Just FIVE Public Appearances Remain For USAF F-4 Phantoms, Including Final Flight Event In December

posted in: Airshows, Military, Popular Posts | 60
USAF F-4 Phantom Departure
USAF F-4 Phantoms departed EAA AirVenture Oshkosh for the last time this July.

Update: 9/20/16 – Although the Fort Worth Alliance Airshow asked to be removed from this post last week, we have reconfirmed that two Phantoms plan to attend the show and have re-added it to the schedule.

We have already reported that 2016 is the final year for USAF-operated F-4 Phantoms, but we are happy to report that they will go out with a public celebration of their service. As announced by F-4 pilot Ron ‘Elvis’ King at EAA AirVenture, there are plans to fly the last remaining F-4s in Holloman Air Force Base on December 20th this year. He estimates that four Phantoms will take part in the event. There will be multiple flybys and some supersonic flying, as well as a Phinal Phantom formation of four F-4s.

The aircraft will also be making several other public appearances this year before this final send off. The most recent plans include just four stops; three of them airshows and one a NASCAR race flyover. As always, and especially with these old jets, the appearances are subject to change at any time due to weather, mechanical issues, or operational scheduling.

16-19 Sep – Reno, NV
23-26 Sep – MCAS Miramar, CA
14-17 Oct – Ft. Worth Alliance, TX
6 Nov – NASCAR Sprint Cup Flyby at Texas Motor Speedway
10-14 Nov – Nellis AFB, NV

Holloman Air Force Base is located near Alamogordo, New Mexico and is home to multiple flight groups such as F-16s of the 54th Fighter Group and the German Air Force Flying Training Center of the German Luftwaffe.

The Phantoms at Holloman Air Force Base are QF-4 Phantom target drones. As of EAA AirVenture 2016, 20 QF-4s remained in inventory. Not all of them will be completely destroyed, but members of the QF-4 program were told that they will need to get rid of the Phantoms one way or another. Once they are gone, the only remaining F-4 Phantom that will be airworthy in the United States is the one owned by the Collings Foundation, which has had mechanical issues for several years.

USAF F-4 PhantomUSAF F-4 Phantom

The date is currently tentative and is subject to change, but the pilots want to get the word out. So mark your calendars; USAF F-4 Phantoms will have one last hurrah in New Mexico before signing off for good this December.

For those who can’t make it, rest assured that AirshowStuff will have plenty of F-4 footage coming, including more exclusive cockpit footage!

Last Surviving Martin Mars – World’s Largest Flying Seaplane – To Appear At EAA AirVenture 2016

posted in: Airshows, Miscellaneous, Warbirds | 2
Martin Mars - EAA Airventure 2016
Photo source: EAA

EAA recently announced that this year, the Martin JRM Mars water bomber will appear for the first time at EAA AirVenture. It will perform during the airshow several times throughout the week and will be parked near the seaplane base for up-close spectator viewing. The aircraft is unable to actually land at Wittman Regional Airport because it is a true flying boat, and will land on Lake Winnebago instead. The Martin Mars is the largest operational seaplane ever made. The largest seaplane of all time, the Spruce Goose, only performed one flight.

Martin Mars - EAA Airventure 2016
Photo source: EAA

The Martin Mars first flew in June of 1942, and entered service with the US Navy as a long-range transport aircraft. Only six were built. During World War II they acted as troop transport aircraft, shuttling soldiers across the Pacific. After the war it was used as a water bomber, fighting forest fires in the Western United States. It is capable of carrying 7,200 gallons of water and ingesting one ton of water per second when it skims over water.

Part of what makes EAA AirVenture so special is its ability to bring in unique aircraft every single year. EAA’s Vice President of Communities and Member Programs, Rick Larson, stated, “There aren’t many airplanes that have never been to Oshkosh, but this is one of them, so this is both literally and figuratively a huge addition to this year’s lineup”. The Martin Mars is, literally, the world’s largest warbird.

EAA Airventure Sea Plane Base - Patrick Barron
EAA AirVenture Sea Plane Base

Shuttle buses to the seaplane base are available from inside the show grounds.

