History is expected to come to life Saturday when vintage and aerobatic airplanes take to the sky for the Thunder Over Cedar Creek Lake air show in Mabank.
People in Tyler can enjoy planes and pilots before they depart for that show, just by stopping by the Historic Aviation Memorial Museum, 150 Airport Drive.
This is the seventh year the aircraft are set to stage out of Tyler Pounds Regional Airport outside the museum, board president Carolyn Verver said.
“About half of the planes will be arriving on Friday and the remainder on Saturday morning,” Mrs. Verver said. “When all are parked on the HAMM ramp on Saturday, visitors may come through the museum and walk around these planes.”
The museum, a nonprofit, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for adult, $4 for seniors, $3 or less for children, ages 17 and younger. Active military personnel are free with valid identification.
Some pilots plan to fly home immediately after the show, but many are scheduled to return to Tyler Pounds to spend the night before leaving on Sunday.
The show itself is expected to include nail-biting aerobatics, thunderous flyovers and a fiery Pearl Harbor re-enactment.
The reenactment — dubbed Tora! Tora! Tora! — is designed to illustrate the explosive drama that unfolded Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese launched a surprise attack on Hawaii.
Pilot Randy Ball, who plans to fly his “Check Six” MiG-17 fighter jet in the show, is the event’s founder and lifetime member of the museum.
“This is the 8th year for Thunder Over Cedar Creek Lake,” Ball said, noting about 40,000 are expected to see it by boat and thousands more from the surrounding area.
His MiG is one of three in the show, a rare treat considering there are only about a dozen of the vintage Russian war birds still flying in the United States.
Two of the three Cold War era aircraft, which feature serial numbers only a digit apart, were made in the same factory and flew together for 18 years in the same enemy squadron, Ball said.
Ball, a 25-year air show performer, is noted as the U.S. pilot with the most flight hours in a Soviet craft. His MiG has been featured in movies, the Discovery Channel, video games and periodicals.
Glenn “Skids” Smith, 58, an air show pilot from Frisco, owns two of the three MiGs featured in Saturday’s show.
Other invited performers include Extra 300 stunt plane; Matt Younkin and his Twin Beech 18; P-40; F4U Cousair, T-6 Texan, two T28s Trojan Phylers, two B-25s, Devil Dog and Yellow Rose; three L-39s Red Steel Jet Team; C60 Lodestar; C130 Air National Guard; and T-6 Air Force Trainers out of Vance Air Force Base.
In a separate, but related attraction scheduled before the air show, the public can tour a Mi-24 Helicopter that is set to land at 3 p.m. at the Pinnacle Golf and Boat Club, 2000 Pinnacle Club Drive, in Mabank. That is also the location for VIP entry into the Cedar Creek air show.
The helicopter features titanium armor plating and flies faster than 200 miles per hour. Its quad articulated machine gun was originally capable firing 4,500 rounds per minute; under the wings, it carried an assortment of bombs and explosive devices, officials said.
For a $5 donation, people can view the cargo and passenger area, plus receive a commemorative patch; for $20, they can sit in the cockpit-gunner seat area and receive a T-shirt.
The Thunder Over Cedar Creek Lake air show is sponsored by the Cedar Creek Veterans Foundation and benefits several veteran nonprofit organizations.
The event begins about 6:40 p.m. Tickets are $50 each for VIP access with viewing from Pinnacle Golf and Boat Club. The event also can be viewed for free from boats, lake shores, parks and private property.
For VIP ticket purchases, call Gayle Robinson at 903-451-5054. For more details about the show, visit www.tocclairshow.com.
Questions about the static display at Tyler’s Historic Aviation Memorial Museum may be answered by calling 903-526-1945.