Delaware native hits the sky at Thunder Over Dover

Dover Air Force Base control tower is in the background as aerobatic pilot Dell Coller flies by in an Extra 300L on Thursday. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

DOVER — Not every 1930s style bi-plane is created the same.

Far from it, says pilot Dell Coller, who will entertain the public at the Thunder Over Dover Air Show on Saturday and Sunday.

“It looks like a barnstormer and sounds like a fighter jet,” Mr. Coller said of his aircraft dubbed the “Screamin’ Sasquatch.”

“It makes no sense to anyone watching. It looks like a crop duster but climbs straight up for 8,000 feet.”

This weekend at Dover Air Force Base, spectators will be treated to fast climbs, loops, spins and rolls by Mr. Coller and an array of other high-altitude performers.

There is no cost of admission for the event designed to spotlight 72 years of Air Force aviation history and focused on “honoring our heritage” while “forging the future,” according to Col. Joel W. Safranek, commander of the 436th Airlift Wing,

During a choreographed 12-minute show from takeoff to touchdown, Mr. Coller, a Newark native who graduated from the Wilmington University aviation program, plans to perform high and low speed maneuvers from zero to 250 mph.

Dell Coller, 39, climbs aboard his Extra 300L for a demonstration flight out of Delaware Airpark Thursday. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

“It’s going to be a great weekend with a lot of spectacular performances, a lot of great family entertainment,” he said.

Flying in a Jack Link’s built bi-plane, Mr. Coller, 39, soars overhead in a dozen John Klatt Airshows a year from coast to coast and an occasional course north to Canada.

Some of the other air shows joining John Klatt at the base this weekend will be Jacquie B, Patrick McAlee, Brent Handy, MiG-17, Ghost Writer and more.

In addition, there will be aerial demonstrations from the F-22 Demo Team with P-51 Heritage Flight, C-5 flyover, a C-17 Demo Team display, B-25 appearance, the U.S. Army Parachute Team Black Daggers among others.

Also, spectators can get a look at parked aircraft and visit the Air Mobility Command Museum.

Mr. Coller said he’s drawn to precision power aerobatics for the “three dimensional freedom that comes with not just flying straight and level.”

When the show ends, the crew will disassemble the 4,000-pound “Screamin’ Sasquatch,” pack up the four wings and fuselage for travel to Virginia Beach, Virginia, for next weekend’s Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show.

Gates open for Thunder Over Dover on Saturday and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. There will be opening ceremonies at 11 a.m. and aerial demonstrations overhead from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For information on parking, prohibited items and encouraged items, visit www.dover.af.mil/ThunderOverDover/

DAFB gate changes for weekend air show

DOVER — In order to accommodate the high volume of spectators anticipated at Dover Air Force Base for the 2019 Thunder Over Dover Air Show, there will be significant changes to gate operations and traffic patterns on Saturday and Sunday.

Non-Department of Defense ID cardholders will access the air show via the main gate and north gate. The north gate will be open to inbound traffic only from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. At around 2 p.m. both days, all four lanes of the north gate will reverse to outbound traffic only.

Department of Defense ID cardholders will access the air show or the exchange/commissary area by taking Exit 91 off Del. 1 and entering through the Air Mobility Command Museum gate off Del. 9. To access base facilities such as the gym, dining facility, and dormitories, along with other areas north of the main gate, DoD ID cardholders will enter through the main gate and proceed to posted security forces members at Chevron Avenue and Atlantic Street.

From 2 until 5 p.m., outbound traffic from the housing gate will be re-routed to the Pine Cabin Road gate (adjacent to the housing maintenance building). Inbound traffic will still be allowed through the housing gate while Exit 93 from Del. 1 southbound will be closed.

All traffic will be sent to Exit 91 (AMC Museum Exit) and required to enter Del. 1 northbound to Exit 93 to access housing.

For information, contact the 436th Public Affairs office at 302-677-3372 or email 436AW.PA@us.af.mil.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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