What do you think? Are you excited to see the Martin Mars make its first ever appearance at EAA AirVenture? Let us know what you think in the comments!

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 Photo Albums Uploaded: Over 400 Photos And 50 Videos!

posted in: Airshows, AirshowStuff, Event Recap | 0

Hey AirshowStuff fans, all of our full photo albums from EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 have been updated with over 400 amazing photos to browse through! Check out some sample images below, and click the links to view the complete albums!

EAA AirVenture 2015 – Ryan Sundheimer

View full photo album: EAA AirVenture 2015 – Ryan Sundheimer

EAA AirVenture 2015 – Patrick Barron

View full photo album: EAA AirVenture 2015 – Patrick Barron

EAA AirVenture 2015 – Anthony Richards

View full photo album: EAA AirVenture 2015 – Anthony Richards

EAA AirVenture 2015 – David Jacobson

View full photo album: EAA AirVenture 2015 – David Jacobson

Also, be sure to check out our EAA AirVenture 2015 playlist on our Youtube channel, featuring more than 50 videos from throughout the week!

Photo Albums Uploaded: Thunder Over Michigan 2015, Abbotsford Int’l Airshow 2015, and Battle Creek Airshow 2015

posted in: Airshows, AirshowStuff, Event Recap | 2

New photo albums have gone up in our photo gallery! Check out a preview of each below and then be sure to follow the links to view the full albums.

Thunder Over Michigan Airshow 2015 – Ryan Sundheimer

View full photo album: Thunder Over Michigan Airshow 2015 – Ryan Sundheimer
Thunder Over Michigan Airshow 2015 – Ryan Sundheimer

Abbotsford International Airshow 2015 – Anthony Richards

View full photo album: Abbotsford International Airshow 2015 – Anthony Richards
Abbotsford International Airshow 2015 – Anthony Richards

Battle Creek Airshow 2015 – Ryan Sundheimer

View full photo album: Battle Creek Airshow 2015 – Ryan Sundheimer
Battle Creek Airshow 2015 – Ryan Sundheimer

Restored B-29 Superfortress ‘Doc’ Will Roar To Life This Friday

posted in: Warbirds | 2

Dayton2013_20

According to Warbirds News, the B-29 Superfortress known as ‘Doc’ will have its first engine run this Friday at 8:00 a.m. The event will take place at Air Capital Flightline in Wichita, Kansas. Warbird fans have been eagerly awaiting news of the B-29 ever since its ‘rollout’ announcement back in March.

Once ‘Doc’ becomes airworthy, it will join ‘Fifi’ (pictured above) as the world’s only two airworthy B-29 Superfortresses. ‘Doc’ is very close to its first flight, with Warbirds News detailing the following as of a month ago:

– The aircraft has been partially fueled and checked closely for leaks, with none occurring.

– The fuel system is currently being fine-tuned prior to pressurization and engine start.

– Turbocharger casings are now installed on all four engines.

– Engine exhaust system installations are nearly complete.

– Final avionics components are ready to install, including the intercoms required for ground and air operations.

The event is open to media. AirshowStuff will not be attending, but we will keep you posted!

Visit and ‘Like’ our Facebook page for more updates.

Photo Albums Uploaded: Vectren Dayton Airshow 2015 and US Army Golden Knights Media Flight

posted in: Airshows, AirshowStuff, Event Recap | 0

Three new photo albums have gone up in our photo gallery! Check out a preview of each below and then be sure to follow the links to view the full albums.

Vectren Dayton Airshow 2015 – Patrick Barron

View full photo album: Vectren Dayton Airshow 2015 – Patrick Barron
Vectren Dayton Airshow 2015 - Patrick Barron

Vectren Dayton Airshow 2015 – Ryan Sundheimer

View full photo album: Vectren Dayton Airshow 2015 – Ryan Sundheimer
Vectren Dayton Airshow 2015 - Ryan Sundheimer

Golden Knights Media Flight – Vectren Dayton Airshow 2015 – Patrick Barron

View full photo album: Golden Knights Media Flight – Vectren Dayton Airshow 2015 – Patrick Barron
US Army Golden Knights

[UPDATED] Breaking: Two Parachutists Injured At Chicago Air And Water Show

posted in: Airshows, Parachute Team | 0

UPDATE: There is still not much information available, but speculation is that the jumpers may have collided in mid-air. This would explain both injuries as well as the apparent unconscious state of the jumper that hit the building.

