“Thunder over Utah”
St. George Utah 2012
Our family had been anxiously awaiting the inaugural St. George air show for a couple of months. In part to see a great air show and in part, for me at least, to glean whatever bits of “do’s and don’ts” that may present themselves. The first annual St. George Air Show pulled together the key ingredients to make this year’s air show a memorable success.
Located amid the red hills of Washington County, we enjoyed not only the show above but also the unique red desert surroundings. We were lucky enough to attend with friends and aviation enthusiasts and we couldn’t have asked for more. Sitting on the tarmac of a brand new airport, surrounded by people who feel the same excitement as I do as a P-51 eats up the sky on a low pass at show center, I couldn’t have imagined a better place to be.
The performers that were lined up had the crowd on their feet. Due to military budget cuts this year, jet demo teams were limited and in high demand. Thunder over Utah was fortunate enough to get multiple teams. The awesome performance of the F-22 Raptor
and precision flying of the Navy’s Blue Angels were definitely the highlights for many.
Thunder over Utah not only included an awe inspiring display of the new but incorporated the nostalgia of the barnstorming era with Carol Pilon’s wing-walking act among other unique performances.
One of the highlights for my nine year old was the opportunity to play fighter pilot for a few minutes as he sat in the cockpit of a mostly restored MIG 15, muscle the stick around, and learn about this great plane as the staff took plenty of time to make him feel important and answer all of our questions. Other noteworthy statics included a KC-135, a C-130, and an USMC MV-22 Osprey among several others.
The inaugural show wasn’t without it’s growing pains from the hour and a half egress from a parking lot packed with cars and not much direction to the several dancing kids I saw waiting in 20 minute lines with parents sporting panicked expressions there are a few areas that I’m sure will be addressed as this air show continues.
All in all we returned to our hotel that night tired and pleased with the great show we were able to watch. Congratulations are in order to all those who managed to put on a successful and memorable first showing of “Thunder Over Utah”.
Story and Photos by Dave Holman