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Wheels and Wings takes off

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EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Big ideas often sprout from simple moments – but in the case of the Wheels and Wings Show, the idea genesis was kind of a big moment all its own.

A couple of years ago, Doug Landin accompanied his friend and fellow Slifer Smith and Frampton Real Estate broker Don Welch to a gathering of local car enthusiasts called Cars and Coffee.

“What struck us was there were 50 cars there and another 40 RSVPs from people who said they couldn’t make it,” Landin said. “All these really excellent local cars were there.”



That sight got him to thinking, Why not take the car display to the next level? He got on a computer and fashioned a mock-up brochure for a car show and passed it around his office.

“The title of the thing was ‘Am I crazy?'” Landin said. His co-workers’ negative response to that specific question and positive response to the idea of a local car show resulted in the inaugural Vail Automotive Classic Wheels and Wings Show last year.

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“The thing I heard most last year was, ‘You would never know this was a first-year event,'” Landin said.

Now it is 2011, and a bigger and better Wheels and Wings Show will return to the Vail Valley Jet Center on Saturday and then to Vail Village on Sunday. Featuring a wide array of cars, aircraft and motorcycles, the event is the only one of its kind on the Western Slope.

“We’re expecting more than 300 cars, aircraft and motorcycles this year, which is nearly double last year’s display,” Landin said. “Also new this year, we’ll be giving awards for cars in nine categories, motorcycles in two categories and aircraft in two categories.”



Timing is an important element of the Wheels and Wings Show. It is held the second weekend in September because the Colorado Grand classic car rally comes to the state the following week.

“The Colorado Grand has some of the nicest driving cars in the United States,” Landin said.

Saturday’s Wheels and Wings Show at the Vail Valley Jet Center will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The cost is $5 for adults and children older than 12.

Saturday’s display will include a 1936 MG SA Saloon, 1957 Porsche Speedster, 1987 Ferrari 328 GTS and 1955 Austin Healy Hundred. Local participant and supporter of the show Jerry Sibley will again be displaying his spectacular array of motorcycles and cars, including his 1938 Brough Superior, which won Best in Class Motorcycle at last year’s event. Awards will be given in car classes ranging from American muscle cars to European sports cars. Motorcycles will be judged in the vintage (pre-1972) and sports classes.

Nearly 75 aircraft will be displayed over nine categories, and displays will include a Hawker 900, a Hawker 4000, a Gulfstream G550, a Pilatus PC-12, a Stemme S10 and aircraft from Kodiak, Bell, Bonanza and Husky.

The day will end with participants and sponsors taking a mountain cruise along U.S. Highway 6 from the Vail Valley Jet Center to the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa. Participants and sponsors will be invited to attend a cocktail reception at Avondale restaurant following the cruise.

New to this year’s event will be helicopter rides provided by Copters for a Cause, as well as single-engine airplanes providing intro rides and scenic tours. All rides will have a nominal charge.

Also new to the Wheels and Wings Show is the Car Corral, where individuals may display their car for sale on Saturday only at the Vail Valley Jet Center. The Car Corral is for cars only, and these cars will not be judged. Registration fee is $50. Participants are encouraged to register online at http://www.vailautomotiveclassic.com.

Along with the signature car show are activities scheduled for children of all ages, and emergency-services vehicles and staff will provide tours of ambulance, police, sheriff and fire vehicles. The Experimental Aircraft Association will be taking sign-ups for the Young Eagles Chapter, which will open this fall here in Eagle County. Also on display will be the Mechanical Air and Space Museum, the private collection of local resident Ted Tannis. This display includes scale models of aircraft and astronaut gear. Other organizations will provide information on their programs, including Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, Eagle RC Flyers and the Eagle County Aviation Association.

Sunday’s event in Vail Village starts with breakfast on Pepi’s deck. The restaurant, located in the Hotel Gastof Gramshammer in the heart of Vail Village, will open at 8 a.m. for participants, sponsors and spectators.

