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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Blue Angels to headline Lynchburg air show
By Dave Thompson, Richmond Times Dispatch
March 22, 2011
LYNCHBURG -- The last time Lynchburg held an air show, in 1982, the Blue Angels headlined the event.
This May, in the first Lynchburg Regional Airshow since then, the Navy's special flight team is set to reappear over the Hill City's skies, "flying fast and making a lot of noise," in the words of organizers.
But the process of landing the team was anything but a piece of cake, especially in a year celebrating the centennial anniversary of naval aviation.
John Barksdale, the air show's director, said that when plans were shaping up for this year's show, no one was even trying to lure the Blue Angels.
In August, organizers were applying to get the flight team secured for a planned 2012 air show, though a smaller show was being planned for April 2011.
"We had already begun work on a prop show for April 16, so the wheels were already in motion for the air show," he said.
But when the Blue Angels' 2012 schedule was announced, Barksdale said, he was disappointed to see Lynchburg had not made the cut. "We were a bit disappointed when we got that first message," he said.
But not long afterward, Barksdale recalled, he got a phone message from Lt. Todd Royles, with the Blue Angels.
"He said, 'We have an opening in our show schedule. Are you flexible and can you change your current date?'"
Organizers announced Friday that the Blue Angels had been confirmed for the event. The Blue Angels join the Flying Circus Airshow out of Bealeton, as well as a parachute show, antique car show and fashion show on May 21 and 22.
Barksdale said he expects at least 25,000 people to show up for the event at Lynchburg Regional Air Force for each of the two days.
Tickets are only for a day apiece, and each day will feature the same show.

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