COVENTRY â€“ The thrills at the Newport State Airport this weekend were unbelievable as Lakeview Aviation held its fourth annual air show. The show included stunt flying, airplane displays, airplane rides, a Mustang display and a bounce house for kids. Hundreds of people showed up Saturday and Sunday to enjoy the daring displays.
â€śEverybody has a thing for planes,â€ť said Dan Gauvin, owner of Lakeview Aviation. Part of the purpose for the show is to grow interest in aviation. â€śThis is a state airport. People think itâ€™s for the rich but itâ€™s not; itâ€™s the taxpayerâ€™s airport.â€ť
Dave Windmiller, one the weekendâ€™s stunt pilots, was part of the United States Unlimited Aerobatic Team from 2000-2002. He is well known for his stunts and flew in the World Aerobatic Championship in Muret, France. Windmiller, 48, has been doing stunt flying since he was 16.
â€śRegular and straight level flying gets quite boring after a while,â€ť said Windmiller, who lives in Long Island. â€śItâ€™s kind of just sitting there with autopilot waiting to get where youâ€™re going.â€ť
Windmiller participates in three to four shows a year.
Daniel Marcotte of Bakersfield had his Ultimate 10-200 Biplane at the show. The plane, he said, is homemade and sports a 360 cubic inch engine. He bought the plane, repaired damage from a crash and started flying it in the air show circuit in 2010 and flies in 16 shows a year. Marcotte flies in shows across the Northeast and Canada and in the Sun and Fun Air Show in Lakeland, FL.
â€śI like displaying the airplane for people and talking to the aviation community,â€ť Marcotte said. As for stunt flying, Marcotte said, â€śItâ€™s a real challenging sport. It takes a lot of dedication and it is fun to continue to master an art.â€ť
The attraction to make the stunts look like death-defying feats, but have them well rehearsed and practiced, Marcotte said. "Our goal is to make the ordinary look extraordinary,â€ť Marcotte said. â€śItâ€™s a lot of work and takes a lot of practice and physical training throughout the week.â€ť
Jim Thompson, state aviation operations manager for the State of Vermont, attended the show for recreational purposes. Air shows, he said, are a great way to get the public to airports. Thompson hopes the youth of today will get interested in aviation. â€śThere are an awful lot of wonderful programs out there for youth aviation,â€ť said Thompson. â€śWe need to do a better job promoting it and I think weâ€™ll get more kids involved.â€ť
Recreational flying is no more expensive than taking a boat on the lake for a day or owning a motorcycle, said Thompson. He said it costs $75 to $90 an hour to run plane, including fuel.
Bon Lafayette, 13, of Plainfield, went for his first plane ride ever at Saturdayâ€™s show. â€śIt was so amazing,â€ť said Lafayette, who face was glowing as he walked away from the plane. â€śI could see the landscape, ponds and sandpits everywhere. You couldnâ€™t ask for more.â€ť Lafayette said he wished the flight would have lasted forever.
â€śIt was really cool,â€ť added Brent Thompson, 25, of East Calais. â€śYou donâ€™t know how many mountain ranges there in Vermont until you see it from up there.â€ť Thompson got the chance to try his hand at flying for a couple of minutes.
Mikayla Bryan, 18, of East Calais, canâ€™t wait to fly again. She likes flying in smaller planes more than larger ones.