If you go
The Wild West Air Fest continues today at Steamboat Springs Airport. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children 6 to 12 and children 5 and younger are free.
The airfield is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
10 a.m. Radio-controlled airplane show
10:31 a.m. Sailplane fly-by
11 a.m. Guest speaker Ralph Hood
1 p.m. Radio-controlled airplane show
1:31 p.m. Sailplane fly-by
1 to 5 p.m. Hang gliders and para-gliders launching off Mount Werner
2 p.m. Guest speaker Burt Newmark, World War II Veteran Pilot
Steamboat Springs Both the history and the future of aviation were on display Saturday at the Wild West Air Fest at Steamboat Springs Airport.
The fourth annual Air Fest features dozens of planes ranging from 1930s biplanes to new "sport" aircraft that drew hundreds of visitors as the planes gleamed on the runway and buzzed through the air.
Pilot Christopher Dillis displayed his new Gabosh sport plane, which announcer Mike Forney called the "future of aviation."
The small, sleek red-and-white plane can be flown with a sport pilot's license, which requires half the time to obtain as a regular pilot's license. The three-month-old plane also uses 3.8 gallons of fuel per hour and can run on unleaded gasoline, which is cheaper than aviation fuel.
Dillis, who operates the Skyraider Aviation flight school in Erie, said it's also a fun way to get around.
"It's more like a sports car, instead of a station wagon," he said.
Dillis said the plane also appeals to older pilots because there is no medical test to obtain a sport pilot's license. The typical student in his flight school is 50 years old, but he has taught students ranging from 14 to 78 years old.
The short Gabosh stood in stark contrast to the looming orange-and-white T28-C Navy training plane owned by Carl Marbach.
The plane, used for training missions from 1957 to 1975, has a 1,425-horsepower engine and roars as it takes off from the runway.
It also uses 100 gallons per hour during takeoff and landing, and 50 gallons per hour while cruising.
Marbach, who lives half the year in Steamboat, said he takes the plane up about once a week but has cut back because of the rise in fuel costs.
"I think more carefully about it," he said, but that doesn't always deter him.
"It has so much power," he said after he buzzed by the runway at 250 miles per hour. "It's exciting to fly."
The Air Fest is organized by a committee of the Northwest Colorado Aviators Association and is chaired by Joe Birkinbine.
He and Forney, who also is on the committee, said they hoped the event would bring more attention to the Steamboat airport.
"We wanted people to see what a great resource it is," Forney said. "People come out here, and they say they didn't realize it was here."
Forney said the airport has between 4,000 and 5,000 takeoffs and landings per year. Yampa Valley Regional Airport has between 5,000 and 6,000 takeoffs and landings, but with larger planes, he said.
The Air Fest was not all in the air, however, as a display of about two dozen vintage cars lined part of the tarmac and several aviators spoke throughout the day.
The event will continue today with a display of radio-controlled airplanes and helicopters, fly-bys, and hang gliders and para-gliders launching off Mount Werner.
- To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org