Predator Drone to make rare appearance at Rockford AirFest June 2-3
Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) announced it has secured a MQ-1 Predator Drone as a static display for the 2012 AirFest Saturday and Sunday, June 2-3.
The aircraft from a U.S. Air Force base is incredibly rare at airshows, both international and domestic. The 2012 Rockford AirFest is one of only three airshows in the country to ever host a Predator Drone. AirFest is also the only show in the Midwest that will feature the Predator Drone this year.
The Predator is an armed remotely-piloted aircraft that has gained prominence for its role as an intelligence collection asset as well as executor of combat missions. It is capable of performing a range of tasks, including surveillance, reconnaissance, close air support, combat search and rescue, precision strike, buddy-lase, convoy/raid overwatch, target development and terminal air guidance.
The revolutionary aircraft has gained fame in recent years for its use to combat terrorism in the Middle East. While its missions and specific uses are typically classified, Drones have been credited for gathering intelligence from and completing successful combat missions against major terrorist targets.
RFD Director Mike Dunn said: “This aircraft is on the same level as the F-22 Raptor that we featured at AirFest in 2009. You just don’t see these aircraft because they very rarely come to airshows. Between our performers and very unique static displays, this year’s AirFest is going to be especially memorable. The size and prestige of our statics are really outstanding this year. It’s a real honor to RFD and our 2012 AirFest that the U.S. Air Force is allowing us to host this aircraft.”
The Predator will be accompanied by a crew of six technicians, who will be responsible for assembling the aircraft when it arrives in Rockford. While in town, the Drone will be under very strict security restrictions.
The Predator will be part of the 2012 AirFest’s focus on honoring the U.S. Air Force. The B-52, another rare airshow display, will also be featured at AirFest to celebrate the aircraft’s 60th anniversary.
The 2012 Rockford AirFest featured performers are the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. A full list of displays and performers, as well as ticket information for AirFest, is available at www.FlyRFD.com. General admission tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children 5-12, and free to children younger than 5. Call (815) 969-4000 for more information.
From the May 23-29, 2012, issue
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