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Base sets new Air Show record

Ethan Cossey directs Tech. Sgt. Ray Tew's attention skyward during a performance at Little Rock Air Force Base's Air Power Arkansas Air Show. The air show, which brought out 160,000 people on it's first day, set a new base attendance record with more than 250,000 visiting the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Nathan Allen)

Ethan Cossey directs Tech. Sgt. Ray Tew's attention skyward during a performance at Little Rock Air Force Base's Air Power Arkansas Air Show. The air show, which brought out 160,000 people on it's first day, set a new base attendance record with more than 250,000 visiting the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Nathan Allen)

The Shockwave, driven by Les Shockley, screams by the crowd during Little Rock Air Force Base Air Power Arkansas Air Show Nov. 4. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Vanessa Dale)

The Shockwave, driven by Les Shockley, screams by the crowd during Little Rock Air Force Base Air Power Arkansas Air Show Nov. 4. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Vanessa Dale)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- More than a quarter million people came out to Little Rock Air Force Base's Airpower Arkansas Air Show Saturday and Sunday to watch civilian and military performance teams strut their stuff for the crowd.

Topping all other years was a major goal of Air Show coordinators and performers as Little Rock AFB will not host an air show for a few years due to budget and Global War on Terror commitments.

"We really brought the crowd in with the Blue Angels performance," said Maj. Mike Brink, Air Show director of operations, "but once they got here they got an opportunity to see the Shockwave jet-powered truck, the Red Baron Pizza Squadron and some of the best civilian and military performance teams in the world."

"My kids loved the loud planes," said Fran Jacobson, an accountant from Cabot. "After the planes flew, they zoomed around with their arms out pretending to be a pilot."

In addition to the top military and civilian aerobatic performances, visitors got a taste of Little Rock AFB's mission with a C-130 capabilities exercise.

"I heard several people say they were amazed at what goes on here day to day," said Major Brink. "And that's what we wanted to do ... show what capabilities the Air Force has, provide a great place for families to spend a little time together and foster support from the community."

A major player in the success of the Air Show comes from that community support, said Major Brink.

"The tremendous support we've received from the community is what helped make the air show a success," he said. "Their monetary and in-kind support were key."

"It's exciting to see how involved everyone is here," said Dave Woski, a construction worker from Pine Bluff said. "It's a really good show and my kids loved the jet truck."

All in all, everyone he ran into seemed to be having a good time, Mr. Woski said.

"I think we had kids of all ages out here," said Major Brink. "From young children to veterans and retirees, I think everyone was a kid in awe."