F-22 thrills crowd of thousands at QC Air Show

Originally Posted Online: Aug. 09, 2014, 8:45 pm
Last Updated: Aug. 09, 2014, 10:47 pm
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By Laura Anderson Shaw, landerson@qconline.com

DAVENPORT The giant F-22 Raptor fighter plane often appeared as a mere sliver in the sky Saturday afternoon, but after it passed, its engines' power could be felt as a rumble in your chest.

The crowd of thousands stood as the matte gray stealth aircraft made its first appearance at the 28th annual Quad City Air Show Saturday at Davenport Municipal Airport.

Many children and adults plugged their ears while others braved the sky-splitting roar to snap photos. With their arms in the air, dozens shielded the sun with one hand while holding cameras and cellphones with the other.

The American fighter craft flew this way and that, darting behind the crowd to pass over them again, shooting toward the sky and then looping to shoot toward the ground. During one pass, the pilot opened the belly of the plane, giving the crowd a peek at where it can conceal its ammo.

The plane, flown by the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team, was one of the main reasons the Pruitts came to the show Saturday.

Siblings Grace, 9, and Parker, 6, of Bettendorf, wandered around the show with their father, Mat, with a toy airplane and helicopter clutched tightly in their hands.

Grace wiggled a piece of the plane and its doors opened.

"My dad said it looks like the president's plane," she said.

The family was enjoying the show and waiting patiently for the F-22.

"We're all excited about it," Mr. Pruitt said.

Last year, the noise of the planes tearing through the sky was a bit too much for Parker, so this year, the family brought noise protecting ear muffs.

"He came prepared," Mr. Pruitt said, smiling at Parker.

Plenty of other acts took to the sky Saturday, too, including the Aeroshell Aerobatic Flight Team, a group of four red and white planes with black and white checkered noses, which flew through several formations, wowing the crowd as they looped together, sometimes sort of chasing each other and other times splitting off into different directions.

Other performers included the Lucas Oil Skydivers, the Flash Fire Dodge Jet Truck, Patty Wagstaf and Otto Helicopter.

The ground was packed with plenty to see and do, too. Tent after tent pedaled food and gear, and a variety of military vehicles and aircraft were parked for people to pose in front of or tour, including the giant U.S. Army's CH-47 Chinook helicopter.

Mary Alice Beckman, of Moline, said the chance to climb through and sit inside the helicopter was "the best part" of the airshow for her grandsons, Cody, 12; Quinn, 10; and Kai, 7, who were in town from Oswego for the show.

While she and her husband attended the show in past years, "this is all new" to her grandsons, she said.

"They like to see the planes," she said, as the three ran through and around the helicopter. "They're having fun."

Ms. Beckman said she and her husband used to bring the boys' father, Matt, to the shows when he was a kid.

"We love to see them do what our son was doing when he was their age," she said. It's "something really different" for them.

The 28th annual Quad City Air Show continues Sunday at the Davenport Municipal Airport, 9230 N. Harrison St., Davenport. Gates will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with air shows running from about noon to 4 p.m.

Admission is free for kids 3 and younger; $10 for kids 4 to 10; and $20 for all others. Parking is $5 at the gate.

For more information, visit quadcityairshow.com.


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