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Military plane demos take over Santa Maria Airport for Central Coast Airfest

Posted at 5:00 PM, Oct 12, 2019
Military plane demos take over Santa Maria Airport for Central Coast Airfest

The Central Coast Airfest returns to the Santa Maria Airport this weekend showcasing a fleet of military aircraft.

The airfest made its debut in 2018 and is back this year to bring more air tricks, formations and demos.

Saturday morning, local law enforcement officers and community leaders participated in a plane-pull to benefit the Special Olympics.

The event raised nearly 13,000 for the organization.

Also happening on Saturday is the Red Bull Jump Demo, the USFS Heritage Flight and the ACC F-16 Viper Demo/Pyro.

Central Coast AirFest director Chris Kunkle says this year's main attraction are the Air Force F-16s that will roar over the crowds at about noon both days.

"We were lucky enough to seal the deal with the U.S. Air Force Viper demo team," Kunkle said.

Kunkle is excited to bring the event back to his community after last year's inaugural success.

"Santa Maria was missing this kind of an event. Santa Maria is historically in aviation," he said. "In 1943 to 1945, we had at this airfield, the army airbase training P-38 pilots to go to WWII and my grandfather, who was P-38 pilot, actually flew in and out of this airfield."

Kunkle hopes the high-flying machines on display this weekend will spark an interest in kids to pursue aviation.

"There are lots of opportunities to step inside aircraft, learn a lot of about them, talk to the pilots and really get to know the industry a little bit better," he said.

After 30+ years in the Air Force and combat tours in Desert Storm, Firewalkers International pyrotechnician Rick Myers is showing civilians what it's like out on the battlefield, thanks to Hollywood-style explosives.

The Central Coast Airfest continues into Sunday with a Radio Control Aircraft Demonstration, Smoke and Thunder/Pyro and 9th Recon Flybys.

Click here to see Sunday's lineup of events.

Pre-sale tickets can be purchased online for $30 for adults and $5 for children. Prices will increase to $35 and $10, respectively, at the gate.