|The planes fly over O.co Coliseum. Photo by Tony Gonzales|
As the Pacific Boys Choir sang the National Anthem before the Raiders Monday Night Football game against the Dallas Cowboys, four World War II airplanes made their way towards O.co Coliseum. When the choir hit their last note, one P-40 Warhawk and three P-51 Mustangs flew over the roaring Raider Nation crowd.
“They’re all World War II fighter planes and they’re all going to appear in the Wings Over Wine Country Air Show this Saturday and Sunday, August 18 and 19, at the Sonoma County Airport,” explained Doug Clay, Marketing Director for Wings Over Wine Country Air Show.
Clay organized the flyover with the Raiders and was thrilled to see the planes kick off the Raiders 2012 campaign. “It was very exciting,” said Clay. “It’s something I’ve worked on for about the last year and a half. The idea I had was the fans that come to Raiders games love airplanes and we love the Raiders, so it seemed natural to bring the two together.”
The P-40 Warhawk was flown by lead pilot Jim Thomas. “It was a lot of fun,” said Thomas. “It was loud and fast and we were just worried about timing it correctly. They’re real loud in the cockpit and really hot, but they’re the most fun you can have. They’re more fun than a race car, a motorcycle, a boat. I’ve been through all that junk and I love these airplanes.”
“I’ve known Doug for several years and he’s asked me to do some pretty wild flyovers before so I was happy to do it,” Thomas continued. “And the Raider people were great to deal with and had a good time with everybody involved.”
Those fighter planes, along with a host of other planes, will be on display this weekend at the Air Show in Santa Rosa, Calif.