One of the injured jumpers at the Chicago air and Water Show 2015
Source: WGNtv.com

This photo posted by WGNtv.com shows a jumper, identified in the article as a Golden Knight, approaching a building while under an all white canopy. Gwen O’Brien, a witness, is quoted as saying that the jumper had a problem and had to use a reserve parachute. The Golden Knights are known to use all white reserve canopies, and the extra altitude lost while deploying it could explain at least in part why the jumper was so far into the city and away from the beach landing zone.

Both jumpers were transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The Golden Knight is in critical condition and may be in surgery at this time. The Leap Frog’s condition is not considered critical.

ORIGINAL POST: We have received preliminary reports that two parachutists have been involved in incidents during the Chicago Air and Water Show this morning. One is confirmed to be a member of the US Navy Leap Frogs, but it is not known which team the other belongs to. Early indications are that it is a US Army Golden Knight. The two teams were scheduled to perform together, hence the confusion.

At approximately 11:00 a.m., a parachutist described with having a golden parachute crashed into a roof near 1400 Lake Shore Drive before falling to the ground. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, a witness stated “His legs caught the tip of the roof, and then he fell over. It was horrible.” “If he was only one foot closer to the roof, the maintenance guy could’ve grabbed him.” Some are saying that the parachutist appeared unconscious as he hit the roof.

Parachute Incident Scene - Chicago Air and Water Show 2015Photo by Marwa Eltagouri, Chicago Tribune

The incident with a member of the US Navy Leap Frogs also occurred on landing and resulted in the parachutist being treated and taken to a medical center at Northwestern University. Early reports indicate a broken leg.

No firm details on either injury are currently available but are being listed as serious-to-critical condition.

The Many Highlights Of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

posted in: Airshows, Event Recap | 0

F-22 Raptor, F-35 Lightning II, and P-38 Lightning Under Fireworks - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

Another year, another EAA AirVenture in the books! The week-long event at Wittman Regional Airport annually draws in over 10,000 aircraft, from general aviation to warbirds and modern military aircraft. Many people will camp the entire week, either in the nearby campgrounds or even in a tent right under their plane, because there is simply too much to see and do for just a weekend. For aviation enthusiasts young and old, AirVenture is the biggest event of the year.

Skip Stewart - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015USAF Thunderbirds T-38 Talon - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

This year’s event stuck out to many as one of the best in recent years, thanks to the number and magnitude of highlights. The statistics certainly back up this notion; total attendance was approximately 550,000, up two percent from last year. Even more than that, there was a noticeable increase in both aircraft attendance and activity. At one point, only one parking spot was left in the Fightertown section!

With so much going on, let’s dive into some of this year’s highlights!

Airbus’s New A350 XWB

On Monday, a flight-test version of the Airbus A350 XWB (Extra-Wide-Body) gave an impressive display of the aircraft’s flight capabilities. Its tight turns, steep banks, and high rate of climb had spectators on their feet. After its performance, the aircraft was towed to Boeing Plaza for tours of the interior. On Wednesday, it was towed out of the plaza and down to the end of the runway where it gave a second demonstration before returning home. The A350 XWB can carry over 300 passengers nearly 8,000 nautical miles, and is already in service by Qatar Airways and Vietnam Airlines.

