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Monday, Oct 12 2009 06:52 PM

Edwards AFB to put on jaw-dropping show

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    By Courtesy of Edwards Air Force Base

    Tora, Tora Tora, a one-of-a-kind re-enactment of Japan's infamous attack on Pearl Harbor, is just one of several aerial demonstrations and static displays on tap for Flight Test Nation, the open house and air show set for Saturday at Edwards Air Force Base.

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BY STEVEN MAYER, Californian staff writer smayer@bakersfield.com

Edwards Air Force Base has a history of uncorking some of the fastest-flying, highest-climbing, goose bump-inspiring aircraft the world has ever seen.

And once a year or so, the secretive home of cutting-edge flight tests and gee-whiz technology opens its gates to thousands of goggle-eyed visitors.

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SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

7 a.m. Gates open

10 a.m. Open house officially begins as legendary "Right Stuff" test pilot Chuck Yeager and test pilot-astronaut Joe Engle break the sound barrier in two F-16s

* Golden Knight flag drop

* A-10 "Warthog" demonstration

* B-25, B-17, P-51, P-38 Doolittle Raid demonstration flights

* White Knight II flyby

* Address by retired Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager

* "B-2" bike drive-by address by retired Brig. Gen. Joe Engle

* F-16 demonstration

* Demonstration of World War II-era AT-6/SNJ Texan

* The massive C-17 cargo aircraft

* Demonstration of the T-34, originally a military trainer aircraft

* Golden Knights team performance

* B-1, B-2, B-52 fly-by

* Tora, Tora Tora

* Heritage Flyby (F-22, F-16, A-10, P-38)

* Flight Test Center aerial review

3 p.m. Flying ends, at which time David Hartman will be joined by Engle and Yeager for a discussion of flight test in Hangar 1600.

6 p.m. Open house ends.

Restricted items

* Attendees may bring lawn chairs, hand-held umbrellas, blankets, large towels, etc., into the air show area. Please leave chair bags or containers in your car.

* No tents or awnings, pop-ups or shade canopies allowed.

* Outside food allowed only for people with valid medical conditions.

* Guests may not bring alcoholic beverages to the air show. However, beer will be available for purchase from air show vendors.

* Ice chests, backpacks, book bags, ruck sacks and boxes are prohibited from the flight line. However, small coolers, generally the small floppy type for formula, baby food, etc., are allowed. Diaper changing facilities available.

* Purses may not be greater than 12 inches. All hand-carried items will be examined, similar to security at an airport.

* Cameras, video recorders, binoculars and similar items are allowed.

* Attendees may not bring pets to the open house, nor may pets be left unattended in parked cars, vans or motor homes.

Source: Edwards Air Force Base

The annual experience is coming again this Saturday as the eastern Kern County air base kicks off Flight Test Nation, a full day of thrilling demonstration flying and jaw-dropping performances by an award-winning parachute team, a flaming re-enactment of the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, and dozens of other attractions.

And it's free.

Headlining the day's events are two performances: the famous Army Golden Knights and "Tora, Tora Tora."

The Army Golden Knights have performed at more than 15,000 shows in all 50 states and 48 countries.

In the last three years alone, the Knights earned 17 gold medals, 80 silver medals and 61 bronze medals. These achievements have won the Knights acclaim as the most successful parachute team in the world.

The Pearl Harbor reenactment known as Tora, Tora Tora traces its beginnings to 1972 when six replica Japanese aircraft were donated to the Commemorative Air Force by 20th Century Fox, the studio that produced the movie of the same name.

Since then, the team has gained an international following, performing hundreds of times at the nation's top air shows. Tora has won acclaim by the International Conference of Air Shows as one of the best air show acts in the industry.

Amazingly, everyone in the organization is an unpaid volunteer.

Gates open at 7 a.m. and flying begins at about 10 a.m. The open house is expected to close at 6 p.m. to allow guests ample time to enjoy the more than 40 static displays on the flight line.

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