Thunder returning to the Valley

The “thunder” in the Thunder Over the Valley air show at the Santa Maria Public Airport is back this weekend.

Last year, in a change from the past, the Santa Maria Museum of Flight’s annual show had to do without the aerial demonstrations of modern and classic warbirds for which the event has become known. Organizers said they were unable to secure the required federal waivers in time.

However, this year the aerial spectacular will return, including aircraft from Canada’s air force and a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III, a 174-foot-long cargo plane, according to Mike Geddry Sr., Museum of Flight president and air show organizer.

Also expected are a Marine Corps AV-8 Harrier jump jet, Marine Corps helicopters, Navy F/A-18 Hornet fighters, and a Navy E-2C Hawkeye, an early warning and control aircraft.

Scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, the 21st edition of the event is specifically dedicated to the U.S. Coast Guard and a C-130 Hercules cargo plane crew the Coast Guard lost in an October 2009 crash with a Marine Corps Super Cobra helicopter over the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, he said.

However, Geddry has been told the national Coast Guard commander has pulled all Coast Guard aircraft from air shows and other public demonstrations.  “It would have been nice to have them,” Geddry said. Undaunted by the news, Geddry said he will not give up on an appearance by the Coast Guard aircraft until 4 p.m. Sunday.

Santa Maria’s air show is unique as it is dedicated annually to veterans and active duty men and women of the armed forces and their sacrifices for our freedom, Geddry said.

New to the show is a Saturday concert, scheduled from 4:15 to 5:45 p.m., of patriotic music performed by the Central Coast Gazebo Band.

The museum at 3015 Airpark Drive is dedicated to collecting, developing and preserving artifacts related to aviation history.

A fundraiser tri-tip cook-off for the museum, hosted by members of The Society of Petroleum Engineers, is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the museum. The cook-off, which is open to the public, will cost $25 per plate.

For more information, call the museum at 922-8758.

Posted: Wednesday, August 25, 2010 11:20 pm