A vintage World War II training plane buzzed the Chennault runway Friday morning to signal the kickoff of the one-year countdown to the 2021 Chennault International Airshow.
The non-profit airshow, a local tradition, will be held at Chennault the weekend of June 4-6, 2021, and will feature a special tribute in recognition of the 77th anniversary of D-Day.
The airshow will be headlined by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, the most famous jet demonstration team in the history of aviation. The team will be celebrating its 75th anniversary next year and they will be flying a new model of their plane for the first time in 40 years.
“We’re so excited to be hosting the rockstars of the airshow world,” said Airshow Executive Director Mary Jo Bayles.
The event will also feature the Liberty Jump Team, Aeroshell Aerobatic Team, racing pilot Kevin Coleman and Randy Ball’s MIG-17F. Bayles said a new feature of next year’s event will be food trucks.
“We want to get local businesses as much involved in the airshow as we can and help them to profit,” she said.
The Meyers “Fly Navy” aircraft — call sign N26487 — that flew over the airport Friday, was used to train World War II pilots. It was part of a cross-country heritage flight to the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola, Fla., and has been featured in General Aviation News.
The plane is owned by West Calcasieu aviation enthusiast Karen Wade. Her husband, Ashley Wade, piloted the craft with Air Force Veteran Kevin Melton as passenger.
Melton is president of the airshow and executive director of the airport.
Proceeds from the Chennault International Airshow benefit STEM education through grants to local science, technology, engineering and math educators. Melton said one of the main reasons for putting on the airshow is to use it as a vehicle to teach children about “the importance of aviation, how STEM plays into that and how important their education is.”
John Java’s Kia of Lake Charles is the airshow’s title sponsor.
For more information, visit chennaultairshow.com.