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The voice of the air show

By Bonney Bowman 8:09 PM July 25, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

There’s a saying in the air show industry: A good narrator can make a bad air show, better.

But a bad narrator can ruin what would otherwise be a great show.

Thankfully, the narrator for Arctic Thunder 2014 is one of the best.

Twenty-seven years ago, Larry Strain found his calling.

He was helping behind the scenes at an air show, but suddenly found center stage.

“The air show director asked if anybody had any public speaking experience. Well I spent 10 years of my life in the radio and television business, so I stupidly raised my hand and he said ‘you’re the air show narrator.’ I knew nothing about it,” recalls Strain.

Almost three decades later, he’s still manning the mic, describing the action in the air.

“What I try to do, being a pilot is I try to put the people here, the spectators, try to put them inside the cockpit,” Strain said. “Try to let them feel the g-forces and the strain and the hurt that some of the performers go through.”

It’s not just the planes that keep him coming back. Strain says it’s the people who make his job fun.

“The air show community is a very close-knit community and I like the people,” he said. “I enjoy it. I’m a pilot myself.”

He knows most of the routines by heart, but there’s one featured in Arctic Thunder Larry says is a special treat: the joint forces exercise, showing cooperation by the Army and the Air Force.

The F-22s will be part of the action this weekend, along with the Thunderbirds and the joint exercise.

Gates open Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m.

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