Airbus A350 - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015Airbus A350 - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

B-52 in Boeing Plaza

On the Friday before the show, many of the runway lights were taken down to accommodate one of the largest aircraft ever to land at Wittman Regional Airport: the B-52 Stratofortress. While it did not fly in the show, this massive bomber took up a big chunk of space in Boeing Plaza throughout the week, where the pilots and crew gave talks, answered questions, and sold some squadron merchandise. Fun fact: the B-52 is part of the 343rd Bomber Squadron out of Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. This is, coincidentally, the same location as EAA Chapter 343. As a result of this coincidence, special 343 patches commemorating both the base and the chapter were sold in limited supply.

B-52 Stratofortress and B-29 Superfortress - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

The crew even got into the AirVenture spirit by registering the aircraft as a home-built with over 14,000 flight hours and asking for it to be judged. As a result, the B-52 won a special award!

Unfortunately the aircraft did not fly during the event because of the logistics of getting it back to the runway. However, we were there on the following Monday and got the best seat in the house for its departure.

Honoring the Legacy of Burt Rutan

This year, Burt Rutan returned to AirVenture to commemorate the 40th anniversary of his VariEze aircraft design (which first flew in May of 1975). Rutan is famous for his innovative aircraft concepts, such as the use of canards on various general aviation aircraft and also for perhaps his most famous milestone: SpaceShipOne. On Monday, a rare Beechcraft Starship made a special airshow arrival and the next day it joined with various other Rutan designs for a tribute during the show. Tuesday night, the Theater in the Woods featured ‘Garage-to-Garage’, a special presentation that highlighted Rutan’s legacy; 46 different aircraft designs with over 1,000 aircraft in service.

Burt Rutan Tribute - Beechcraft Starship - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015Burt Rutan Tribute - Boomerang - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

Arrival of the F-35 Lightning II

While the USMC version of the F-35 has been giving mini-demonstrations throughout the year at military airshows, AirVenture 2015 marked the first appearance of an F-35 Lightning II at a civilian show. Early Wednesday afternoon, two USAF F-35s from Eglin Air Force Base performed some low approaches before landing, unfortunately without afterburner. One of the pair was soon towed over to Boeing Plaza; setting up a rare opportunity to see it next to not only an F-22 Raptor, but a P-38 Lightning as well! Both stealth jets were kept under tight security with armed guards who kept an eye on the swarms of people surrounding them and taking pictures.

USAF F-35 Lightning II - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015USAF F-35 Lightning II - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

F-100 Super Sabre and F-4 Phantom

These two Vietnam-era jets created their own thunder in the later half of the week. The F-100, currently the only one of its kind flying, makes precious few airshow appearances and had never graced the Oshkosh skies before. Pilot and owner Dean “Cutter” Cutshall flew it in from Fort Wayne, IN and performed twice during the show. The first time was during the Friday warbird show when it flew with the Warbird Heritage Foundation’s A-4 Skyhawk and Jeff Kaney’s MiG-17 Fresco in the “Vietnam jets” segment. The real show, however, was the twilight performance just before sunset on Saturday night. The F-100 is known for its primitive one-stage afterburner that POPS very loudly when first engaged, and Cutter knows just how to show it off for the crowd. In the dim evening sky, the flame trailing the aircraft was even more visible than usual and had aviation fans drooling.

F-100 Super Sabre - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015F-100 Super Sabre - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

The USAF F-4 Phantom II had a similar showing at AirVenture, performing a couple times as well as flying during the Saturday twilight show. This particular F-4 has been modified to fly as an unmanned target drone, making its proper designation QF-4. Several of these QF-4s were given special commemorative paint schemes in recent years and taken to airshows to perform in Heritage Flights alongside current fighters. Sadly many of even the specially painted F-4s have been shot down now as the QF-4 program comes to an end and the similar QF-16 program begins. This, combined with the recent budget cuts, meant that the pilots were not Heritage Flight qualified this year, and so they were only able to perform a solo mini-demonstration. Still, an F-4 twilight demo would be a highlight of any show. Oshkosh may very well prove to be the final public appearance of a military Phantom; if so, it went out in grand style.

