Pilots Wow Crowd at Special Needs Airshow

Brad Choat (Twitter: @choatsnews)

CAHOKIA, Ill. (KMOX) – Planes, pilots, and popsicles.

That’s what guests attending Saturday’s noon airshow at St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia enjoyed, as the bright sunshine beat down on them.

The show sponsored by U.S. Bank, Jet Aviation, and Metro Transit was designed just for adults and children with special needs.

One of the guests of honor, Ben McDermott, gave KMOX his assessment of the spectacle, “I’d say it’s high-flying cool.”

Nearby, an adult guest named “Georgia” shared her thoughts, “I’m having a wonderful time.”

Fair St. Louis Special Needs Airshow chair Bruce Buckland passed along what a visually-impaired guest told him was his favorite moment of the show, “He said he heard the plane go up and the pilot cut the engine off. He said he tried to anticipate when the engine would start again and was happy when he heard it rev up.”

Pilot Bill Shepard of the Red Tail Squadron says he fielded questions about his plane and the history behind it, “It’s a fully-operational P-51 Mustang. It’s 70 years strong and one of the most formidable fighters out there, one of the most-recognized. It really speaks to U.S. ingenuity.”

Pilot Mark Henley from Alabama says he never misses a chance to perform for and sign autographs for those who could use an extra smile, “This is a unique group of people, and they really appreciate what we do. It’s a lot of fun.”

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