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Wendover air show is ready for takeoff this weekend

Posted at 9:17 PM, Aug 25, 2023

WENDOVER, Utah — After a hiatus brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the much-awaited Historic Wendover Airfield Wings and Wheels Air Show is set to take flight once again, promising an exhilarating weekend for aviation enthusiasts and the local community.

The air show, a cherished event in the region, will kick off at 9 AM tomorrow morning, marking its return with renewed energy and excitement.

The historic Wendover Airfield, situated 90 miles west of Salt Lake City, has long been a place of significance in aviation history.

While steeped in its past, the airfield is now gearing up for a vibrant present as pilots and planners prepare for the upcoming air show.

The event, which has been sorely missed by airplane aficionados, was unable to take off due to the pandemic restrictions.

The anticipation and yearning for its return have been palpable in the community.

"With COVID, not having the air show was painful for people who love airplanes. We really missed it," said air show director Tom Petersen.

He emphasized the historic importance of the airfield and expressed his excitement for the event's revival.

Petersen noted that the air show holds a unique place in the hearts of the community, creating a sense of nostalgia reminiscent of the 1950s and 1960s.

For Richard Grinell, a pilot with Intermountain in Salt Lake, the air show carries personal significance.

"It's one of the reasons I became a pilot. I used to talk with the previous owners in front of this jet when I was a kid," Grinell recalled.

While his professional life involves flying for Intermountain, his passion lies in his WWII jets that find their home at the historic Wendover Airfield. Grinell's connection to the aircraft goes beyond sightseeing.

"It's one thing to go to the Smithsonian and see the airplane. It's another thing to actually come and touch it and hear it," he shared.

Grinell's excitement is contagious as he prepares to fly an aircraft adorned with the iconic paint scheme of a Blue Angel.

This aircraft holds historical significance, having trained thousands of pilots since the late 1940s.

Despite his role as a pilot, Grinell marvels at the unique perspective that flying provides.

"What I like about flying is just the freedom, just being able to see the world from a different perspective that not everybody gets to see," he expressed.

The air show, set to start on Saturday, began with a practice session on Friday.

According to Petersen, this practice session allows pilots to fine-tune their routines and establish a rhythm. He likened it to basketball players practicing free throws, emphasizing the importance of muscle memory in executing precise maneuvers.

However, amidst the business-like preparations, there's a palpable sense of adventure and thrill.

"You roll it upside down and pull the nose and dive down or climb up and just being able to see the world from a different perspective," Grinell said.

As pilots like Grinell take to the skies at full speed during the air show, the community rejoices in the return of this long-awaited event.

The Historic Wendover Airfield Wings and Wheels Air Show, with its rich history and passion for flight, symbolizes the resilience and spirit of aviation enthusiasts who have eagerly awaited its revival.

Gates open at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Click here for more information.