting that the local air show is in a strong position this year. “Quite a few air shows around the nation have canceled due to the sequestration because they relied on the military to do most of their entertainment, whereas we haven’t relied on them for the flying acts.”

New performer Kent Pietsch, of Minot, N.D., will perform three acts with his Aeronca Champ: a dead stick landing with the engine off, a clown act, and a car-top landing on a pickup.

“We’ve been trying to get him for several years,” said Mobley. “He performs all over the United States and he’s always been booked.”

A musical act already lined up is the One of a Kind Drum Line, from Fort Vancouver, Wash., which will perform on Saturday. The Redmond High School JROTC Marine Drill Team is set to perform for the first time, and the Madras High School JROTC Drill Team will present the colors.

“We’re going to see an increased interest this year and next year as they start building a new hangar,” said Gardner, referring to Erickson Aero Air’s plans to construct a 65,000-square-foot facility to house part of Aero Tanker’s operation, in addition to Erickson’s collection of World War II aircraft, currently housed at the Tillamook Naval Air Station Museum. “There’s a synergy effect going on here.”

This year, for the first time, the air show will offer a two-day ticket, at a cost of $15. Single-day tickets are $10, with children 12 and under and veterans entering the air show for free.

“We’re starting to see people who want to come for two days. There’s a different twist on the air show each day — one’s at night, and the other’s during the day.”

St. Charles Madras will sponsor the “kids’ tickets” this year, which allow an adult accompanied by a child 12 or under to get in free.

“The board is very sensitive to cost,” said Gardner. “We are the cheapest air show in the state. Parking is free and you park across the street from the flight line.”

“We try to make this as cost-friendly and family-friendly as possible,” he added.

Noting that the air show has evolved into the county’s premier event, Gardner said it brings in many visitors. “We’re finding that over 50 percent who attend this air show are from outside of Jefferson County.”