Eyewitness News goes high in the sky over Shrinersfest in a WWII T6

Local News

Shrinersfest 2019 officially “took off” today.  

The highlight of the festival is the airshow on Saturday.

But before that, Eyewitness News Amanda Mueller got a bird’s eye view in one of the planes you can see in the airshow.

With the click of a seat belt, tug of a parachute, and test of the engine, we were up, up and away to see a view of Shrinersfest you can’t get from the ground.

“The T6 is one of the most iconic aircraft of World War II,” said Shrinersfest Airshow director and announcer Luke Carrico. “Over 10,000 were built but only a handful remain flying today.”

Luke is the voice behind the three-hour airshow, and has a unique history with Shrinersfest.

“I actually announced my first airshow back when I was 14-years-old as a matter of fact.

Some of the committee here back with the old Freedom Festival gave me the opportunity.”

“The design is now 81 years old,” said T6 pilot JP Mellor. “This particular airplane was built in 1944.”

That T6 airplane carrying us over the Ohio in 2019 was once used by the Air Force pilots as they trained for combat in WWII.

“This is the final exam before pilots went to their combat aircraft.”

The T6 is also known as “The Pilot Maker.”

“Combat aircraft. Those are all single engine, single seat aircraft. And you don’t get to try it out. There weren’t any two-seater versions of those,” JP explains. “So you got out of this, you got into that, and hopefully you had all the skills you needed to bring the other airplane back.”

It is a flying piece of history that should make anyone at Shrinersfest keep an eye on the sky.

“We think it’s pretty important to you know, share the history of these airplanes and sort of share what our service members did.”

If you’d like to watch from the ground, the airshow kicks off on Saturday at 2 p.m.

You can learn more about flights on the T6 here.

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(This story was originally published on June 20, 2019)

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