Crowd fascinated by bevy of aircraft at annual show |

Crowd fascinated by bevy of aircraft at annual show

Jeff Munson

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune Mitchell Colvin, 5, pretends to fly a Marine helicopter on display Saturday at the Lake in the Sky Air Show at the Lake Tahoe Airport as pilot Lt. Nolan Duchateau looks on.

The skies above the South Shore resembled something like a circus as airplanes large and small, old and new, flew above the tree tops in a multilayered, multicolored extravaganza Saturday at Lake Tahoe Airport.

But the 19th annual Lake in the Sky Air Show was much more than a few thousand spectators of all ages looking upward at the acrobatics above them. The other part, and perhaps the most fascinating, was the amount of flying machines – dozens of them – parked on the airport tarmac.

Military and civilian aircraft of all shapes and sizes that lined the tarmac captivated children, parents and grandparents. Each aircraft and their pilots had stories behind them, evoking memories of past and present wars.

“I always love these air shows, because you get to see the work involved in these aircraft,” said John Colvin, a retired Marine who was in Operation Desert Storm in 1990-91.

The South Tahoe High School graduate studied the CH53 Echo – a huge military transport helicopter – that he recalled flying in and landing on an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.

Marveling at the 53,000-pound helicopter that can hold up to 55 soldiers, Colvin said he remembers it being so loud that you had to wear ear protection when inside.

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“It’s very warm in there when you’re in it with a bunch of Marines. And there’s always hydraulic fluid everywhere,” he said.

An F18 Super Hornet also had people spellbound, including Jenifer Salberg and her son Ryan, of Meyers.

“I came out here with my son because I wanted him to see it, and my parents. This is my first time. It’s pretty incredible,” she said.

In the skies above the airport, the event went off without any problems, including 12 World War II aircraft that opened the show, colorful skydiving demonstrations and performances by stunt pilots, including loops and barrel rolls by 24-year-old Melissa Andrezejewski, who flew aerial stunts in a Zivko Edge 540 Aircraft. She is the youngest woman to be a member of the U.S. Unlimited Aerobatic Team.