Catalina Island hosted its second annual Air Show on the weekend of October 26th and 27th. Sponsored by Scheyden Glasses, the show boasted aerobatic air show performances by “Super Dave” Mathieson in his customized Scheyden MX2, John Collver’s AT-6, Team Rocket Aerobatics with Eric Hansen and Ken Fowler, John Melby’s Muscle Bi-Plane, Ross Granley’s YAK 18-T, Marcus Paine’s Super Cub, Mike Blackstone’s Waco YMF-5, and the Red Bull Chopper piloted by Chuck Arron, the only pilot in the United States licensed to perform with a helicopter.
The performances were held right at the breakwater of Avalon Bay and at the Airport In the Sky.The pilots were unable to conduct their early morning practice session due to the unpredictable and uncooperative weather. Once the low clouds and fog dissipated, the show went on without a hitch. Sounds of awe and delight could be heard, as each performer dazzled the crowd with breathtaking maneuvers seemingly just mere feet above the water.
Show goers were invited to view the aircraft on display and meet the pilots on Sunday at the Airport In the Sky. Those who ventured up to the airport were not only able to see the aircraft up close and personal, but were also thrilled with the very low fly-bys from some of the performers as they departed the island. This airport offers one very unique runway that abruptly drops off into the canyons below. Some of the departing aircraft, most notably, Row 44′s blue and yellow Albatross, provided an interesting photo opportunity as it immediately banked right and disappeared into the canyon below. I heard one aviation enthusiast proclaim that “when you cross the end of this runway, you are going flying whether you are ready or not.”
A few of the islanders were treated to private flights. One of these lucky locals, Theresa Cummings, was taken up for a ride by Super Dave in his MX2. They flew through the canyons, over the open water, and finished with a few surprise loops. “That was a lot smoother and even more fun than I had expected”, exclaimed Ms. Cummings. Also, the island’s very own aviation historian, Rodger Meadow, was taken up by Ross Granley in his YAK 18-T. The child-like giddiness and ear to ear grin on Mr. Meadow’s face proved to be the most enjoyable flight for both Rodger and Ross alike.
I would like to thank Theresa Cummings for all of her help and hospitality throughout the air show weekend, and a special thanks to Steve Hayes, for opening his home to us during the air show.
Catalina Island hosted yet another successful and entertaining air show, and I look forward to attending such a unique show, in such a unique place, next year.