Annual Air Show lands in Truckee this weekend

Barry Hancock soars in his T-6 Warbird. Hancock will be among several pilots on hand at this year’s airshow.
Photo courtesy of Paragon PR + Marketing


WHAT: Truckee Tahoe Air Show

WHEN: 9 a.m. Saturday, July 14

WHERE: Truckee Tahoe Airport, 10356 Truckee Airport Rd, Truckee

COST: Free admission


Some of the world’s best pilots will take to the sky above Truckee Tahoe Airport on Saturday, July 14, as the annual Truckee Tahoe Air Show & Family Festival returns to the Sierra.

This year’s festival, as in past years, is free to enter and features the return of two-time Red Bull Air Race World Champion Kirby Chambliss, the Red Bull Wingsuit Team, U.S. Air Force Veteran Lt. Col. Rich Perkins, as well as several others, who’ll push their planes into the region’s thin air in an effort to wow crowds with an array of stalls, spins, flips and barrel rolls.

“High altitude shows are very dangerous,” said Chambliss after last year’s event. “My rule is, if it’s over 4,000 feet, I’m here two days early to practice or I won’t (fly). When you’re cartwheeling an airplane end over end at 800 feet, you better know what it’s doing.”

Chambliss was again on hand days before this weekend’s show, testing his aircraft in the thin summer air as he prepared to entertain fans at one of his preferred venues.

“I do shows just about every other weekend throughout the year, and as far as organization, their show is the finest from my standpoint because things are just clicking,” said Chambliss.

Canada’s only civilian female aerobatic pilot, Anna Serbinenko, will also make her return after missing last year’s event. Serbinenko, who speaks seven languages, owns a flight school, and has a Ph.D. in financial mathematics, spent last year performing 48 shows above the 60th parallel for locals in some of Canada’s most remote area’s in the country’s Northwest Territory.

“These were mostly native communities — 300 to 500 people,” she said. “Gravel landing strips mostly, and some locations didn’t have a strip or anything, so we’d just fly over, do the show, and continue to the next location because there was nowhere to land. But we still tried to bring whatever we could to those remote areas.”

While planes roar high above, there will be a handful of static aircraft stationed below for guests to check out, ranging from a World War II era Supermarine Spitfire up to modern and experimental planes.

Exhibitors will also be on hand with several interactive displays for children as part of the STEAM Expo. The science, technology, engineering, arts and math exhibits are designed as a hands-on way for youngsters to become introduced to aviation.

Children can also take in the Family Festival, produced by the KidZone Museum, which will feature live music, a puppet show, bounce house, and more.

Speaker presentations will also be a highlight of the day, featuring guests from this year’s theme, A Salute to First Responders, taking the stage at noon.

“We’re going to have helicopters from a lot of the first responder groups,” said David Love, director of educational services. “We’ll have CHP, sheriff, we’ll have Care Flight here.”

Gates open at 9 a.m. with performances beginning at 10:30 a.m. and lasting until 2:30 p.m. The air show is free to the public, which is rare among aviation displays, according the show’s Executive Director Tim LoDolce, with all but military shows usually requiring an entry fee.

LoDolce ran the show from the late 60s until 1996. Then when plans emerged to return the air show to the area seven years ago, LoDolce, who is also a pilot and has worked in the past as an air traffic control, was an obvious choice.

“I wanted it to be free and I just wanted it to be a wonderful air show,” said LoDolce. “We’ve got to buy the hottest acts who can prove themselves at this density altitude, because you can’t afford to not get the very best up here … it’s very difficult to fly an aerobatic routine at this altitude in the summer.”

During the air show, parents can also sign up children for free flights the following day through Truckee’s Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 1073. Children 8-17 years old are invited to sign up on Saturday for a flight the following day. Last year the association gave free airplane rides to more than 100 children, according to the air show organizers.

Funds raised during the show go to help local groups such as Tahoe Safe Alliance, which seeks to end domestic violence, sexual violence, and child abuse in the Truckee-Tahoe area. During the past six years the air show has raised more than $200,000 for such groups, according to spokesperson Margaret Skillicorn.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at

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