By Brian K. Roat with Clark Cook
Lincoln, Calif., a small bedroom community northeast of Sacramento, has seen explosive growth over the last half-decade, but has a quiet little secret not many people know about. Lincoln Regional Airport/Karl Harder Field (LHM) is big enough to attract corporate jets with clients doing business in the burgeoning Roseville and Rocklin area, as well as throughout Placer County. The Lincoln Airport Day & Airshow, held on Oct. 6, put the airport on the map and in the minds of aviation enthusiasts.
The local Civil Air Patrol prepared LHM for the inaugural festivities under cool, clear skies. Off in the distance a rumbling sound began to emanate, drawing everyone’s attention toward the horizon. One by one, vintage aircraft roared down the runway only a few feet above the ground, peeling off in a carrier-style break to return for a landing.
A true classic that appeared in the show was a fully restored vintage Ryan Sport Trainer. These aircraft were built in San Diego in the 1930s and 1940s. A variant, later designated the PT-22, served as a primary trainer for the U.S. Army Air Corps.
Law enforcement and fire and medical agencies showed attendees the cutting-edge equipment used for emergency response and public safety in their community. The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department sent their Eurocopter EC 120 and crew to staff a static display as part of their ongoing community outreach efforts.
The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection flew in a tanker and an air attack spotter aircraft from Grass Valley. Before landing to park alongside the air attack for static display, the tanker demonstrated a spectacular water drop, drowning the runway as it raced past show center. The crowds discovered the magnitude of a water-bombing run that only frontline firefighters usually get to witness. It’s a great opportunity for the firefighters to interact with the very people they serve from the air, and for folks to express their appreciation for a job well done during a busy fire year. The crowd tipped their hats to the fine firefighters who put their lives on the line to protect people, homes and communities.
Sacramento is home to the nonprofit California Shock Trauma Air Rescue), a helicopter ambulance service that provides emergency medevac flights throughout Northern California. CALSTAR sent one of their Eurocopter BO 105s with a crew for static display and community outreach. The BO 105 has twin turbines that deliver high performance along with smooth, quiet operation, making these multipurpose utility helicopters ideal for air ambulance operations around the world. This BO 105 is often on-call at the CAL FIRE station along Interstate 80, just northeast of Auburn.
Between the static displays and aerial flybys from a variety of vintage aircraft, the airfield felt magically transformed into an old-style military base. After the warbirds were back on the ground, three additional features awed the spectators. Unlike an air fair, in which aircraft are primarily on static display with a few flybys, this event showcased three top aerobatic performers.
John Collver brought WWII flying back to life in War Dog, a perfectly restored AT-6D Texan, and Tim Decker, based at Aerosport West at LHM, provided a high-energy performance in his red and white Pitts S2B.
Bill Stein flew double duty in his Edge 540. His heart-stopping performance in front of the local crowd came after flying in from the Bay Area, where he had been performing all week with Sean D. Tucker and the Collaborators Formation Aerobatic Team during Fleet Week. After his performance, he flew back to Oakland to stage for Sunday’s show over the San Francisco waterfront.
Lincoln’s Airport Day & Airshow 2007 was a terrific success and will surely serve as a blueprint for future air show organizers in this rapidly growing community. It also gave local folks a glimpse into the exciting opportunities and importance of general aviation, as well as greater insight into the evolving needs for this airport.