By: Corrine Girard
On Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, crowds filed into the Prescott Municipal Airport (KPRC) for the annual Wings out West airshow. This year the airshow boasted more demonstrations, more vendors, and more attendees than ever before. The airshow, an event geared towards Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) students and alumni, was opened to the public for the second time and the City of Prescott was a co-host. The threat of rain loomed overhead about halfway through the show, but the weather held out and the crowd stayed dry to enjoy the aerial displays and static aircraft that were parked on the ramp.
The 2018 airshow follows a big year for KPRC. With the closure of Great Lakes Aviation in early 2018, KPRC was without a passenger airline service until United Express started flights from Prescott to Denver and Los Angeles in late August. Prior to the airshow beginning, attendees may have noticed the CRJ-200 taking off for a 9:00 a.m flight to Denver International Airport (DEN).
Headlining this year’s show was Matt Chapman, the Embry-Riddle air show demonstration pilot. In his Extra 330LX aircraft with the trademark ERAU gold and blue paint, Chapman is easy to spot in the sky. Also in the 2018 lineup were pilots Bill Stein, Steve Bennett, Rob Holland, Cindy Irish, and Gary Rower. The airshow also featured a dogfight with the Immortal Red Baron and demonstrations from the Golden Eagles Flight Team. In the latter half of the show, attendees were surprised by the appearance of a U.S. Air Force KC-135 as it flew two laps around the airfield before departing to the southwest.
To put on an airshow of this caliber requires many people from many different organizations to work together to ensure the safety and enjoyment of the attendees. Many volunteers from the City of Prescott and students from ERAU came together to help set up the event prior to Saturday and to help with take-down on event day. In fact, 75 volunteers from Air Force ROTC Det. 028 worked as security and parking control on both the north and south sides of the airfield.
All together in conjunction with air traffic control, Aviation Safety Program Manager Brian Roggow and Jerry Kidrick, and Airport Operations the day went off seamlessly. Airport Operations employee Alex Segovia said, “Our team worked with our volunteers to provide a safe and exciting viewing experience for air show attendees. All together things went smoothly, and we couldn’t have done it without our volunteers.”
The Wings Out West Airshow is a tradition for ERAU students, faculty, staff, and alumni to unite among one thing that brought ERAU together in the first place – aviation. The ability to celebrate the heritage and pride of Embry-Riddle with an airshow at our homecoming is truly a privilege – one that should be taken advantage of by all ERAU students if they have the chance. Freshman Ashleigh Cook, who volunteered with AFROTC Det. 028 said, “The airshow was very empowering to see not only because of the great AirPower, but to see what my classmates will be doing some day in the future. It’s amazing to see what a great community Embry-Riddle is by coming together to experience such a fun event.”