Pilots, planes gearing up to take flight at RI Air Show

We're getting closer to the Rhode Island National Guard Open House and Air Show this weekend. (WJAR)

We're getting closer to the Rhode Island National Guard Open House and Air Show this weekend.

NBC 10 News was at Quonset State Airport on Wednesday, and found, not only the ongoing setup, but a former pilot of one of the aircraft that will be flying: the Harrier Jet.

The planes for the big show are slowly making their way to Quonset.

The Screaming Sasquatch came in on a flatbed truck, and is being assembled right now.

Dell Coller, the crew chief of the Screamin’ Sasquatch explained the hybrid stunt plane, by saying, “It’s a 1929 taper wing with a Learjet engine on the bottom. It's as silly as it sounds.”

When asked what is it capable of doing, Coller said, “Whatever it wants.”

The activity at the base is slowly increasing.

The tents are going up, and some of the nearly 20 different aircraft are making their way in, including the Harrier Jet that'll be on site and in the skies Friday morning.

“The aircraft is designed so that it can land on short fields, take off on shorter fields, and actually come into a hover,” said retired Col. Kevin Watkinson.

More than 30 years ago, right after graduating North Providence High School, he enlisted in the Marine Corps, then took two-and-a-half years of training to learn how to pilot the Harrier, a one-seat attack fighter.

His biggest adventure: flying across the Pacific in a squadron.

“It's a long flight. There's a lot of water out there, single-engine aircraft,” he said. “You just keep looking at those engine instruments, and keep your eye on the tanker,” the refueling plane at the lead.

Watkinson reminisces, and adds, "It is an exhilarating job for a young guy or gal to have."

While the air show is free, a donation is recommended for parking -- or you can take the train.

Coolers, alcohol, backpacks, pets, weapons, as well as drones, are not allowed.

For more information, click here.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off