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Dayton Air Show features military jets, stunt pilots



Published: Sat, July 16, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



This weekend's show was scheduled to include a flyby by the Air Force's newest stealth fighter jets.

DAYTON (AP) -- Even with more than 20,000 flying hours under his belt, stunt pilot Sean Tucker is still learning. In fact, Tucker is learning to fly his one-of-a-kind airplane all over again this year after fitting it with a new, higher-performance set of wings.

The new wings' eight ailerons allow wilder maneuvers in Tucker's tumbling, gravity-defying air show act. But they also change how the airplane responds when he moves the control stick.

"It's taken me a whole season to learn how to fly it," he said.

Tucker will be among the acts at this weekend's Dayton Air Show, which will also feature the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and other military planes.

The show is also scheduled to feature a flyby by a pair of F/A-22 Raptors, the Air Force's newest and most advanced stealth fighter jet.

The Raptor is intended primarily as a stealthy replacement for the F-15 Eagle, which was built to shoot down other planes. Unlike its predecessor, the Raptor can fly at supersonic speeds for long ranges.

An F-117 Nighthawk, the world's first stealth fighter, is to make flybys both Saturday and today. An F-15 fighter, F-18 fighter and Marine Corps Harrier jet are to give tactical demonstrations.

The Army Golden Knights precision parachuting team is also scheduled for both days.

"Dayton has hit the jackpot in terms of military demonstrations this year," said Brenda Kerfoot, general manager of the air show.

Tragedy strikes

Masters of Disaster, a barnstorming act involving biplanes, a jet-powered truck and ground explosions, had been scheduled to perform at the air show. But two of the group's pilots were killed in an accident Sunday during an air show in Moose Jaw, Canada.

Jimmy Franklin and Bobby Younkin died when their biplanes collided while simulating a dogfight.

Although there will be no Masters of Disaster show in Dayton, one of the group's pilots -- Jim Leroy -- will perform a solo act, and the jet-powered truck will also be there. A wing-walking act has also been added.

"Part of the Masters team is still going to be here," said Kerfoot. "I think that in itself will draw people."

Kerfoot expects the show to draw between 70,000 and 80,000 people.




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