On an August night in 2017, way past Ken Hopper's bedtime, No. 5 called.
"His spot in formation with the Blue Angels,'' Hopper explains of the late-night caller's moniker.
"We want to fly in your show,'' Hopper recalled No. 5 saying to Hopper, founder of the Quad City Air Show.
The Blue Angels were flying a show in California, which means there was the time difference. "He was awake and I wasn't,'' Hopper said. "Half-asleep, I said OK. So now we have a show.''
So with that, Hopper had secured the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, arguably the world's greatest tactical flying team, to headline the 31st Quad City Air Show.
The event, which has traditionally drawn approximately 100,000 spectators, returns after a two-year hiatus, Saturday-Sunday, June 29-30, at Davenport Municipal Airport.
"It's been a challenge to bring this to life,'' said Hopper, who leads the aviation division of a medical company, and has been doing cross-country, double-duty the past two years. In 35 years of bringing air shows to life, Hopper has guided over 225 shows from start to finish.
"I'm not complaining," he said, but his day job deserves "60-plus hours a week, and my end of the air show at least 45; so you do the math,'' Hopper added. "Still, though, it's going to be a great weekend.''
The Quad City Air Show has been selected as one of only 12 sites to host 2019 Navy Week. It begins June 24 and culminates with the Blue Angels dazzling the QC Air Show crowd June 29-30.
In addition to the Blue Angels, the weekend features a long list of top air show performers.
Some of the featured acts are:
• Aerobatic pilot Kirby Chambliss.
• U.S. Air Force C-17 Demonstration Team.
• USAF Heritage Flight, featuring the P-38J and the A-10.
• Class of 1945 — The P-51 Mustang and the FAU-5 Corsair.
"Great acts, all of them,'' Hopper said of the show's line-up. "You take some time off and then come back, you had better come back with something really special. That's what we did. It's safe to say this is our best show, but after two years away, it had better be.''
In addition to air-related acts, the 2019 Quad City Air Show has a pair of special twists planned.
The "Pulling for Hope Plane Pull'' will benefit Gilda's Club of the Quad Cities. Teams will compete by pulling a 30,000-pound airplane 12 feet down the airport's runway.
Teams can consist of a maximum of 10 members but can choose to pull with less than 10 if desired. Groups will compete to see who can pull the plane 12 feet in the fastest amount of time with two consecutive pulls. For information, go to https://www.gildasclubqc.org.
Since 2014, the band Electric Shock has been performing an AC/DC tribute show faithfully replicating AC/DC musically and visually. At 6 p.m. on Air Show Saturday, Electric Shock will perform. Admission is included with an Air Show pass.
"My family has been amazing with all this,'' Hopper said. "And the community has responded in great fashion. We are all looking forward to bring our community a show it deserves and it deserves the best.''
As far as the future, Hopper, at age 62, says he has one long-term goal.
"I know at 65, I'm retiring,'' he said. "Until then we'll see what lay ahead.''
Tickets for the 2019 Quad City Air Show are available online at www.quadcityairshow.com. At Costco a one-day adult pass costs $25, $10 for a one-day youth pass.