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Black Diamond Jet Team (Special to the American Press)

Black Diamond Jet Team (Special to the American Press)

Chennault Airshow to take off on Saturday

Last Modified: Thursday, September 26, 2013 2:51 PM

By Warren Arceneaux / American Press

For the first time in more than a decade, Lake Charles will host an airshow when the Chennault International Airshow is presented this weekend.

The show will feature about 50 planes, with half taking to the air and half being on display on the ground. The show will include exhibits, a short film on the Tuskegee Red Tails, games and concessions.

The show will be open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 28-29. Planes will be in the air noon-4 p.m. each day.

About 300 volunteers will help put the show on. Members of the nonprofit Chennault International Airshow Inc. have worked for nine months to arrange the event.

“We wanted to have an event for this community. At first we thought there was no way we were going to make it,” said Randy Robb, airshow group president. “But the community stood tall, and we got the kind of sponsorships we needed to fund this thing.”

Megan McLellan, director of the airshow group, said organizers wanted to promote aviation and the community and emphasize to children the importance of math, science and transportation.

“We have something for everyone,” she said. “We have jets, general aviation aircraft, plenty of planes to see on the ramp, on the ground and in the sky.”

The lineup includes a Canadian CF-18, the Black Diamond Jet Team, the AeroShell Aerobatic Team, a B-29, the Darnell Racing Flash Fire Jet truck, a MiG-17 Soviet fighter and a P-51 Mustang. The event will have a Kids Zone, activities, static aircraft displays, exhibits by area businesses and, McLellan said, “we are going to have rides for sale in the B-29 and C-45.”

McLellan, who hopes the show will be an annual event, said organizers expect as many as 10,000 people to attend each day.

Tickets are $5 in advance and $7.50 at the gate for ages 6-12; they’re $12 in advance and $15 at the gate for age 13 and older. Children 5 and younger will be admitted free. Free bus shuttles from the parking lots to the seating area will be provided. Attendees may bring their own chairs, but food and alcohol are prohibited.

For more information, call 214-6155 or visit

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