AVOCA, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Pilots are gearing up for the 2021 Great Pocono Raceway Air Show. Instead of eyes on the track, everyone will be looking at the sky.
“I saw the Thunderbirds when I was five years old and I was like, I think that’s what I want to do with the rest of my life. Now I get to fly one of these red white and blue airplanes so that’s pretty cool,” said Major Zane Taylor, Right Wingman, USAF Thunderbirds.
The dream of many, but the achievement of few. It has been Major Zane Taylor’s mission to fly these aircraft his entire life. Now, he’s a member of the 130-person team.
“The whole Thunderbirds team is a selective lead man unit. So, you have to prove that you are proficient in your job before you can even apply. You have the Air Force as your pool of applicants and then once you achieve a certain amount of expertise, you can apply to be a part of it,” Taylor said.
The Thunderbirds are headlining the 2021 Great Pocono Raceway Air Show. Now, fans will look to the sky rather than the “Tricky Triangle”. And hear the roar of several different aircraft, including these vintage World War II planes.
“This is a World War II-era SNJ, also known as a T-6 Texan. We have six of them and the GEICO Skytypers provide an 18-minute, low altitude demonstration that shows the tactics, formations, and maneuvers used in World War II. The tactics the greatest generation used to win the war and these tactics are still used today,” explained Mark Gannucci, Left Wing, GEICO Skytypers.
Gannucci was kind enough to take Eyewitness News reporter Nicole Rogers for a spin in his plane Thursday. She filled out some paperwork, got suited up, and headed out to the tarmac. Before she knew it, they were in the air. He even took her over the “Tricky Triangle” to see what it looks like from above. These aren’t the only planes making an appearance.
Scott Francis will be flying an MXS, one of 13 in the world.
“What makes this airplane so cool is it’s an all-carbon-fiber aerobatic airplane. It’s built for speed and g’s. So, when I dive into my show, I’m doing a little over 300 mph about 20 feet above the ground. It’s built for up to 14 g’s or 14 times the force of gravity. So, it’s very strong, very light, and very high performance,” Francis said.
Tickets for this weekend’s air show start at $20 for adults and $10 for kids 12 and under. Parking will cost $10 cash and will open at 10 a.m., Saturday. Gates are set to open at 11 a.m.
You can find more information about the event on the 2021 Great Pocono Raceway Air Show website.