Suddenly, there were schedules. Every year, the highlight of the International Council of Air Shows convention in Las Vegas is the release of the following years demonstration team schedules, and this year proved no exception. In a flurry of activity we shared the schedules here on the AirshowStuff blog:
2015 USAF Thunderbirds Schedule
2015/2016 US Navy Blue Angels Schedule
2015 Canadian Forces Snowbirds Schedule
2015 Breitling Jet Team North American Tour Schedule
2015 US Army Golden Knights Schedule
2015 CF-18 Hornet Demo Team Schedule
There are always some interesting story lines and details hidden in the schedules. Here are some of the things that jumped out at us:
Breitling Jet Team Comes to North America
The Breitling Jet Team, based in Europe, has made no secret of their coming North American tour, but today we finally got to see their planned schedule. This is very exciting as it is a new act in North America, and also because the team will be performing on both coasts as well as in between. In fact, their schedule features an entire seasons worth of shows, starting at the end of April and running through October. The team performs in 7 L-39 Albatros aircraft, the same kind used by US civilian jet teams such as the Patriots and Black Diamond. There may be even more to this story to come as one airshow source has told AirshowStuff the the team is still open to adding dates to fill the holes in the announced schedule!
Wings Over Waukegan – A Canadian Invasion
The small Wings Over Waukegan airshow in Illinois appears on both the Snowbirds and CF-18 Hornet schedule. If that wasn’t enough, it appears the historically Saturday-only event will take place on Saturday and Sunday this year, something that we first noticed mentioned on the Aerostars Aerobatic Team 2015 schedule put out earlier this week. The Snowbirds previously performed in Waukegan in 2012, and the show has hosted US military single-ship demos in the past but never the CF-18. With the combination of the Canadians, the warbirds of the Warbird Heritage Foundation, and the US Army Golden Knights, this show will be a must see for Midwest airshow fans.
Thunderbirds Over Louisville
Thunder Over Louisville, the one day event on the river in downtown Louisville, KY, has secured the USAF Thunderbirds. This venue has always been interesting for jet teams because the crowd is allowed to sit on both sides of the river, creating a small aerobatic box. However, the Blue Angels were able to perform a full show there this year, so look for the Thunderbirds to do the same.
Several major shows, such as Langley AFB and Battle Creek, MI, failed to appear on any of the schedules released today, but it is not necessarily cause for concern. The USAF F-22 Demo Team schedule is expected to be released much later, perhaps in February, and it will likely include many shows not already listed.
East Coast Competition
East Coast airshow fans will have quite a dilemma in September when Andrews AFB just outside of Washington DC and NAS Oceana in Virginia Beach, VA host their shows on the same weekend. Andrews will feature the Thunderbirds while NAS Oceana will feature the Blue Angels. This is a significant date change for Andrews, which is typically held in May. On the other hand, the three and a half hour drive time between bases could allow fans to pull a double and see both teams in one weekend!
Schedule Changes From Last Year
A few years back the Blue Angels decided to start releasing their schedule a full year further out, which is why this year their announcement includes both 2015 and 2016 dates. It also means the 2015 dates have been out since last year’s convention, although of course a few have changed. Atlantic City has moved from May to September, perhaps to secure the Breitling team. The Memphis Airshow in Tennessee no longer appears on the schedule, and the St. Cloud show in Minnesota has been replaced by the Eau Claire show just over the border in Wisconsin (although this one was no surprise).
Blue Angels Return to Lynchburg
The last time the Blue Angels performed in Lynchburg, VA, the show ended abruptly with a knock it off after the diamond got too low coming out of a maneuver. The infamous “Stay with me!” incident quickly led to then Blue Angel #1 Dave Koss leaving the team, to be replaced by former “Boss” Greg McWherter after a safety stand down. The team was slated to perform there in 2013, but canceled due to the sequestration budget cuts. Hopefully when the team returns for their scheduled 2016 performance, things will be less eventful.
What do you think about the schedules? Are you excited for a hometown appearance or bummed that you’ll have to travel to see your favorite act? Did you notice anything unusual what we missed? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page!