Jerry Waymire is a pastor, a cop and a flight instructor who views Modesto's annual air show as a labor of love.
With two sermons a week at Airport Missionary Baptist Church -- and a full-time job as a bailiff in Stanislaus County Superior Court -- Waymire also is the master of multitasking.
He found four aerobatic pilots who will wow the crowd Saturday at the 14th annual Modesto Airport Appreciation Day.
He lined up more than 40 volunteers who share his love of aviation to direct traffic, attend to vendors needs and collect a $5 gate fee.
Never miss a local story.
And if at least 2,000 spectators show up, he'll break even.
"There are far too many people who don't even know we have an airport," said Waymire, 66, who took over seven years ago when a Modesto-based stunt pilot got too busy to keep the show going. "We have a great airport here."
Folks who head out to the airfield will see planes spiraling overhead, leaving trails of smoke in their wake. Another common stunt, where a plane stalls in midair, then heads downward and levels off just in time to buzz the airstrip, is sure to please the crowd as well.
For $40 to $60, spectators can fly low and slow over the countryside, scoping out the landscape from a helicopter or the open cockpit of a four-seat biplane.
And those who want to stay closer to the ground can check out dozens of military and classic planes that will be on display or watch demonstrations of radio-controlled aircraft.
Modesto-based pilot Steve Stavrakakis, a 22-year veteran of the air show circuit and a code enforcement officer for the Stockton Police Department, hopes the next generation gets the same thrill he felt when he stood by the airport fence in the 1960s.
He said he ran the show for several years, then passed the baton to Waymire because he had too many professional obligations.
"It probably would have died a couple of years ago had Jerry not stepped up to the plate," said Stavrakakis, who still narrates the aerobatic portion of the program.
Don Pascarella, executive officer of the Central Valley Squadron of the Commemorative Air Force, said his group will take on more responsibility next year so Waymire and the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Aero Squadron can step back a bit.
He knows his group has big shoes to fill.
"He's good at what he does," Pascarella said.
Waymire, who graduated from the police academy after earning a doctorate in theology, is not one to blow his own horn. He won't even name a favorite plane, because he believes all planes are good in different ways.
He will admit this much:
He caught the flying bug as a boy in Arkansas, earned a pilot license as a young adult and became a flight instructor while working as the registrar at a Bible college in Southern California.
He has 12,600 flight hours under his belt and teaches safety seminars at the airport.
He owned six or seven planes as his hair went from dark to gray. He now pilots a two-seater Cessna 150 as he fixes up a four-seater Piper Comanche.
Waymire still will have a hand in next year's planning. He said he is proud to put together a family event that has something for everyone, including a two-hour aerobatic show that makes every head turn skyward.
"That's two hours of very good entertainment for a fairly low price," Waymire said.
The Modesto Airport Appreciation Day takes place Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the aerobatic show beginning at noon. Admission is $5, but children under 12 get in free with a parent. For more information, call 968-2613.
Bee staff writer Susan Herendeen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2338.