CAF "Blastards" Prepare Pyrotechnics for the CAF Airshow This Weekend

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Just two days until take-off for the Airsho at the Commemorative Air Force in Midland. Thousands come out to watch the planes take off and fly over, but it's who's underneath the roar of the jets where Newswest 9 found a story.

The self-proclaimed "Blastards" are a group of volunteers who travel all over the country operating pyrotechnics at airshows. These are the teams who set off the explosives as the planes fly over head simulating an air attack.

"If you don't have something going on on the ground, and planes are flying by, it's no different than being at the airport," David Linebarger, CAF "Blastards" Lead said. "The pyrotechnics make an airshow."

Many of these volunteers have been firing off explosives for a couple decades. They come to Midland from all across the U.S., one even from Switzerland!

"We've got people from all walks of life: lawyers, pediatricians, oil field, roofers, you name it," Randy Skinner, "Shooter in Charge" of the CAF Blastards, said. "We've got anyone who wants to be a part of our group. So it's a pretty diverse group."

David is one of four CAF pyrotechnics certified by the Pentagon.

"We're going to use almost 300 pounds of amfo - Ammonium Nitrate, we're going to use five cases of dynamite sticks, we're going to use approximately 800 blasting caps and 1600 gallons of gasoline," Linebarger said.

They say this is one of the largest Airsho's in the entire United States. Crews use 13,000 feet of detonating cord capable of producing about one hour of explosives.

"It's going to be the greatest warbirds show in the United States!" Linebarger said.

For this team, it's not just about the hundreds of pounds of explosives. It's a mission to preserve a moment in history and re-create a glimpse of our past.

"I do it for the love of the CAF - to keep the warbirds flying," Linebarger said.

"Once you get it in your blood, you can't get it out of you," Skinner said. "There's an airshow - let's go!"