A new album is now available in our photo gallery! Check it out here: America’s Freedom Fest (Goshen, IN) 2017 – Ryan Sundheimer
Also be sure to check out our videos from the show on our Youtube playlist:
Also be sure to check out our videos from the show on our Youtube playlist:
Air Mobility Command has restructured their biennial exercise, formerly known as Air Mobility Rodeo (which last took place in 2011), into a new mission-focused exercise called Mobility Guardian. Originally a competitive event that challenged the best of United States Air Force and international teams in various mission-based competitions, Mobility Guardian has shifted to focus on training up new aircrews to be as versatile as other veteran forces. The event took place from July 31 to August 12, 2017 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, WA.
Mobility Guardian’s events are setup to be some of the most realistic, real-world, scenario-driven events AMC has undertaken yet. The exercise is designed to allow forces to develop and improve techniques and procedures that enhance air mobility operations and interoperability between US and allied forces. These include training for airlift, air refueling, aeromedical evacuation, and mobility support missions. This becomes especially important given that whether the nation is at war or in peacetime, the mobility units are constantly at work helping either the war effort or humanitarian missions, if not both simultaneously.
In an article by the 62nd Airlift Wing, Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Mobility Guardian Director Lt. Col. Daniel DeYoung said “Mobility Guardian provides us an opportunity to ‘train like we fight’ alongside our joint and international partners.” “It is a completely new exercise meant to enhance mobility partnerships and test the full spectrum of capabilities Air Mobility Command provides the nation.”
“Whereas Rodeo incentivized units to take their best performers from across the Air Force Specialty Code spectrum—operators, maintainers, medical and support Airmen—and give them extra ‘top-off’ training to prepare for the competition, Mobility Guardian participants will by design be the ‘average’ Airman, who will be tested to employ his or her skills to accomplish the mission laid out in the exercise scenario.”
Numerous nations came to observe and participate in the launch of this new exercise, with a handful bringing their own aircraft. The Royal Canadian Air Force dedicated a pair of their CC-130J Super Hercules’, while the Pāk Fizāʾiyah (Pakistan Air Force/PAF), Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF), Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), and Luchtcomponent (Belgian Air Component) flew in their C-130 Hercules aircraft, and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) brought their C-17 Globemaster IIIs and an Airbus KC-30A Voyager. The Royal Air Force (RAF) and Armée de l’air (French Air Force) both brought their latest aircraft, the Airbus A400M Atlas. Participating AMC units flew their C-130s, C-130J-30s, C-17s, KC-10 Extenders, and KC-135 Stratotankers from JBLM.
Other US military units participated in the aerial refueling training. Those include A-10 Thunderbolt IIs of the 124th Fighter Wing, Gowen Field Air National Guard Base, Idaho; US Navy E/A-18G Growlers of VA-129, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington.; F-15C Eagles of the 142nd FW, Portland Air National Guard Base, Oregon; F-16C Fighting Falcons and F-35 Lightning IIs assigned to Hill AFB, Utah; F-15E Strike Eagles of Mountain Home AFB, Idaho; and Air Force Global Strike Command B-2 Spirit and B-52 Stratofortress bombers.
According to Team McChord’s summary article, aircrews flew roughly 1,200 hours in eight days, finishing nearly 650 sorties. Tanker aircraft offloaded roughly 1.2 million pounds of fuel, aerial port personnel processed 3,676 passengers and 4,911 tons of equipment; and crews airdropped 356 paratroopers, 33 heavy platforms and nearly 300 Container Delivery System bundles.
We’d like to thank Air Mobility Command, the 62nd Airlift Wing, and Capt. Jacob Bailey for allowing us to come and tour the exercise at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
The biennial Lethbridge International Air Show returned in 2017 as a highlight worth catching in Southern Alberta and Western Canada. With a full list of performers of all types and a static display that was impressive to say the least, the July 15-16 weekend was well spent in Lethbridge.
Friday’s schedule started late to allow for a twilight show, something which is thankfully becoming more common. The show began with the United States Army Golden Knights jumping in at the start of golden hour. Shortly after they landed, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds took to the skies for yet another excellent performance, even with one ship missing. With light fading, the Canadian Air Force CC-177 Globemaster III powered down the runway and bolted into the sky. Geoff Latter in his Nanchang CJ-6 “Nancy” followed, then the United States Air Force’s A-10 Thunderbolt II “Warthog” mini-demo with some up-close and impressive pyro. Canada’s own Pete McLeod of Red Bull Air Racing fame tumbled through the sky just before Mark Peterson in his Dornier AlphaJet demonstrated how high-performance a non-afterburning jet can be. Greg “Wired” Colyer in his T-33 Shooting Star “Ace Maker II” kept it low and fast ahead of Jerry Conley in his beautiful de Havilland DH-115 Vampire “Vampy ‘Too’.” Just before the sun began to set, the Golden Knights fit in their full routine.
The highlight of the show was certainly the last demo, and one the crowds were waiting for: the CF-18 Hornet. The Hornet, with afterburners lighting up the runway, burnt a trail across the then night sky. Before finishing his routine, Bill Braack in the Smoke-N-Thunder Jetcar took to the runway and challenged the Hornet to a race, of which the outcome was undetermined by most spectators due to the enormous and impressive wall of fire that lit the grounds and sky as they crossed the finished line.
