Adults and children alike stopped in their tracks as the powerful F-16 Fighting Falcon zoomed by overhead. The fighter jet spun, turned and roared over the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport, setting off car alarms in the parking lots.
Despite the warm temperatures, people came out in droves Saturday to witness warbirds, stunt planes and skydivers take over the clear blue skies during the annual Wings Over Wine Country air show. Some spectators found relief from the sun by sitting under the wings and tails of the large aircraft on display.
Santa Rosa resident Jose Orozco and his wife and son stood under the tail of a Canadian CC-115 Buffalo, primarily used for search-and-rescue missions, as they watched four warbirds zip by.
“Awesome,” shouted his son, Jose Elian, who was there to celebrate his sixth birthday.
Adriana Orozco said she and her husband had attended the air show just before their son was born. They couldn’t wait to bring him to the event, which continues Sunday.
Other family members joined them on Saturday. The boy’s uncle, Jorge Orozco, jumped into the rear seat of a Grumman A-6 Intruder with his 15-year-old son, Julian. They said a pilot was on hand to explain all the controls and history of the aircraft.
“It’s a really exciting place,” Adriana Orozco said before her son interrupted her, saying, “Mom, I want to be a pilot when I grow up.”
His tiny head bent upward, he was in awe when pilot Vicky Benzing soared by in her red 1940 Boeing Stearman. The aircraft twisted, looped and dipped as white smoke trailed behind it.
Noah Langlois, 4, wished he were in the rear seat of the aircraft. “It goes really fast,” the Santa Rosa boy said.
Aviation is big in his family. His father, Justin Langlois, is a corporate pilot, while his mother, Morgan Langlois, has a pilot’s license.
Still, the boy was excited to be at the air show. He was particularly impressed with the Air Force parachute team, Wings of Blue, which performed for the first time at the air show, now in its 25th year.
“He’s never seen people jump out of a plane,” his mother said. “He was a little star-struck.”
Noah also was excited to set foot in the C-17 Globemaster III.
“It can carry Jeeps,” he said.
Blake Rosa, 7, and his cousins, too, were impressed with the massive military aircraft used to transport cargo and troops. They immediately strapped themselves to the seats after boarding the aircraft through its rear door.
“It’s crazy,” Blake said as he looked around, exploring every inch of the craft. “It has so many wires. … It’s so big.”