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Northern Illinois Air Show set Sept. 9

The Northern Illinois Air Show takes flight from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 9 at Waukegan National Airport, 2601 W. Plane Rest Drive, Waukegan.

The event is expected to draw more than 10,000. The opening ceremony begins at noon with a 9/11 tribute featuring a color guard and singing of the national anthem accompanied by the Quad City Skydivers flying the American flag and trailing smoke.

“While not an exclusively military air show, most of the performing aircraft are former U.S. and foreign military fighter or combatant training aircraft,” Northern Illinois Air Show President Tom Coogan said in a news release.

“One of the really cool aspects of attending the Northern Illinois Air Show is the ability to walk around the ramp right up to flyable aircraft and their crew. Most people never get that experience,” the Northbrook resident said.

Some of the visiting active duty aircraft and crews will be available for tours. One of the highlights will be two A-10 Warthogs.

“The A-10 is a jet built around a rotary canon and its crew members aren’t in fear of entering into front line low altitude action,” said Coogan, a former Navy pilot with 10 years of military service in the Persian Gulf during the 1980s and 1990s.

Two T-6 Texan IIs with their crews also will be available along with a large variety of viewable aircraft ranging from historic military to state-of-the-art civilian transport.

Pyrotechnics to coincide with military aircraft simulated attack runs will be made possible by The Mad Bombers.

Expect to see paratrooper jumping and mock dogfights between vintage warplanes. Pilots of the North American F-86 Sabre flown during the Korean War will demonstrate aerobatic maneuvers. The Warbird Heritage A1 Skyraider, T2 Buckeye, A4 Skyhawk, L39 Albatross, T28 Trojan, T6 Texan, L-19 Birddog and N2 Stearman aircraft will be at the show, too.

Flying in for the show will be the T28 Trojan Horseman, the Yak-52 Aerostar Aerobatic team and many other individual aerobatic performers such as Susan Dacy (Stearman), Mike Vaknin (Extra 300), Dave Scott (Pitts S1S), an F-5 and a MIG-17.

“We’re one of the few air shows in the country that will fly historic military aircraft,” Warbird Heritage Foundation President Paul Wood said in a news release. “The launch of this air show is a rare opportunity for families to understand American military history.”

One of the highlights will be a mock dogfight between U.S. and Soviet Korean War era fighter jets. The U.S. aircraft is a North American F-86 Sabre and the Soviet Aircraft is a MIG 17 Fresco.

“We especially want to connect children with veterans so that our youngest citizens can appreciate the sacrifices that our military personnel have made for our country,” said Wood of Lake Forest.

There also will be a missing man formation flyover in recognition of the loss of local legend and Northern Illinois Airshow performer Vlado Lenoch, who perished last month along with a passenger in Baby Duck, the P-51 that has been a perennial favorite at this and other air shows around the country.

The Dragons Fyre Jet truck returns for up-close viewing and several high-speed afterburner sprints down the runway.

Air show attendees also may visit the Lake County Veteran Memorial Park just inside the airport’s southern entrance.

Producing this level of an air show without donors and volunteers would not be possible, Coogan said.

Admission to the Northern Illinois Air Show is $15. Military personnel in uniform and children 12 and younger are admitted free.

Vendors will be on hand to sell specialty fare. For information, visit

If you go

WHAT: Northern Illinois Air Show

WHEN: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 9

WHERE: Waukegan National Airport, 2601 W. Plane Rest Drive, Waukegan

COST: $15 a person; military personnel in uniform and kids 12 and younger free


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