Thunder in the Valley II ready to take flight in Waterloo - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Thunder in the Valley II ready to take flight in Waterloo

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A popular air show is expected to draw tens of thousands of people to the Waterloo Regional Airport this weekend.

Thunder in the Valley II features the world famous Air Force Thunderbirds, the Army Golden Knights parachute team, and dozens of other aerial acts.

The planes for the world-famous U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

They're parked now - but they are the big attraction at the Thunder in the Valley Air Show.

Organizers expect about 100,000 people to be on airport grounds Saturday and Sunday to see the Thunderbirds and dozens of other acts.

"There's not a performer at the show that hasn't received an award nationally or internationally. This is a world-class show," said air show chairman Roger Pease.

The planes and the Thunderbirds draw people in but for the air show to be a success, a lot has to happen away from the planes. That includes the trash barrels. Organizers say there will be more of them and they will be emptied more often because it can be dangerous to the planes. They also say traffic control will be more streamlined and parking will be easier to get in and out.

"Our show's success depends on patronage and people coming to the show. If you're unable to attend, you'll miss a great show," said air show director Chris Harshbarger.

The Air Shell Aerobatic team has four planes like this.

The planes were used to train pilots in WWII.

Mark Henley/Air Shell Aerobatic Team: "We do a formation aerobatic routine kinda like the Thunderbirds with piston-powered, propeller-driven airplanes. Lot of noise, lot of smoke, we don't go as fast as the jets but we stay in sight over the airport the whole time," said Mark Henley of the Air Shell Aerobatic Team.

George Cline calls the shots during the show.

His title? "Airboss"

"We choreograph everything. It's entertainment. That's my job to make everybody safe on the ground and in the air," said Cline.

Cline says part of his job includes making sure commercial flights are still able to land and take off as part of their normal passenger service.

Friday is Kids Day - which will serve as something of a dress rehearsal.

Saturday and Sunday, the show runs from about 10:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Tickets are $20.

Organizers say they have to put up $200,000 to make sure the show comes together.

They say if you're going bring sunscreen, lawn chairs, and maybe earplugs for the kids.

One other change from 2011 - bottled water will be available for $2. There will also be free water available in some places inside the gates.

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