Rain grounds planes at air show, but clearer skies expected today

Charlie Tatters decided she wasn’t going to let some rainy weather dampen her spirits on opening day of Thunder Over the Valley.

The 9-year-old climbed as high as she possibly could get for a closer view of the sky Saturday while she waited for a sign that the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds might take flight as scheduled.

“You can see a lot from up here,” she said as she stood, umbrella in hand, on a platform next to one of the fighter jets on display at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna.

She looked up at the sky, then through the window of the cockpit, then back up as the sun started to peek through the clouds, offering a glimmer of hope. Charlie had traveled from Irwin, Pa., with her family to attend the air show. Her excitement lingered even as word came later that the Thunderbirds would remain grounded for the day.

“It’s OK. It’s still been a good day,” she said.

Despite the weather, some 10,000 people still turned out to the air station for the first air show here since 2009. The two-day event continues today. Gates open at 9 a.m. and opening ceremonies are planned for 11:30 a.m. The Thunderbirds are expected to present their demonstration this afternoon.

The event features C-130s, biplanes and military exhibits throughout the day.

Bob Mayle of Hubbard, a Vietnam veteran, has attended air shows all over the country and wasn’t disappointed in what he experienced on Saturday.

“It’s great. I just love being around the jets and the planes and the military people. It’s a great feeling. I wish the weather would have cooperated a little more. But it’s still a great thing. It’s a great place to be,” he said. “You can see the excitement in the kids and the fascination with the planes. That makes it worth it.”

Jeff Burns of Canfield, a Brookfield native, said despite the rain it was a nice opportunity to bring his family out to the air station for day.

“It was worth coming out for. It was nice to be able to bring the family out for something like this. It gives you a real sense of pride to be able to look at all of pride being here and seeing all of this,” he said.

Burns also noted that the “admission price is just right.”

There is no cost to attend. However, visitors pay $5 to be shuttled from either Delphi Packard Electric on the corner of North Road and Larchmont Avenue in Warren or the Eastwood Field at the Eastwood Mall Complex in Niles. There is no public parking at the Air Reserve Station.