By Larry W. Bledsoe
What kind of wedding do you plan if you’re a pilot, and your fiancé is a noted air show performer? If you’re Susan Newman, and your fiancé is Rob “The Bear” Harrison, you plan a unique, aviation-themed wedding.
On September 23, friends gathered at Cable Airport, in Upland, Calif., to celebrate the union of Newman and Harrison. Prior to the nuptials, guests were treated to a first-class air show, announced by Doug Schuster.
Since Cable Airport has a very active Experimental Aircraft Association unit on the field, it wasn’t surprising to see six Van’s RVs doing formation flybys. After that, three Zlins did a flyby, with the bride in the third position; as “From This Moment On,” by Shania Twain, came over the speakers, the bride flew above the upturned faces.
The Just in Time Skydivers made a spectacular jump, landing within feet of the seated guests. Rich Piccirilli parachuted down with the Stars and Stripes in tow, while Rosie La Forge sang “The Star Spangled Banner.” Doug Jardine and his fast-paced aerobatic routine followed, and Margi and Harley Folstad did their “Silver Wings Wing Walking” act. Frank Donnelly, aka “Dr. D,” took his clipped-wing Taylorcraft through his “Old Time Aerobatics” routine, reminiscent of the air show performers of 50 years ago. Finally, Harrison put his bright yellow aerobatic plane through his fast-clipped routine—loops, hammerhead stalls, and other “Tumbling Bear” maneuvers that make up his exciting performance.
The wedding took a more romantic turn once the bride and groom headed for the announcer’s stand. After Diane Gillespie and Julie Wingfield sang “Do What You Have To Do,” white doves were released. The bride and groom then shared their history so far, as well as promises to each other, before the more than 600 guests who came to help them celebrate this special occasion.
The final phase of the ceremony took place high above the airport. The bride and groom, with their attendants, climbed aboard an Antonov AN-2, piloted by Bob Cable. Once in the air, as the aircraft circled high above Cable Airport, Reverend Daniels presided over the actual wedding ceremony.