CHESTERFIELD, MO (KTVI)-The crowds were huge for day one of The Spirit of St. Louis Air Show & STEM Expo Saturday and plenty of fun remained for those heading out for day two. Featuring military and civilian demonstrations, static airplane displays, the interactive STEM Expo, the 2016 event promised to both excite and inspire.
Attendees saw performances by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron, flying the St. Louis-built Boeing F/A-18 Hornet, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds aerobatic team, and the Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet demonstration team. This is the first time in 22 years that the Canadian Snowbirds have been back in St. Louis
"Ours is a nine plane formation. So very few teams around the world fly nine jets at the same time," said Major Indira Thackorie of the Canadian Snowbirds. "Our jets are flying about four feet apart, wing tip to wing tip. The maneuvers are tight, dynamic, and they are fun to watch.
Thackorie said she got to watch Saturday’s show with a ten-year old girl who wanted the Snowbirds to come back for her birthday.
“It’s things like that that make it worthwhile. Not only do we get to represent our country and out military, but we to meet incredible people across North America. “
This year’s show had a special send off. It was the last time anyone will see an F-4 Phantom plane in military operation.
"The F-4 is like the work horse of the U.S. Air Force. Back in Vietnam, you saw the footage of the fighter aircraft…that was the F-4. And this is the last year the F-4 is going to be in operational duty for the U.S. Armed Services." said air show spokesperson Mark Sutherland. "So they flew in here. It is an operational aircraft. It is flown by the National Guard right now. But after this year, it is done so you will only be able to see it in museum and private displays after this."
For years, the F-4 was built right here in St. Louis by McDonnell Douglas.
Hours for the event Sunday are 9am-5pm. Tickets are $25 at the gate. Kids 6 and under get in free. There is also free general admission to military with ID.
The first Spirit of St. Louis Air Show was held in May of 2014, reviving the old St. Louis County Fair and Air Show that ended in 2007.