'Thunder' organizers sign performers, announcer for this year's air show

March 26, 2012
  • The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly past the upturned nose of a C-5 cargo plane Sept. 4, 2010, during the Thunder Over the Blue Ridge Air Show and Open House at the West Virginia Air National Guard's 167th Airlift Wing in Martinsburg, W.Va.
File photo

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Organizers of Thunder Over the Blue Ridge Open House and Air Show organizers announced Monday that have signed contracts with three aerial acts and air show announcer Larry Rutt.

Bill Finagin, Jerry Wells and Charlie Schwenker are returning to perform for the September 15-16 event, which is to be staged on the 167th Airlift Wing base at the Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport in Martinsburg.

Finagin will demonstrate the aerobatic capabilities of the Pitts S2C, a light, highly maneuverable aerobatic bi-plane designed for air-show performances, according to a news release issued Monday.

Wells will perform twice each day. One performance will be in a Bucker Jungmeister, or “Young Master,” a 1930s German biplane known for its agility and originally used as a trainer for the Luftwaffe. He will also pilot an Extra 300, a German aerobatic monoplane. 

Schwenker also will perform in an Extra 300.

Known as “the voice of experience,” Rutt will return as the announcer for this year’s show, which he announced in 2010 and 2011.

Event organizers said in the release that they are looking forward to contracting a number of other military and civilian aerial demonstration teams and static displays in the near future.

Shaun Perkowski,  president of Thunder Over the Blue Ridge Inc., encouraged local companies to partner with Thunder Over the Blue Ridge.  

“Sponsors have the opportunity to maximize exposure of their product while helping build an exciting community event,” he said.

“Thunder Over the Blue Ridge has a history of giving back to the community. This is a great way for local businesses to also support local charities through Thunder’s partnership with United Way of the Eastern Panhandle,” he said.

Those interested in sponsoring the 2012 air show are asked to contact Perkowski at 304-283-1038 or send an email to; or Nic Diehl at 304-702-3700 or by email at

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