This year’s Olympic Air Show will feature a pair of one of the most unique aircraft in the United State’s military arsenal.
Two Bell-Boeing MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft will be on display Saturday and early Sunday, coming from Marine Medium Tilt-rotor Squadron 163 of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing based at Miramar in San Diego.
With twin 38-foot rotors at the end of each wing, the unique Osprey is a multimission aircraft capable of vertical takeoffs and landings, and short takeoffs and landings.
“I think the Osprey will be the big attraction. I think it is a very unique opportunity to see them on the ground,” said Teri Thorning, executive director of the Olympic Flight Museum, which puts on the show. “I don’t know how often we have Osprey on public display here in the Northwest.”
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With cuts to the federal budgets, Thorning said it is difficult to bring military aircraft to air shows.
“It’s really difficult to get military assets. They have really cut back on flying demonstrations, and even static displays,” she said. “We were supposed to get a Marine Harrier jet in 2013, but it was canceled because of sequestration.”
Thorning said the Osprey, which will not perform at the show, is an impressive aircraft.
“Visually, they are monstrous to behold,” she said.
The Osprey are scheduled to depart around noon Sunday, so people wanting to see them in flight should arrive early that day.
Making an aerial appearance at this year’s show will be the museum’s own World War II-era FG-1D Corsair.
The plane, which underwent a lengthy restoration, has been with the museum for about a year, Thorning said.
In September, the plane attended the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada. There, it won first place in the military restoration category and was voted the people’s choice award winner.
In July, the plane will be taken to Boise for more work, Thorning said. It will then compete at the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh air show is Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Another on-the-ground exhibit this weekend in Olympia will be “Rise Above” from the Commemorative Air Force. It tells the story of the Red Tail squadron of black pilots who flew during World War II.
The traveling display includes a 30-seat indoor theater with 160-degree panoramic screen.
“It tells the story of the Tuskegee Airman, and it tells how they overcame obstacles to train and fight as U.S. Army Air Corps pilots,” Thorning said.
Accompanying the exhibit is a P-51C model Red Tail Mustang.
The exhibit is handicap accessible and free with show admission.
As for the 17th annual show in general, Thorning said attendees should bring folding chairs, plenty of water and sunscreen. With limited seating on grass at Olympia Regional Airport, most people will have to sit on pavement, thus the need for chairs.
The need for proper hydration will be driven by weekend high temperatures expected to soar into the low 90s.
“We feel like we have what feels like a very big show. Not only the number of performers, but it seems like an increased number of static displays on the tarmac,” Thorning said.