HAVELOCK, N.C. (WNCT) – A Soviet warbird took to the skies Wednesday in Havelock ahead of the Cherry Point Air Show at the end of the month.
A regular performer on the air show circuit, Marty Sheehan, the pilot of the classic Soviet warbird, gave WNCT 9 On Your Side a sneak peek of what folks can expect at the air show.
This year, Cherry Point officials expect to have the biggest air show they’ve ever had, with nearly 20 different aviation performances and more than 150 thousand people in attendance.
“It’s our way of telling the public, ‘Hey, thanks for all the support you give us during the year because you see us flying around here, you hear us flying around here, and we appreciate the support we get’,” said Mike Barton, Director of Public Affairs for Cherry Point.
The Yak-52’s have been a part of the Cherry Point Air Shows for the past six years and, on Wednesday, 9 On Your Side got the chance to see first-hand what those performances consist of.
“Today when we go out to fly we’ll do a loop and a roll and probably pull about 4G’s and let you fly the airplane to see how it feels,” said Marty Sheehan, the pilot of the Yak-52.
At 2,200 pounds, the plane is quite light and agile.
Designed in the 70’s, the warbird was originally a trainer for students who would later transition to Soviet jets. It’s relatively easy to fly, but there’s a catch.
“Compared to what the U.S. has, everything in it is backwards,” said Sheehan. “The prop turns the wrong way, the attitude gyro’s are upside down but it’s a strong well-built aircraft. The myth behind it is so we can’t use their equipment.”
After getting used to everything being backwards, Matter finally got the gist of it, then came the rolls and loops.
Sheehan said there are nearly 200 Yak-52’s in the United States and says a newer version of the warbird is still being produced in Romania.
“It’s always a privilege to come help support the Marines in their air show,” Sheehan said.
If you’d like to see tricks similar to this and classic aircraft’s on the flight line they’ll be at Cherry Point’s Air Show April 29th through May 1st. The event is free and open to the public.