Sun, Oct 21, 2007
SPG Airshow Draws A Crowd... And Public Safety
A jet-powered 1957
Chevy truck and a dive-bombing airplane kicked off the fourth
annual St. Petersburg Airfest at Albert Whitted Airport
When Scott Shockley's "Shockwave Jet Truck" fired up its
engines, the explosive sound it emitted prompted calls to 911 from
people nearby... who thought that they had heard a disaster,
according to the St. Petersburg Times. The twin jet engines in the
Chevrolet truck -- more accurately, the noise they made -- drew
three police cars and a fire truck.
"We didn't know exactly what he was going to do," Airfest
president Dave Thompson said. The truck -- capable of speeds over
400 mph -- threw out flames and black smoke making a spectacle.
Earlier in the week, a divebomber practicing its runs was
mistaken for a crashing plane, and created yet another false
This year's Airfest hopes to draw a similar crowd to last year's
20,000, according to Thompson. The airshow board added World
War II type aerial re-enactments this year, as well as a special
obstacle course for kids.
The popularity of Airfest is a sweet vindication for those who
fought off an effort to close Albert Whitted Airport just a few
years ago. As ANN reported,
SPG earned a reprieve from developers in 2003, who wanted to
encroach on the airport land. AOPA's Airport Support Network helped
convince the city not to close the airport for development in a
resounding victory for pilots and users of the airport.
The airport also recently received $2.2 million for a new control
tower from an appropriation provided by Congressman CW
Bill Young (R-FL), while he was chairman of the House Appropriation
Committee in 2004.
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