The Filips family arrived just in time.
Shortly after they arrived at Chan Gurney Municipal Airport on Sunday afternoon for the Yankton Air Show, their eyes were immediately drawn to the skies.
The family from Crofton, Nebraska, got to witness a mock dogfight between the “immortal Red Baron” and acrobatic pilot Stephan Covington during Sunday’s two-hour show — the first of its kind in Yankton.
Both children (a son and a daughter) to Andy and Erin, were mesmerized by the 10-minute battle, according to their father.
“They were both captivated,” Andy said.
“I even was,” he added, with a chuckle.
Judging by the reaction of the crowd (and the number of children who rushed forward to get the Red Baron’s autograph afterward), so too was everyone else.
Bad weather canceled Saturday’s performance, but the skies were clear for Sunday’s show that featured six nationally-known acts. There were also planes for spectators to look at, performances by Hanson Family Shows and four food trucks.
One air show official estimated that approximately 2,500 people attended Sunday’s performance.
The appeal, according to the Filips family, had to do with the unique nature of the event.
“It’s something we’ve never seen before, so we thought it’d be neat,” Erin said.
Added Andy, “I’ve been to air shows when I was younger, but we just never see them around this area.”
Although the airport gates were open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday, the two-hour show was the main event. Included were:
• Carol Pilon and Third Strike Wingwalking (Carol was solo on the wing during the first performance, and the second performance featured two women)
• Covington in his Pitts Raptor plane, followed by the mock dogfight. There was an interactive part to the dogfight, as a handful of youngsters in the crowd got to “shoot at” the Red Baron from machine guns on the ground
• Gene Soucy (known as ‘Mr. Airshow’) in his Showcat
• Matt Younkin in his Beech 18
• Vanguard Squadron from Tea, in their RV-3A’s
• Misty Blue’s All Women Skydiving Team
Asked what his favorite part of the day was, the Filips’ son enthusiastically replied, “I love the planes.”
“They’ve loved to look at all the planes up close,” Erin added.
Erin said she won tickets to the air show, but added that the family would have gladly paid for the entertainment.
“Everything is really stream-lined, with all the parking and everything inside here,” Erin said.
A local Boy Scouts troop helped with parking on the green space to the west of the airport, and a free shuttle was also provided from Yankton Middle School.