Japanese Zero and aerobatic airshow headline Wings and Wheels Spectacular at Owls Head

Posted July 25, 2011, at 6:03 p.m.

OWLS HEAD — High-speed aerobatics, classic cars, high-wheel bicycles and military aircraft will highlight the Owls Head Transportation Museum’s most impressive show of the summer on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 6-7.

The annual Wings & Wheels Spectacular is the museum’s longest-running event, now celebrating its 36th season.

This year’s Aerobatic Air Show will be held 1:30 to 3 p.m. both days and feature high-speed performances by Kendal Simpson in his Pitts Model 12 and Dan Marcotte in his Ultimate biplane. Both pilots are skilled performers renowned for putting on an exciting show. Jim Parker will put on a show in an aerobatic Salto glider and Decathlon airplane.

A highlight of the event will be the appearance of several military aircraft including a rare World War II-era Japanese Zero. According to aircraft conservator, Karl Erickson, the Zero — one only two still operational in the world — will fly in two days before the event and leave two days after. It is scheduled fly during airshow activities on both days. The plane is owned by the Houston-based Texas Legends Flying Museum which flies its growing collection of original World War II aircraft to Maine each summer. TFLM also plans to fly in a P-51 Mustang and a Corsair for each day of the event.

The 1942-built Zero is the same model aircraft used by the Japanese Imperial Navy during the attack on Pearl Harbor. For the first few years of World War II the Zero was considered almost undefeatable in aerial combat. Its dogfighting capability combined with extremely long range made it legendary on both sides of the war. This aircraft was recovered from the Solomon Islands in the mid-1960s and restored over a 15-year period.

A scale replica of a World War II German dive bomber — a Stuka JU87 — will fly in on Saturday.

Also flying in for display will be representatives of the Maine Civil Air Patrol in their Cessna 182 equipped with the Garmin G 1000 glass cockpit. Where a traditional cockpit relies on numerous mechanical gauges to display information, a glass cockpit uses several displays driven by flight management systems. They are popular with airline companies and in recent years, the technology has become widely available in small aircraft.

The Owls Head Transportation Museum is located at 117 Museum St., off Route 73, about two miles south of Rockland. Event admission is $15 for adults. Museum members and children under 18 are admitted free. There is plenty of free parking. For more information, call 594-4418 or go to www.owlshead.org.

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