A rainbow of color decorated the ground and skies at the second annual Cache Air Rendezvous Saturday in Logan.
The weekend air show and aerospace exhibit, sponsored by Utah State University's industrial technology department, was expected to attract more than 20,000 spectators before closing at 4:45 p.m. Sunday.Both young and old got close-up looks at the multicolored aircraft, ranging from restored World War I barnstormers to a U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II. Also popular were the displays created by the department's student and faculty detailing the aviation technology.
Despite all of the color and atmosphere on the ground, the event was dominated by the expanse of blue sky above Cache Valley, especially when all eyes were focused upward on aerobatic routines demonstrated by several featured pilots.
Kim Pearson of Sumter, S.C., headlined the show, thrilling the crowd with stalls and loops in his Italian-built SF-260 Marchetti. Pearson earned a loud round of applause as he landed his plane after completing a routine in which he speaks to the crowd by radio while soaring skyward at 160 mph.
Pearson takes part in air shows across the country, with a usual schedule of four weeks on and one week off. He sees the growing number of shows as a clear indication of public interest.
"It's good, wholesome family entertainment," he said. "There's always been a little bit of romance in aviation. It kind of swings in cycles, and now it seems to be swinging back that way.
"There was a stage when airplanes were regarded as noisy and bothersome, but now people seem to be returning to a fascination with aviation. If we can induce one youngster to say, `Maybe I'd like to pursue a career in aviation,' that's what it's all about."
Later in the afternoon, Cache Valley native Pat Hawley performed an aerial ballet in a vintage 1951 Canadian-built DeHaviland Chipmunk. Hawley, a current Salt Lake resident who also participated in the event last year, saw one change in this year's exhibits as a public relations problem for America's military.
"The B-17 (on display last year) was a romantic era in our history," she said. "The A-10s are almost a foreboding threat of what's to come. People would rather remember the glorious past than anticipate a bad future.
"They have a hard time realizing that because of our military strength there won't be a bad future."
All proceeds from air show admissions will go toward building the aerospace education program at USU. Many of the participating pilots donated their time and fuel costs.
Originally conceived by the industrial technology students at USU, the air show has become a venture involving several university departments. Student involvement ranges from the program written and designed by the communications department to parking assistance provided by the wrestling team.