Skyfest to feature re-enactment of air battle

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Atlanta aviation attorney Alan Armstrong can't bring aircraft carriers or sandy atolls to Augusta's Daniel Field, but he's not letting that stop him from channeling the spirit of Midway.

This year, Mr. Armstrong, himself a pilot, began presenting a scripted air display based on the World War II battle of Midway at air shows. He'll present a six-aircraft version at Boshears Skyfest this weekend.

Vintage aircraft taking to the skies in Mr. Armstrong's Midway re-enactments include an SBD Dauntless, a replica Zero, a Nakajima B5N2 Kate bomber, a B-25 Mitchell bomber and a pair of SNJ Texans. The aircraft belong to the Dixie wing of the Commemorative Air Force.

This year's Boshears Skyfest will also include static displays, a jet truck, go cart racing, aerobatics displays, a car show and a parachute team.

"I don't have the aircraft carriers or tropical setting," he said. "But I do have sounds, and I do have airplanes. You have to build your story around your cast, and I'm fortunate enough to have the aircraft to do this."

Mr. Armstrong said six planes taking off, flying and landing makes the Boshears show complicated. He's done the show with as many as 13 aircraft. He said he would love to try it with more.

"I would like that very much," he said. "Of course, because of economic considerations, we are constrained, and even with 13 aircraft, it is very complicated."

Mr. Armstrong begins his presentation with events leading up to the battle of Midway, including the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and the escalating war in Europe. He said he made Midway the focus because it is seen as the moment momentum turned toward the United States in the Pacific theater.

"They (the Japanese) were infected with victory disease," he said. "There was no question in their minds they were going to win. I mean, they had eight or nine carriers and we had three. How hard was it going to be?"

Mr. Armstrong said interpreting the historic battle, during which four Japanese aircraft carriers and a heavy cruiser were destroyed, means more to him than merely entertaining an air show audience or exploring history. He thinks there's a contemporary lesson to be learned.

"We have also become imbued with a sense of superiority," he said. "I want to show people that it wasn't always that way. I want to show people that if you aren't careful, you can end up with your back up against the wall.

"That's what happened at Midway."

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com.

MEMORIES OF MIDWAY

WHAT: Boshears Skyfest

WHEN: Gates open at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Opening ceremonies at 1:30 p.m.

WHERE: Daniel Field on Highland Ave.

COST: $15 general, $10 military, police, firefighters and reserves with photo ID. For more information, go to www.boshears.com.


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