Air Expo bogged down by weather

Tony Parra

The 2003 Air Expo Event never got off the ground Saturday because of high winds.
National Weather Service officials said they had no official wind-speed recordings on Saturday, but local weather observers estimated sustained speeds at more than 40 mph.
The winds caused the cancelation of all of the flour-bombing and spot landing competitions by the airplanes. The weather also kept the rocket launchers from testing out their rockets.
“The wind went from zero to 26 knots as soon as the sun broke over the horizon,” Airport Operations Specialist Robert “Nick” Nicholes said. “We were going to see if the wind died down, but it didn’t. We can’t fly any planes or rockets in these types of conditions.”
Twenty-six knots translates to 30 miles per hour. The plane competitions were canceled and will not be rescheduled, Nicholes said. Fourteen pilots and nine airplanes had been set for the show.
“We only had an airspace waiver for today (Saturday),” Nicholes said. “But we can still have some of the kids and any other people that want to launch rockets come out on Sunday.”
People can attempt to launch rockets from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at the airport.
Organizers were expecting a good turnout to this year’s air expo after a disappointing turnout last year, Nicholes said.
“I am disappointed,” said Warren Layfield of Colorado Springs Rocket Society. “We did a lot of publicity for the event and some people had to spend money to come down to Portales, but this can happen sometimes.”
The pancake breakfast by the Altrusa Club at the Armory was the only event that went on without a hitch.