TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — The Truckee Tahoe AirFair & Family Festival kicked off celebrations Friday, July 5, with a dinner honoring Triple Ace and WWII veteran Clarence “Bud” Anderson, who flew “Old Crow,” a P-51 Mustang while assigned to the 357th Fighter Group “Yoxford Boys,” 8th Air Force, Leiston Filed, United Kingdom.
Congressman Tom McClintock introduced Bud as a member of the Greatest Generation, a time when men and women rallied to their country’s call to action in defense of freedom. During the evening’s festivities at the Truckee-Tahoe Airport’s Hangar One, attendees were invited outside to watch Pemberton Aerosports’ Rex Pemberton soar to earth from a drop plane, trailing a 1,000-foot American Flag that whipped mightily in the atmosphere.
The AirFair began in earnest the following day, with an expansive vendor village, static aircraft displays and Grand Marshall Bud Anderson with special guest Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger, III, famed pilot of the “Miracle on the Hudson,” speaking. Sully self effacingly joked he had become the “face” of the incredible, frigid January 2009 emergency landing, with first pilot Jeffrey B. Skiles at one time stating if he’d had been able to do it differently, he would have done it in July. Sully gave kudos to the Young Eagles program, which connects the desire to fly to opportunity, where youths can have a real adventure in the real thing, not just a virtual one.
Pemberton Aerosports opened the days’ aerobatic performances with Rex Pemberton soaring to terra firma once again with the massive American flag, while his wife Melissa circled in her steel blue and white, fast-paced Edge 540, spouting smoke in loops and whirls.
The festival, a fundraising benefit for The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) local Chapter 1073, KidZone Museum and the Truckee Optimist Club, had more than 16,000 attendees and raised approximately $50,000 in support of Tahoe Truckee youths.
On Sunday, 10 pilots and ground safety officers flew 102 pre-registered Young Eagles and sold many breakfasts, according to AirFair Chairman Tim LoDolce.
“Outstanding job Air Show Team! I am new to Truckee. I have attended and helped to facilitate many air show events, and could not have been more impressed,” said new Truckee resident George Grupe, historian and WWII pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps, 13th Air Force, 865th Bomb Squadron (The Snoopers). “A special thanks to Tim for all you have done for me,” added the 92-year-old veteran.
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