- Boehner accuses Obama of ‘legacy of lawlessness’
- Pro-marijuana group claims responsibility for Brooklyn Bridge flag swap
- Young adults shun Obamacare mostly due to cost: survey
- Stabbing attack on transgender girl, 15, was ‘bias motivated,’ police say
- LGBT adults still lean overwhelmingly toward Democratic Party
- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
- 3 African leaders cancel trip to U.S. over Ebola outbreak; Obama still plans summit
- Sarah Palin’s online channel hits snag as Stephen Colbert buys similar URL
- SWAT spends seven hours in standoff with empty home
- U.S. troops told not to eat, drink in front of Muslims during Ramadan
Pilots and planes of all stripes take flight at Andrews Air Force Base
Question of the Day
As our small, white propeller plane loops lazily above green Manassas, Va., farmland, a low snarl building from below is the only warning before red wings flash by in a rapid climb before swooping gracefully into place alongside us.
In the single-seat, carbon fiber stunt plane is Greg Poe, a pilot from Idaho with 37 years under his wings. This weekend he will join dozens of flyers like himself as they take to the air above Andrews Air Force Base for the 2011 Joint Service Open House and Airshow.
"When I was a student pilot, I went up with an aerobatic airplane trainer who did some of those maneuvers. I was blown away by it and thought it was the funnest thing I'd ever done" Mr. Poe said. "I try to get creative: How can I help so people have the most fun watching cutting-edge planes?"
The airshow, which is free and open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, will have a range of aircraft in the air, and there will also be dozens of planes parked on the tarmac for visitors to explore.
This year's theme is 100 years of naval aviation.
"We recognize that the Navy first did a ship-based take-off in 1910," said base spokesman Eric Michael Sharman. "We're celebrating the past and looking toward the future for the Navy."
For two decades, Mr. Poe has been flying in airshows, wowing crowds with his inverted flying, breakaway passes and what he calls "Newton's Folly," when he tumbles the plane nose over tail in a controlled but daring free fall.
"It's flying with very aggressive maneuvers," Mr. Poe said of the steering.
On the ground, the longtime pilot leads his Elevate Your Life program, which encourages young people to set and achieve sky- high goals, leading by example through his flying style
Mr. Poe travels the country with two team members: coordinator Greg Gibson and vice president of operations Dax Wanless, who also happens to be the voice of Greg Poe Airshows.
Mr. Wanless' job when he isn't flying the support plane - which carries gear, tools and visitors - is to announce Mr. Poe's maneuvers and get the audience to feel as involved as they can from their seats on the ground.
"I'm always working to try to get that person into the cockpit," Mr. Wanless, a 10-year pilot, said.
Some people might prefer solid ground, however, when Mr. Poe starts his maneuvers. A typical show will last about 11 minutes, with stunts coming one right after another.
"It's just concentrating on the feeling of the airplane," Mr. Poe said once he was back on the ground. "It's giving the right input to get the right reaction."
To help with agility, as well as power and efficiency, the team started using planes that could run on either regulation plane fuel or ethanol.
This year marks the fifth seasonMr. Poe's team has used ethanol, but the MX-S, which Mr. Poe will be flying this weekend, is only 2 months old. The cherry-colored plane weighs only 1,190 pounds.
Mr. Wanless said people are surprised when they hear that a performance plane can run on an alcohol-based fuel, but the team prefers it when flying for a show because "you get more horsepower, and it's more efficient."
Mr. Poe isn't the only pilot to see the value in alternative fuel. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, who happen to be Mr. Poe's favorite part of the airshow, for the first time will be flying on biofuel, Mr. Sharman said.
For more information on the open house, go to www.jsoh.org.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Meredith Somers is a Metro reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Priest abuse survivors group marks milestone
- Teen girl exorcised by priest, sends demonic text messages in response
- Obama nominates Rabbi David Saperstein as ambassador for religious freedom
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- No official word yet on Pope Francis visit: Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Ted Cruz
Israel saves its enemies; Hamas endangers its friends
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- Al Gore's climate-changers at EPA hearings foiled by cool temperatures
- CIA admits improperly hacking Senate computers in search of Bush-era information
- GOP report sees ties between rich donors, green 'nonprofits'
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- NAPOLITANO: Is the president incompetent or lawless?
- Lois Lerner hated conservatives, new emails show
- Geraldo Rivera: Matt Drudge 'doing his best to stir up a civil war'
- House votes to sue President Obama over claims of presidential power
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world