USAF F-4 Phantom II - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015USAF F-4 Phantom II - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

Salute to Veterans

Each year, EAA AirVenture hosts an Old Glory Honor Flight, which flies veterans to Washington DC to visit the memorials built in their honor. This year, the flight honored veterans from the Vietnam War. As the American Airlines MD-80 carrying them returned to show center at the conclusion of their special day, it was greeted with a water cannon salute from a pair of firetrucks. A large crowd on onlookers cheered the arrival, and the crowd shifted to the main stage in Boeing Plaza for a ceremony followed by a performance by the Lt. Dan Band (featuring Gary Sinise, best known for his role as Lt. Dan in the movie Forrest Gump). Several Vietnam-era aircraft, including the F-4 Phantom, F-100 Super Sabre, A-4 Skyhawk, OV-10 Mohawk, and A-1 Skyraider were arranged to ring the concert, making the moment even more special.

Vietnam Veterans Tribute - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

Vietnam Veterans Tribute - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015Vietnam Veterans Honor Flight - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

Record-Breaking Sky-Dive Attempt

The Golden Knights will often reference a “traffic jam in the sky” when several of their jumpers are coming in to land, but even their routine is nothing compared to the massive sky-diving attempts that were performed Wednesday and Friday during AirVenture. In an attempt to set the sequential mega-formation world record, 108 skydivers from around the world were divided among 5 jump aircraft. After jumping from 20,000 feet, the group had only 60 seconds to join up and form five different formations before splitting apart. As the jumpers opened their parachutes simultaneously, the sky exploded with canopies; so many that it was clearly audible on the ground thousands of feet below! Although the group made 3 different attempts at the record, they were not successful in the eyes of the judges. However, they did end up setting a Wisconsin state record for largest skydiving formation!

Rare Bombers: B-29 Superfortress and PB4Y-2 Privateer

This year’s show featured the world’s only flying B-29 Superfortress and PB4Y-2 Privateer. Although the B-29 “Fifi” has been in Oshkosh several times in the last few years, it was the first visit for the all silver Privateer. Both flew during the week, making simulated bombing runs with the help of the Tora Bomb Squad pyrotechnics team on the ground. “Fifi” also operated out of Appleton for part of the week, selling rides to passengers alongside EAA’s B-17 Flying Fortress “Aluminum Overcast”.

PB4Y-2 Privateer - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015B-29 Superfortress "Fifi" - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

Roar of the Merlins

Thursday was the day of the legendary Merlin engine. The warbird portion of the show marked the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain by having the Avro Lancaster and de Havilland Mosquito, both powered by Merlins, fly together along with a replica Spitfire. The Lancaster and Mosquito are both one of only two of their type left flying in the world. A second Mosquito was on static display, however it is part of the EAA Museum located on the airport and does not fly. Still, the opportunity to see two side by side was incredible!

Avro Lancaster - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015de Havilland Mosquitos - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

A short time later, no less than 14 P-51 Mustangs taxied out. As they approached the runway, they stopped to perform simultaneous run-ups right in front of the crowd. Talk about goosebumps. They soon launched, mostly in pairs, and the formation-rated pilots in the group joined in three elements of four aircraft to provide high cover before diving in for individual high speed passes. Add it up and that’s twenty Merlins singing together in the skies over Oshkosh!

P-51 Mustangs - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015P-51 Mustangs - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

Same Old AirVenture

Each year EAA AirVenture offers something new; something even fans who have been going for the last 35 years haven’t seen before. But at the same time, EAA AirVenture remains fundamentally the same; a massive gathering of aviation enthusiasts and fans with an unmatched feeling of camaraderie that draws people back every year. From the 10,000+ aircraft that fly in to the 1,000+ forums/workshops and the 800+ exhibitors, AirVenture will always be the world’s biggest aviation destination and that is a worthy highlight in its own right.

