BRUNSWICK — Shade-seeking crowds huddled under the shadow cast by a C-5 Galaxy, a jumbo cargo airplane normally parked at the Westover Air Reserve Base in Massachusetts.

On Saturday, the 230-foot-long aircraft with a wing span of 222 feet was open for tours at the Brunswick Executive Airport for the two-day Great State of Maine Air Show.

With sunny skies and temperatures in the 80s, shady areas were at a premium for the thousands of people who showed up to watch the Navy’s famed Blue Angels, the Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth fighters and flocks of vintage and acrobatic airplanes perform overhead.

“We watched them over Casco Bay while snorkeling on the beach,” said Rick Dietsch of Goffstown, New Hampshire.

Dietsch, his wife, Deb, and their friends, Sue and Steve Kelley of Merrimack, New Hampshire, all camping on Hermit Island, said when they saw the planes practicing overhead they did an Internet search and learned there was an air show in the area. They said they had to check it out.

They were among thousands who descended on the show, which continues Sunday, at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station. Organizers expected 70,000 people to attend before the weekend is out.


Wyatt Portras, 5, of Westbrook, who was visiting the show with his grandmother, Barbara Verrill of South Paris, found much to admire inside the C-5 Galaxy.

“I like it. It can hold 14,000 armies,” Wyatt said.

Make that more like 75 troops and a whole lot of space for tanks, equipment and supplies, said Senior Airman Shaun Day.

Day said the cargo plane gets a lot of use. He flew on it to Honduras in August to deliver household supplies and other humanitarian aid.

Craig Armstrong of Hampden claimed space as close as he could get to the runway and the fleet of Blue Angel F/A-18 Hornets and the F-22 Raptors. He got there shortly after the gates opened at 8 a.m. to hold spots for eight friends. By 11 a.m., they were sitting on lawn chairs waiting for the show to begin.

“We have the sunscreen, the headphones and the ear plugs,” Armstrong said.


Airplane enthusiast Taylor Robertson, 14, of Wiscasset was the motivating force behind her family’s attendance at the show.

“I really like airplanes but I haven’t ever flown,” Taylor said.

The air show returned this year after a three-year break when federal budget cuts grounded the Blue Angels. The show took place every other year and was run by the military until the base closed in 2011. The show is now operated by the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, which runs a business park on the former base.

Bill Sabrowski of Harpswell was one of the dozens of volunteers who helped put on the show. Sabrowski manned the lost and found booth, which offered a great view of the airplanes maneuvering overhead.

Sabrowski said he was in the Air Force for four years and has enjoyed watching aircraft ever since.

He said he also found satisfaction in connecting people with their lost items.

“Someone turned in a nice camera and the man who lost it was very happy to get it back,” Sabrowski said.

Tickets to Sunday’s show are $30 at the gate, $15 for children. The gate opens at 8 a.m., and the show is from noon to 4:30 p.m.

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