More than 50,000 people descended on Scott Air Force Base Saturday for the Power Over the Midwest Air Show featuring the iconic Thunderbirds. The air show continues Sunday.
Steven Horn of Hamilton, which is on the Mississippi River north of Quincy, traveled more than three and a half hours with his son to see the Thunderbirds, a U.S. Air Force air demonstration squadron. "I just had to see them," Horn said.
He described the Thunderbirds performance -- which showcased the capabilities of the F-16 Fighting Falcon jets -- as "amazing" and "excellent."
His son, who shares the same name as his father Steven Horn, 7, said he liked the "smoke loops" the Thunderbirds made in the sky, but his favorite aircraft was a Delta commercial airline on display for air show attendees to tour.
The younger Horn said he liked the movies and the seats in the Delta plane. His father said his son has never ridden on an airplane so it was a treat for him to see one up close.
Like the Horns, the Helm family of Lake St. Louis, Mo., was excited to see this year's air show. "I used to come (to the air show) with my bowling friends when I was in my early 20s," Laura Helm said. "I thought it would be nice to take my boys."
Her sons Davis, 11, and Charlie, 9, both enjoyed watching the aircraft in action. Davis said he liked when the B-2 Spirit, known as the Stealth Bomber, "snuck up from behind," and his brother Charlie said he liked watching the Thunderbirds "spread apart" after being in close formation.
Laura Helm described the Thunderbird performance in one word -- "awesome."
The pilots of the Thunderbirds were available for autographs following their performance Saturday.
Best friends Macy Watson, 10, and Darcy Popmarkoff, 9, both of Granite City, were able to collect nine signatures from Thunderbird pilots on a commemorative poster provided to air show attendees specifically for autographs.
Popmarkoff said she plans to hang the poster on a cork board in her bedroom. She described the Thunderbirds performance as "unbelievable."
Watson said the air show was "actually cooler" than she thought it would be.
The Power Over the Midwest Air Show continues from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Scott Air Force Base.
Base spokeswoman Karen Pettit said she expects an even larger crowd Sunday as Saturday's show conflicted with several other major events in the area, including the Great Forest Park Balloon Race in St. Louis.
Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 239-2562 or email@example.com.