USAF F-22 Raptor and Fireworks - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015P-51 Mustang - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

Mass Warbird Formations - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

MiG-17 Fresco - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015USAF Heritage Flight - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015
The 4ce - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015Texas Flying Legends B-25 Mitchell and Zero - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

Heavy Bombers Weekend 2015 – Madison, Wisconsin

posted in: Airshows, Event Recap, Warbirds | 0

B-17 Flying Fortress "Aluminum Overcast" - Heavy Bombers Weekend 2015

Madison, Wisconsin was the place to be this year for those who wanted to see some warbirds just before EAA AirVenture 2015. Featuring over a dozen rare and unique World War II aircraft, Heavy Bombers Weekend offered fans a great up-close view of aircraft including the B-29 Superfortress, B-17 Flying Fortress, T-6 Texan, and P-51 Mustang. The majority of the aircraft stopped at Dane County Regional Airport on their way to Oshkosh from points all around the country, creating quite an assorted gaggle of types.

As the doors opened at 9:00 am on Friday, fans began trickling in and, in many cases, headed straight for the B-29 Superfortress, “Fifi”. Fifi is currently the only flying B-29 Superfortress in the world (pending the flight readiness of ‘Doc’, another B-29 that is being restored). Others formed a line to go on a tour through EAA’s B-17 “Aluminum Overcast”. Rides could be purchased in most of the aircraft, ranging from the T-6 to the P-51 to the B-29. Some were not offering rides but were selling merchandise. A few small booths also offered food, drinks, and trinkets. The event continued Saturday and Sunday.

B-17 Flying Fortress "Aluminum Overcast" Sunset - Heavy Bombers Weekend 2015B-17 Flying Fortress "Aluminum Overcast" - Heavy Bombers Weekend 2015

Make no mistake, the event is not an airshow. Regular traffic at the busy airfield continued throughout the day and the only flights were done for the passengers. Luckily, the B-17, T-6, and P-51 were kept busy with rides throughout the day; even more flights took place over the weekend. Any break in the warbird traffic was filled by airliners and general aviation aircraft. Several UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from the National Guard base on the other side of the field flew throughout the day. Eventually EAA’s Ford Trimotor, which had been kept away by dismal weather the day before, arrived and started offering the cheapest rides of the event. Unfortunately, it blew an engine after just a few flights and had to be tucked away for repairs. Perhaps the biggest arrival of the day was the PB4Y-2 Privateer, the last of its kind still flying today. The PB4Y-2 is a naval patrol version of a B-24 Liberator, with a single tail configuration rather than the original twin tail. It served as a patrol bomber during World War II and the Korean War and will be a major attraction at AirVenture in the days to come.

B-17, B-29, PB4Y-2 - Heavy Bombers Weekend 2015

The volunteers did a tremendous job of organizing the event. EAA Chapter 93 provided the volunteers to monitor the ramp and keep spectators off of the active portion. Wisconsin Aviation allowed the use of their impressive facilities, even while dealing with the normal aircraft traffic. The ramp was kept active, but spectators were given plenty of space and time to wander among the aircraft. Many of the crew were nearby to answer questions and swap stories.

Stearman Sunset - Heavy Bombers Weekend 2015B-29 Superfortress "Fifi" - Heavy Bombers Weekend 2015

Although the event closed at 5:00 pm, AirshowStuff was allowed on the ramp at sunset and into the night for a special photo shoot. We need to thank Pete Buffington, Jeff Davis, and Wisconsin Aviation for this incredible opportunity!

B-17 Flying Fortress "Aluminum Overcast" Star Trails - Heavy Bombers Weekend 2015B-29 Superfortress "Fifi" Star Trails - Heavy Bombers Weekend 2015

B-29 Superfortress "Fifi" Star Trails - Heavy Bombers Weekend 2015

Photo Albums Uploaded: Rockford Airfest 2015

posted in: Airshows, AirshowStuff, Event Recap | 0

Two new photo albums have gone up in our photo gallery! Check out a preview of each below and then be sure to follow the links to view the full albums.

Rockford Airfest 2015 – Patrick Barron

View full photo album: Rockford Airfest 2015 – Patrick Barron
US Navy Blue Angels Wall of Fire - Rockford Airfest 2015

Rockford Airfest 2015 – Ryan Sundheimer

View full photo album: Rockford Airfest 2015 – Ryan Sundheimer
US Navy Blue Angels - Rockford Airfest 2015

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