(Downtown) - The Cleveland National Air Show is a Labor Day weekend family tradition and opens Saturday, running through Monday at Burke Lakefront Airport.

The main attraction is the Navy Blue Angels, which are flying during the afternoons on all three days.

Lt. Commander John Hiltz says they enjoy demonstrating what their Boeing F-18's are capable of, showing visitors the power and agility of America’s military.

The 12 year Navy veteran from the Cincinnati area says the Blue Angels come from all walks of life to serve their country.

Lt. Commander John Hiltz

Hiltz served during two Middle East conflicts, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Navy Petty Officer Yvonne Dumas insures that the F-18's are in perfect flying condition. The Columbus native is among the crewmembers on the ground, who help keep the Blue Angels in the air.

Navy Petty Officer Yvonne Dumas

You will see Dumas, at the airshow, on the tarmac, going through a number of different procedures before the Blue Angels take off. Over her 11 year Navy career she has served in Australia, Japan, Greece, Turkey, Bahrain and Dubai.

The avionics crew keeps the Angels Boeing F-18 Hornets in top mechanical and electrical condition. Navy Petty Officer Mark Lombardi of Cleveland is an aviation electrician. Over his ten years in the service, Lombardi has participated in 4 combat deployments.

Navy Petty Officer Mark Lombardi

Lombardi says they sometimes have to work from sun up to sundown to keep the Blue Angels jets air worthy because of their age, but he really loves his job.

In addition to the Blue Angels, also performing at the air show are the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team, and the United States Fleet Forces Band.

The show has a variety of interactive ground displays, educational exhibits, kid-friendly activities, and lots of planes.

Fans can tour unique aircraft, help pack a parachute, get a picture with a pilot or just enjoy the day-long festival of flying, food and outdoor fun.

See WTAM's Carey Coleman take a ride in a stunt plane at the air show.


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(Photos by Ken Robinson/WTAM & the U.S. Navy)