Aerobatic pilots hop their way to St. Maarten for first Air Show

PHILIPSBURG–Melissa Pemberton and Skip Stewart, the performing aerobatic pilots for the upcoming, first-of-its-kind Air Show on Sunday, will have made their way to St. Maarten by Friday, painstakingly in short “hops” in their single-engine airplanes that will be used for the show.

Organisers hope that the unique show will be the first of more to come and have already pegged May 15 for another event.

Award-winning Red Bull Air Race pilot Frank Versteegh will be coordinating the show, assisted by Lt. Colonel Peter Hardenbol, who has worked in the Dutch Air Force.

Versteegh disclosed in a joint press conference with Princess Juliana International Airport SXM, which is bringing the show to St. Maarten, that all behind-the-scenes arrangements between a long string of authorities have been set and that the public can look forward to two flying acts showcasing a series of exciting loops, rolls, spins and tumbles, as well as a parachute team from the French side.

The three-act Air Show itself will take place over Great Bay between 3:00 and 5:00pm and will comprise three sessions of 15 minutes each. However, it forms part of a family fun day running from 12:00 noon to 12:00 midnight, filled with music, entertainment and activities.

Although there will be different possible vantage points, the day’s activities will be centred at the Walter Plantz Pier and Square area in Downstreet Philipsburg, and Versteegh, also an expert aviation commentator, suggests that spectators gather near enough to the speakers, as the commentary will greatly improve the overall experience.

Airport Special Projects Coordinator Robert Brown said on behalf of the airport that the public could expect a spectacular and authentic Air Show. As for the activities line-up, the public can expect bouncy castles; waterslides; face-painting for the children; music by Mr. Rude, Mixmaster Pauly, Dow Musical Foundation and Generation New Status; and a flash mob by Dance Theatre of St. Maarten, all leading up to the main event.

The Air Show will be followed by a special edition of the Boardwalk Jazz Festival, organised in collaboration with the Downstreet Community Council, featuring master guitarist Carlyle Barriteau, Bobo Claxton, Christian Amour, singers of various high schools on the island, and a number of other regional and international entertainers.

The show will help the destination to gain some access to an international stage, according to organiser Gregory Arrindell. International coverage is also on the books once again, with five journalists who visited the island on a media tour organised by the airport in recent months returning especially to cover the Air Show.

The planes also will be noticed in the skies above Great Bay in rehearsal on Friday.

Attendees of Sunday’s show are requested for security reasons to use the public parking along Walter Nisbeth Road and walk to Boardwalk Boulevard.

Source: The Daily Herald Aerobatic pilots hop their way to St. Maarten for first Air Show