This years air expo is being planned based on two priorities; safety and entertainment, Lt. Col. Ira Cline, 2012 Joint Base Lewis-McChord Air Expo director, said. His bottom line, however, is to share what is inside the joint base gates with the community members outside the gates.
What I hope for in the end is that we get a lot of feedback from the community about their interaction with our Airmen and Soldiers, Cline said. I hope they get a lot of insight into what our military is capable of and what our tax dollars are supporting.
As airshow director, Cline is responsible for overseeing the two-day, 350,000-spectator open house event, managing a $325,000 budget and coordinating the efforts of 42 staff members and more than 1,000 volunteers. He expects the 2012 event, held July 21 and 22 at McChord Field, to be the largest ever. The line-up for the expo already includes 20 performers and 50 static displays, more of both than ever before. The next goal for Cline is to ensure more people get to safely enjoy the entertainment.
The one thing people need to know about this years air show is that it is going to be very crowded, Cline said. Leave (home) early, the gates open at 8 a.m. Avoid congestion by coming early or taking the bus at one of our satellite parking locations around the local community.
While producing an air expo requires extensive, detailed planning, Cline also admits there are some pretty good benefits to the job.
The best thing about planning the air show is that you get to really reach out to the local community, Cline said. You get to partner the Army and Air Force together and bring the best of both agencies to showcase to the community and say thank you to them for their support.
Cline has served in the Air Force for more than 18 years and has been stationed at McChord twice, first from 2000 to 2004 and again in 2010. He is also a senior pilot with more than 3,200 flying hours in four different aircraft.
The Air Expo, July 21 and 22, is free and open to the general public. Gates open at 8 a.m. and flying starts at 11 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Everyone 16 years and older will be required to carry a picture ID for proof of identity.
For more information and a full list of performers and static displays, visit the Air Expo website at www.lewismcchordairexpo.com or look for Joint Base Lewis McChord Air Expo 2012 on Facebook or Twitter.