Airplanes in action

March Air Reserve Base Hosts’2016 March Field Airfest:Thunder Over The Empire 

By Alexis Naucler

After a four-year hiatus, “March Field Airfest: Thunder Over The Empire” has returned to the March Air Reserve Base from April 16 to April 17 to bring citizens of the Inland Empire together for a weekend of aviation, aircraft performances and displays all for free.

Performances of the show included the Northrop N9MB Flying Wing, Kent Pietch’s Jelly Belly, Patriots Jet Team and a headlining performance by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. One unique performance of this year’s airshow was a single man pulling an airplane with nothing but his brute strength.

Professional Strongman Martins Licis was invited to the air show by powerlifting and strongman company Viking Fit to pull a C-17 Globemaster III, a 585,000 pound cargo plane, all on his own.

“I got invited here to pull a big plane for Viking Fit and I thought perfect! what great training for World’s Strongest Man because there’s no truck that’s going to be heavier than a plane so if I could pull that, I could pull anything,” Licis said.

Licis was hooked up to the C-17 by a harness and was able to pull on a rope attached to the ground in an attempt to move the plane.

“This is my only chance, I better use it.” Licis said he thought to himself as he was preparing to move the plane.

It took Licis approximately four minutes of pushing off of the ground and pulling on the rope before the cargo plane started to move. Licis mentioned that getting the plane to start moving was difficult due to the small decline the back wheels were on.

“A second feels like a good ten minutes,” he said. “The sounds and everything is muffled and it’s just absolute strain and stress on the body.”

Aside from watching performances, visitors were able to enjoy aircraft displays put together by local community members, such as Roger Tonry, owner of two planes that were on display during the event, the Grunman Tiger and SF-260 Marchetti. Tonry mentioned that the best part of coming to an airshow like the one at March ARB was being able to see many of the older planes such as the T-33 and F-86.

“Seeing a lot of the guys up together doing circuits and different kinds of planes flying up there together is always fun to see,” Tonry said.

“It’s better than looking at them in a museum because they’re kind of alive.”