News

Ernesto rains cut Boscobel air show short

But shortened programme, Bolt gold medal run excite patrons

BY ALESIA EDWARDS Observer staff reporter alesiae@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, August 08, 2012    

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RIO NUEVO, St Mary — Torrential rains and strong winds associated with tropical storm Ernesto kept many people away from the second and main day of this year's staging of Boom Energy Boscobel International Air Show on Sunday.

However, for those who turned out at Rio Nuevo Village, the event did not disappoint despite the fact that the programme was cut down to only three stunts.

"I think that if it didn't rain and the place wasn't overcast, we would have got much more, but from what I saw it was very good," a woman who identified herself only as Janelle and who travelled from Kingston for the event told the Jamaica Observer.

The event is registered with the international governing body for air shows and was hosted by the Caribbean Aviation Training Centre (CATC) as part of St Mary's Jamaica 50 celebration and to mark the school's 11th anniversary in aviation.

Chief organiser and Chief Executive Officer of the CATC Captain Errol Stewart, in explaining the concept behind the event which was being staged in the parish for the second time, said the poor weather impacted negatively on the event.

He said although his team experienced some challenges during the preparations, they were ready to give spectators a stimulating show.

"The weather came in and despite the [conditions] I wouldn't fail the crowd and for the first part of the morning they got an interesting part," Captain Stewart said.

"We saw the weather coming in as aviators, and rather than continue to press the people to try and sell this, sell that, we inform them that this is going to happen in this type of weather," he said.

The bad weather prevented the pilots — many of whom had travelled from overseas — from performing several planned stunts.

He said adoring fans can look forward to "another" staging.

"... We don't know when, but it's a once-a-year a thing and I must give props to the team," Stewart added.

During the earlier part of the day, patrons enjoyed performances such as the helicopter jump and parachute jumpers, one of whom carried an enormous Jamaican flag.

Another major highlight of the day was the viewing of Jamaica's own Usain Bolt's gold medal run at the London 2012 Olympics on large screens set up inside the venue.

Pandemonium broke out, despite the intermittent showers, as Bolt breezed past his competitors to cross the finish line first in an Olympic record 9.63 seconds. Compatriot Yohan Blake finished second, his silver medal run generating even more excitement.

"Simply awesome! I'm at a loss for words. This, for me, is everything. I don't care about not seeing all the stunts and so on, that run by Bolt and Blake has fixed every disappointment I've had since morning. I'm glad they allowed us to see the race," Janice Stewart told the Observer.

"I'm just having the time of my life right now. Who cares about the stunts and stuff? That race that we just saw was everything for me," added another patron.

Meanwhile, Tracey Hamilton, a member of the organising team, explained that while the event received overwhelming support from locals in the parish, there needs to be greater support from the business community.

"For an event that needs to grow in St Mary, I think the business community needs to embrace it some more for it to grow. We try to make it a Boscobel event, not a Kingston event, we don't want to bring in Kingston sponsors or Kingston service providers, we want people from here," she said.

The two-day event opened at the Ian Fleming International Airport in the parish on Saturday with a static display where patrons got an up-close view of the stunt aircraft and an opportunity to speak with the crew.

Some patrons also enjoyed simulation flying and young aviation enthusiasts were given lessons about the aviation industry.

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