MARIETTA - Area elementary school students received a thrill on Friday as pilots preparing for the 2012 Air Expo at the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport stopped by their schools to rally support for the event.
Four members of Team RV, a North Carolina based aerobatics act, as well as U.S. Navy pilots Chief Douglass Dixon and Lt. Cmdr. Page Felini talked to students at Harmar Elementary School in Marietta and Williamstown Elementary School.
"It's great to have Page here because it shows the kids that a woman can do anything," said Harmar Elementary School principal Cheryl Cook.
Harmar Elementary School principal Cheryl Cook is helped into a flight suit by Navy Lt. Cmdr. Page Felini during the 2012 Air Expo preview on Friday. (Photo by Jolene Craig)
The children were enthusiastic with all of the performers as they asked questions and watched videos brought by both groups.
"During most every air show we do we try to get the community involved," said Team RV pilot Jerry Morris of Dahlonega, Ga. "The kids up to 80-years-old are always enthralled because who doesn't love an airplane."
Although Felini, who performed in the 2008 Air Expo in an F-18, will not be performing at this year's event. She will be there to talk with people.
"Air shows are always a great way to get out into a community and let them know about the armed forces and how much fun it is to be a pilot," she said.
Team RV is the world's largest air show team and will have 11 pilots in the air on Sunday. The three pilots who went to the schools energized the students by running through the crowd and high-fiving the kids.
"It's always fun to get the kids going and they all had some great questions," said Kari Morris with Team RV.
Mike Stewart, founder and flight lead of Team RV showed the kids videos of the group in their manoeuvrability show.
"At times it looks like the planes will crash and at others, the beauty of the performance with the music we play is very powerful," he said.
For the Sunday air show, Team RV will join other new-to-the local show acts wing walker Jane Wicker, who performs by climbing, walking and hanging on her biplane's wings during air shows; aerobatic team the Iron Eagles; Trojan Horsemen; and Sky Soldiers.
There will also be a Kidz Zone with "Adventures in Aviation" inflatables, a climbing wall and other aviation-oriented activities.
The event will begin at 11:55 a.m. with the opening ceremony and end around 5 p.m.
Shuttles will begin running at 9:30 a.m. with park and ride locations being at West Virginia University at Parkersburg, the Williamstown Welcome Center, the parking lot at Second and Butler streets in Marietta and the Marietta Kroger parking lot near the visitor information center.