Visitors number 1,000 at Minden-Tahoe Airport open house |

Visitors number 1,000 at Minden-Tahoe Airport open house

Karl Horeis, Appeal staff writer
Spectators check out the inside of this Orion P3 aircraft built in 1964 by Lockheed during the Fly-In at Minden-Tahoe Airport Saturday. The plane was used for anit-submarine warfare.

About 50 aircraft flew in for the Minden-Tahoe Airport open house on Saturday, according to airport manager Jim Braswell.

“And about 25 or 30 of those did aerial demonstrations,” he said.

Included in the lineup were two L-39 Albatross Czechoslovakian Mig trainer jets, two P-51 Mustang World War II fighters and a P-3 Orion air tanker.

The tanker’s co-pilot, Dave Kelly of Visalia, Calif., gave tours of the aircraft and let children sit in the cockpit. The four-engine plane, which burns 4,000 pounds of fuel an hour, is one of 10 owned by Davis’ company, Aero Union in Chico, Calif.

He hasn’t had many fires to fight this year.

“It’s good and bad at the same time,” he said of the fire-free summer. “As a taxpayer I think it’s wonderful but as an employee, well,” he trailed off, “it’s tough when you bank on catastrophe for employment.”

Sitting next to a Nevada Highway Patrol Cessna 172 RG was Trooper Troy Lindley.

“We’re just out showing our support for the Minden-Tahoe Airport,” he said, passing out stickers to boys.

The plane’s pilot, Sgt. Pete Onorato, does about 14 speed enforcement flights and four prisoner transports a month. The plane is called Air One, while the Highway Patrol’s Cessna 182 in Las Vegas is called Air Two.

Betsy Smith and the Douglas County Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol sold hot dogs, hamburgers, water and soda to raise funds for the group.

“There are no local dues so to keep the lights on and the planes going we have to raise some money,” said Major Smith, the wing director of aerospace education.

She pointed to 1st Lt. Guy Moss of South Lake Tahoe’s Black Hawk Squadron.

“Our two squadrons work together on a lot of things,” she said.

About 1,000 people came to the open house, Braswell said. He got offers from several people to help make next year bigger and better, though he said he wasn’t unhappy with this year.

“I’m surprised how many people showed up, actually, with all the other events going on,” he said.

There was another air show at the South Lake Tahoe airport Saturday, with planes from both shows buzzing around the blue waters of Lake Tahoe.