DATELINE: August 4, 2014 – El Paso, Texas
THE RENOWNED EL PASO TEXAS AMIGO AIRSHO MANAGEMENT TEAM HOLDS LUNCHEON CONFERENCE WITH FASF CENTENNIAL AIR SHOW CHAIRMAN, LT COLONEL IRA CLINE, USAF, TO DISCUSS THEIR COORDINATED EFFORTS. Shown above in conference, are, Left to Right: Pancho Mangan, CEO, and John Payne, Operations Manager, for the Amigo Airsho. Both men are from El Paso, Texas, while FASF Trustee, Colonel Cline, is from Las Cruces, NM.
The AMIGO AIRSHO (That’s how it’s spelled!) has a 31 year history in El Paso, where it has been traditionally held on Biggs Army Airfield at Fort Bliss. Although the air show has a long and colorful history in west Texas’ largest city, recent Pentagon budget cuts, commonly referred to as “sequestration,” have necessitated a relocation of the famous air show to nearby Santa Teresa, NM, adjacent to west El Paso.
This year’s 2014 Amigo Airsho will be held on the weekend of November 1 and 2nd. A recent extension of the Doña Ana County International Jetport’s main runway will now enable the famous United States Air Force Thunderbird Exhibition Team to safely operate out of the smaller community’s newly enlarged airport. The Amigo Airsho has been attracting around 100,000 visitors each year, however the show’s management team anticipates that the change of venue will likely result in a somewhat smaller attendance – until the public becomes accustomed to the dazzling airshow’s new location near west El Paso. A new 45 acre parking lot adjacent to Santa Teresa’s Doña Ana airport is currently being constructed in readiness for the November event’s attendees.
Two years away, in the late Spring of 2016, the First Aero Squadron Foundation (FASF) of Columbus, New Mexico, is planning the first air show ever held in the history of Columbus, all in celebration of the Centennial of the birth of American Airpower in the small SW New Mexico community.
In March of 1916, immediately after Mexican revolutionary, Pancho Villa, raided the town, President Wilson ordered General “Blackjack” Pershing to pursue Villa and his troops into Mexico, and to test out the Army’s new flying machines, all in retaliation for Villa’s raid. The large Army operation was called the “Punitive Expedition,” and it saw the first sustained combat deployment of military aircraft by the U.S. As a consequence of this first use of Army aircraft out of Columbus, the village became known as the “Birthplace of American Air Power.”
A Trustee of the FASF, a non-profit educational enterprise headquartered in Columbus, Colonel Cline will be heading up the Centennial Air Show management team. The Colonel successfully put on a large air show, while he was stationed at McChord Air Force Base near Seattle, WA a few years ago, before transferring to his current position as commanding officer of the AFROTC Detachment at New Mexico State University. The McChord air show under the Colonel’s direction attracted over 200,000 spectators and presented significant crowd and traffic challenges.
The FASF has pledged to help the AMIGO AIRSHO team of volunteers put on its November 2014 event in Santa Teresa and will have its booth among the chalet vendors and exhibitors to help the public better understand the FASF and its historical mission.