It’s the first air show in nine years and the first time the USAF Thunderbirds will perform. The Mountain Madness Airshow is finally here. It’s a two day event happening at Glacier Park International Airport.
About 30,000 people are expected to be in attendance in the two days. It’s been in the works for nearly 10 months.
Between hotel rentals, people eating in restaurants and retail sales, the event will likely bring in between $3 and $4 million for businesses in the Flathead.
People from all over, including Canada, Washington, Idaho and cities across Montana have come to the Flathead to see the Thunderbirds perform.
NBC Montana found out it took a lot to get the Thunderbirds here.
"They are one of three performance teams to get in an air show. We had to compete and show our worthiness to get them here so it means a lot,” said public affairs officer, Courtenay Sprunger.
Several committees met for months to put the event together.
"They put together everything from fencing, to ticket sales, to concessions," Sprunger said.
Sprunger says the work paid off.
"There are 1,000 eight hour volunteer shifts that are filled over two days. So that's 500 volunteers a day who are here giving their time to make this event possible," Sprunger said.
Also in attendance were private plane owners like Ivy Mciver. She was showing off her turbo charged aircraft that reaches up to 25,000 feet. She says she loves showing it off.
“It’s really special to be here with all these other planes and just sharing aviation with other people who might normally get to the airport and take a look,” Mciver said.
Mciver also says she wants to generate interest about aviation. She claims it’s a shrinking industry and hopes the air show will break that trend.
"It sparks a little bit of enthusiasm for people who might not aviators. When they get in the plane they think ‘oh it’s like my car’ and if at the end of the day one or two people leave this show after looking at this plane and think, maybe I’d like to learn how to fly that's absolutely rewarding," Mciver said.
Mciver also says it’s about sharing the experience with both pilots and non-pilots.
The last day for the air show is Sunday, August 31st.