Inaugural Show Takes Off At Coulter Field Airport

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Long trails of smoke quickly caught people's attention while planes flying low, only inches from touching one anothe, had hundreds of eyes including Ryan Gapalac's fixed on the sky.

"It's really cool," Gapalac said. "I really like airplanes."

Pilots from across Texas swooped by Coulter Field Airport for its inaugural Air Classic to share their passion for flying with spectators. Independence Harley Davidson presented the show and several other local businesses sponsored the event, providing the free admission, free food, and free kids' entertainment.

Retired Air Force Colonel Stuart McCurdy of Round Rock and his flight team were really to show the crowd their passion for aviation.

"We just like to demonstrate the finer points of the art of flying formation as we call it," McCurdy said.

As a pilot with 45 years of experience, McCurdy certainly knows how to use his blue canvas. McCurdy is the the founder and flight leader of the Falcon Flight Formation Team.

All together three different teams participated in Saturday's air show. Joining the Falcon Flight Formation Team were the warbird pilots of the Yack 50's and the Yack 52's. The planes flown overhead were examples of the progression of airplanes from the 1930's to the present.

McCurdy and other pilots use air shows to continue to polish their skills and in the process they inspire others consider exploring the wild blue yonder.

"If people enjoy it and we improve ourself and maybe somewhere along the line people are going to say, ' Well gee, I'd like to do that' , " McCurdy said.

Young Gapalac said he is already singing that tune and he has a plan to taxi down the runway.

"One of my best friends' has a dad that's a pilot and he said I can fly some day," Gapalac said.

This year's turn out is encouraging to the airport's Fixed Base Operation Manager Karl Preston who said officials want to make the Air Classic a yearly event.

"I'm sure with Stu and Falcon Flight you know we'll get some more great acts in here," Preston said.

Besides exhibiting amazing maneuvers, the air show created a deeper appreciation for what jobs are able to do. The Coulter Air Classic was the first time Juan Bermudez got to personally witness planes flying in formation. He said what he saw really impressed him.

"It's nice they can open this up to the public and do something like this where you can actually interact with some of these pilots," Bermudez said. "And talk to them and get to learn a little bit more about the aircraft. So, it's a wonderful thing to be able to do something like that."