Sunday’s show of cars will take place throughout the streets of Vail Village.

“This year’s display will include the award winners and other world-class cars in our own world-class resort,” Landin said. “This kind of show in Vail is a real treat, showcasing the art of the machine in this amazing Rocky Mountain ski resort town. And everyone can enjoy the Vail Farmers’ Market and Oktoberfest in Lionshead at the same time.”

As the most comprehensive car and aircraft show on Colorado’s Western Slope, Wheels and Wings will feature more than 200 cars, 30 airplanes and other aircraft and 30 motorcycles.

Cars, trucks and motorcycles will be displayed and judged in 13 categories, including:

• Muscle Cars (1962-1972).

• American Pre-War Classic Cars.

• Vintage Motorcycles (pre-1972).

• Street Rods.

• American Post-War Classic Cars (1941-1961).

• Sport Motorcycles.

• Supercars.

• European Pre-War Classic Cars.

• Custom Motorcycles.

• Custom Cars.

• European Post-War Classic Cars (1941-1961).

• Custom Transporters.

• European Sports Cars.

This year’s Featured Marque is Ferrari. Vintage and modern Ferraris will be on display Saturday at the Vail Valley Jet Center, including a 1987 328 GTS, a 1999 F355 Spider, a 1992 512TR, the rare 1997 355 CH and a 1984 Mondial. A limited number of Ferraris will be on display Sunday in Vail Village.

Aircraft will be displayed in nine categories, with judging for the War Bird and Experimental categories only. Classes include:

• Single Engine Piston.

• Turbo Prop.

• War Birds.

• Twin Engine Piston.

• Helicopter.

• Experimental.

• Large Jet.

• Medium Jet.

• Small Jet.

All event participants are encouraged to sign up online at http://www.vailautomotive

classic.com. Cars and motorcycles may register under “Cars and Bikes” before Wednesday.

The fee to register cars and motorcycles is $30 for the first vehicle and $15 for each additional vehicle. Cars and motorcycles also may register Saturday at the Wheels and Wings Show for a fee of $40. There are no fees to register aircraft. Registration for the Car Corral is $50. Awards for Best in Class for each category will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

For additional information, visit http://www.vailautoshow.com.

What can spectators expect at the 2011 Wheels and Wings Show at the Vail Valley Jet Center on Saturday? One of the most storied aircraft slated for the show is a Yakovlev Yak-50.

The Yakovlev Yak-50 aerobatic aircraft is a single-seat, all-metal, low-wing monoplane with retractable main wheels and exposed tail wheel. The control surfaces are fabric covered to save weight. The aircraft is not equipped with flaps.

The supercharged engine may be the Vedeneyev M14P (standard production line version), M14PF or M14R, producing between 360 and 450 horsepower and driving the propeller via a reduction gearbox. The landing gear, brakes and engine starter are operated by compressed air.

The Yak-50 has exceptionally fine handling characteristics, enhanced by a relatively high power-to-weight ratio. It has a tough and agile airframe (rated at +9 and -5 Gs). The Yak-50 was a two-time World Aerobatic Champion. It has been used as a military trainer by several countries.

Proceeds from the 2011 Wheels and Wings Show will benefit two local charities:

Angels in Action: The Swinford family and many local friends established the Angels in Action event as an annual 5K family fun run/walk in Avon. It raises funds for the Crissa Lea Swinford Scholarship Fund, which was established in May 2001 after the untimely loss of Crissa at age 25 in a motorcycle accident. Each year since, the Swinford family has issued college scholarships ranging from $1,500 to $4,000 to one or two graduating ladies from Battle Mountain High School.

Jack’s Place: Jack’s Place provides safe, convenient and comfortable day or overnight accommodations for cancer patients and their caregivers while the patient receives treatment at the Shaw Cancer Center. Named after Dr. Jack Eck, a longtime and beloved Vail-area doctor, Jack’s Place provides a wonderful haven of tranquility and well-being for the patients of the Shaw Regional Cancer Care Center.


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