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Airport board discusses air show

The board of the Craig Airport and Industrial Authority is considering a request made by the Rev. Kenny Hatcher to bring an air show to Selma.

Hatcher, pastor of Northside Baptist Church, requested at the board’s monthly meeting in February that it consider bringing in a show next year.

During its regular meeting Thursday, board members discussed several issues surrounding the air show — including availability of pilots, support personnel and potential risk the airport would incur.

Johnny Jones Jr. asked about the possibility of getting the U.S. Air Force’s Air Demonstration Squadron (Thunderbirds) or the U.S. Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron (Blue Angels). Both are highly recognized aerial stunt groups.

Craig Field Executive Director Menzo Driskell said those weren’t the only options to invite for a performance.

“You don’t have to have the Blue Angels and the (Thunderbirds) to have an air show,” he said.

Driskell doubted, however, that the airport had the people and necessary infrastructure to make the show happen.

Jones questioned the liability attached to an aerial performance, something other board members were also concerned about.

“We’re a fairly unique facility compared to some that have had air shows,” Buddy Perkins said. “We’ve got industry out here. We’ve got residences. … Where they have a lot of air shows, they’re just air bases.”

Hatcher said earlier he wanted the show as a way to honor those who served at and retired from Craig Field before the Air Force closed the base in 1977.

“Should this board decide to do that, I’d love to be involved in any and every way possible to help,” Hatcher said.

The Blue Angels are scheduled to perform 67 shows at 34 locations throughout the United States and Canada in 2009. The Thunderbirds are scheduled for more than 73 shows in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Far East.

The show season for both groups ends in November.