MCAS CHERRY POINT, N.C. (AP) — A year ago, the skies were quiet as the coronavirus pandemic prevented the Cherry Point Air Show from happening. Saturday was a much different story.
The 2021 Cherry Point Air Show kicked off Saturday with stellar performances as planes soared through the air in a high-flying event.
Like a roller coaster, but a bit more extreme. That’s what one pilot said about how it feels to fly. Many pilots returned to their old stomping grounds — or skies — on Saturday for the start of the two-day air show at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.
A huge crowd was there to watch.
“It’s great being back at Cherry Point, seeing a lot of familiar sights, familiar faces,” said Maj. Sean Callison, an F-35A Lightning 2 demo pilot. “I’ve got a lot of friends that are still on the Harrier Pipeline… so it’s great seeing those people as well.”
Originally from the San Diego area, Callison said he grew up going to airshows near San Diego and has always been fascinated by planes.
“It’s the Marine Corp’s first fifth-generation aircraft, it has … capabilities.”
It’s not just the aircraft that’s a high performance but the pilots as well.
“We do G-Force Training, out in Lemore, California, I did that a few years ago, where they spin you around real fast … I’m sure people have seen that in the movies, but that’s how they train us to withstand G-Force,” Callison said.
A huge crowd on Saturday watched in awe, from adults to children in wide-eyed awe as jets and other planes soared across the landscape.
The show is allowing 40,000 attendees this year as part of COVID-19 precautions. Officials say there would normally be around 80,000 in attendance.
Callison said it’s important to show the public these incredible aircraft as they display just what our military can do.
The air show concludes with a full day of performances on Sunday.