General Aviation Aircraft Welcome at Selfridge Air Show

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
A small number of area civilian pilots will have the unusual opportunity of landing at Selfridge Air National Guard Base during the base's 2011 air show and open house, Aug. 20-21.

Up to 15 general aviation aircraft will be allowed to land at the base each day, prior to the start of the show's flying schedule. The civilian pilots may then participate in safety briefings provided by the 127th Wing Safety Office and by the Federal Aviation Administration. The pilots will then be able to enjoy the day at the air show and depart shortly after the completion of the flying schedule, around 4 p.m. All aircraft must depart the base the same day it flies in.

This is the first time in recent memory that general aviation pilots will be allowed to fly in to Selfridge.

"We think this helps to generate enthusiasm across the full range of aviation - from the small, personal general aviation aircraft to the historic aircraft that will be here and to today's high-performance military aircraft," said Lt. Col. Karl Vogelheim, the general aviation coordinator for the air show. Vogelheim is also a pilot, flying KC-135 Stratotankers at Selfridge.

"This also further builds our ties to the local community and, by offering these briefings, increases the safety awareness of the general aviation community," Vogelheim said.

Information on how to apply for one of the general aviation slots at the show is available at the Selfridge Air Show web site, www.selfridgeairshow.org. The slots will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Selfridge generally offers an air show every other year. This year's show is themed Youth & Technology in Aviation. In keeping with that theme, Selfridge officials are working with several Boy Scout troops, Civil Air Patrol and other youth organizations to incorporate them into the show.

The "headliner" for the 2011 show is the F-22 Raptor, the Air Force's newest fighter aircraft. Unmatched by any known or project fighter aircraft in any country, the F-22 is capable of performing both the air-to-air and air-to-ground missions vital to 21st century military operations

"The F-22 represents the pinnacle of more than 90 years of military aviation technology," said Lt. Col. Sean Campbell, Selfridge Air Show director. "It represents a major leap forward in capability and we are very excited to be able to showcase the Raptor to our air show visitors."

In addition to military aircraft and civilian acrobatic flying acts, the air show will feature displays by all branches of the military and several agencies of the federal Dept. of Homeland Security.

The 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard is the host organization at Selfridge, flying both the KC-135 Stratotanker, an aerial refueler, and the A-10 Thunderbolt II, also known as the Warthog, which is an air-to-ground attack fighter. In addition to the Wing, Selfridge is home to numerous other military and federal agencies, which fly a variety of helicopters and small, light fixed-wing aircraft.