BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - While there was plenty going on in the air over Biloxi this weekend, there was also a lot happening on the ground.
The Keesler Air Show offered more than a dozen aerial acts, but there were also static displays throughout the open house; 27 to be exact.
The Keesler Air Show and Open House had a lot to offer to people who may not otherwise go beyond the gates on a normal basis. "Everybody gets to see what's actually going on out here," said Navy veteran, Benny Holden.
Part of that included seeing dozens of planes, some in the air, and some on the ground. There were 27 grounded planes alone. "For aviation buffs like myself, I get to see some of the older planes. Some of the World War II war birds," said Bill Ford.
These privately owned vintage planes brought back memories for many of the spectators. Ford remembered taking a flight in a P-51 similar to the one that was on display at the base. He said the trip was something he'll never forget.
"It's a whole different experience from modern airplanes, but it's really interesting when you hear that thing come to life it's like something coming alive," said Ford.
A few of the planes actually did come alive. A Steerman Biplane couldn't stay grounded for long. It joined the skies with a Pitts aircraft to show off some aerial skills that kept the crowds looking up.
"I've been to a few air shows but it looks like this is going to be the best one," said Jim Erkel. Folks like Erkel came to the air show from all over the country. Erkel was on his way from Colorado to Florida when he heard about the air show and decided to stop by.
"Being a pilot, myself, I can really appreciate some of these old timers from World War II," said Erkel. He said he was stationed in Guam in the South Pacific starting in 1966. That's where he gained some experience with the aircraft of the day.
Seeing this immense collection of aviation history really got Erkel's engine going. "I think I want to go sell my house and buy one of these war birds so I can have something to fly," he said.
According to Jerry Taranto, the spokesman for Keesler Air Force base, 96,000 people attended Saturday's event and 59,000 attended Sunday's show. That makes a total of 155,000 people over the two day period.
The static aircraft display included a vintage AT-6 Texan, which was the first aircraft used on a hurricane hunting mission. Today, the Hurricane Hunters use the C-130Js stationed at Keesler.