May 25, 2018
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Air National Guard interactive gaming challenge to visit Bangor State Fair

Courtesy of Air National Guard
Courtesy of Air National Guard
A participant in the Air National Guard’s Rise to the Challenge Tour attempts to refuel a B-2 Spirit bomber in midairm. Bangor State Fair participants can attempt the challenge, a free seven-stage interactive-gaming skills test for those age 13 and over, beginning on Friday and running through Sunday.
By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Those who wonder if they’ve got the right stuff needed to refuel a B-2 Spirit bomber in midair, or other jobs done daily by the Air National Guard, can test their skills this weekend at the Bangor State Fair.

The Air Guard’s Rise to the Challenge Tour, a free interactive-gaming skills test for those age 13 and over, will be at the fair for three days starting on Friday.

“Our whole mission is to get the word out about what the Air National Guard does,” Jackie Bilbao, crew chief for the tour, said Tuesday.

Each of the augmented video games and physical tests provide participants an opportunity to participate in simulated missions designed to demonstrate the real-life roles of Air National Guard members, she said. Each challenge takes about 1 minute.

There are seven separate interactive challenges and each represents a job done by Air Guard citizen soldiers, Bilbao said. The challenges include refueling a bomber, packing a cargo hold for maximum efficiency, honing surveillance skills, using mechanical equipment, testing physical strength with a rope and a rescue.

“We encourage participants to do all seven — they’re fun and interactive,” Bilbao said.

For the rescue challenge, participants guide a helicopter through a huge disaster-stricken city and have to rescue five individuals, she said. “It’s all hands-on and interactive.”

The gaming challenges take place inside and around a vehicle that looks like the interior of a cargo plane and are designed to test a player’s electronic, mechanical, observational and spatial aptitude.

The names and scores of the leading challenge performers will be featured on an on-site leader board and top scorers from across the country will be featured on the Air National Guard’s Facebook page. People can also go to the Air Guard’s Web page,, for more online games.

The Rise to the Challenge Tour was in Harrington, Del., last week and will head to the Portsmouth Air Show in Newington, N.H., after Bangor, Nikhil Erleback, a spokesman for the tour, said Tuesday.

In addition to having a little fun, those interested in joining the Air National Guard can talk with members about what service in the Guard is like, Erleback said.

“They have local Air Guard people at every stop,” he said.

The Rise to the Challenge tour will be set up at the Bangor State Fair from 2 to 9 p.m. Friday and noon-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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