While the flying had finished and most were filing out of the show, a smaller, less-appreciated setting had been set on the static display. Folks on their way off of the airport were treated to the numerous aircraft on the static line lit up by large, portable lights, providing a unique and often unseen view as the last bit of light faded from the day into the dark.
This was the first and only day to show the full line-up of performers in the light of day. Attendance was noticeably high, despite the winds and approaching weather that persisted throughout the day. Nearly all performers were able to fit in their routines without issue. The Golden Knights were able to complete their first jump (which we were graciously allowed to observe from the aircraft), but unable to finish their second due to the winds. This prompted Transport Canada to monitor the approaching storm, and once it closed within 1 km, the show was postponed for a mandatory evacuation of the grounds. Shortly after, lightning struck the end of the runway. By then, the NOTAM set to secure the airspace for the performers was too near its end to continue the show, and the decision was made to cancel the remainder of the acts (CF-18 and Snowbirds).
With the same hours as the full show, but with select performances, the mini-show was intended to give first-time attendees a taste of what an air show is like. The winds were still high throughout the day, resulting in the Golden Knights cancelling their demo that afternoon. The acts that did still take the sky included the CC-177, T-33, AlphaJet, Vampire, A-10, CAF Snowbirds, CJ-6, and CF-18.
Certainly the aerial performers were worth the admission, but just as equally the static displays that attended proved worthwhile. All of the aircraft on the website’s listing of confirmed attendees showed up except the Transport Canada National Aerial Surveillance Dash 8. In a surprise filling of the Dash 8’s vacancy, a US Navy E-6B Mercury airborne command post and communications relay aircraft from Tinker AFB, Oklahoma came to the show. Additionally, a Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 from 410 Tactical Fighter Operational Training Squadron, nicknamed the “Cougars,” with a special 75th anniversary painted tail joined the many heavies on the line. The show had a total of three C-17s on display, with one from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, Altus AFB, Oklahoma, and a CC-177 from CFB Trenton, Ontario.
With a few hiccups throughout the weekend due to weather and other elements out of the show’s control, the 2017 Lethbridge International Air Show was able to impress with a stellar line-up of performers and a static display most shows would envy. We at AirshowStuff would like the thank the Lethbridge International Air Show Association and its volunteers for putting on this year’s show. We’d also like to thank Kim and Trina Tymko of Prime Rentals Ltd. for their sponsorship of the air show and help in coordinating our visit. We look forward to seeing you all again in 2019!
The countdown to AirVenture is getting shorter with each passing minute! We’re celebrating with our favorite videos from previous years. Each year, AirVenture brings together such a diverse mix of aircraft, performers, and fans. There is really no other event like it in the world!
Here are our 20 favorite videos from EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016! If you want to skip ahead, just go ahead and check out our EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016 playlist that features all 49 of our videos from the show.
As we continue to count down to EAA AirVenture, we’re going back through some of our videos from previous years and, no surprise, finding some incredible moments. Each year, AirVenture brings together such a diverse mix of aircraft, performers, and fans. There is really no other event like it in the world!
Here are our 20 favorite videos from EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015! If you want to skip ahead, just go ahead and check out our EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 playlist that features all 65(!) of our videos from the show.
Oshkosh will be here before we know it! Soon, the skies of Wisconsin will be filled with planes and the grounds will be filled with, well, more planes! People too! A lots of them! Check out some of the expected items at this year’s show.
The 2014 airshow marked the first time a US military jet demonstration team performed at Oshkosh. Performing Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the USAF Thunderbirds soared through the skies of Oshkosh in their famous red, white and blue F-16 Fighting Falcons. While this was a popular performance, it also forced the normal Oshkosh crowd line back a bit.
Matt Younkin was kind enough to take our cameras for a ride during his daytime Twin Beech Aerobatic demonstration at the 2014 show. We have two videos from that flight- one in the cockpit and one looking out over the wing. Check out both views below!
AirshowStuff also obtained a unique view of Kyle Franklin’s “Dracula” performance when we put a camera in the cockpit of Kyle’s plane.
One of the best things about Oshkosh is the variety of warbirds that perform each and every afternoon in the airshow. The 2014 show featured jets, radials, and much more!
The weather of Oshkosh can also provide a bit of a tricky landing situation for pilots. Check out several of our “Gusty Crosswind Landings” videos by watching the playlist below.
If you want even more Oshkosh, you can settle in for an hour and a half of action with our mega-compilation!
Here’s a few more of our photos from the 2014 show. You can find many more photos in our gallery!
After entering World War I on the 6th of April 1917, the United States’ participation in Europe led down a path of air power that resulted in our current day United States Air Force. On 5 May 1918, the American Expeditionary Force in Europe activated the 1st Pursuit Group at Gencoult, France. Commanded by Major Bert M. Atkinson, this unit was the first American group-level fighter organization and is now known as the 1st Fighter Wing, the Air Force’s oldest Wing. The 1st Pursuit Group consisted of five Aero Squadrons: 27th, 94th, 95th, 147th, and 185th. Of these five, the 27th and the 94th remain part of the wing to this day, and ensure air dominance with their F-22 Raptors.
During combat throughout Europe, the pilots of the 1st Pursuit Group conducted over 1,400 aerial engagements and accumulated 202 confirmed aerial victories. The 27th Aero Squadron’s 2nd Lieutenant Frank Luke Jr. achieved 18 aerial victories before he was shot down and killed while engaging the enemy on the ground on 29 September 1918. For his actions, Luke received the Air Force’s first ever Medal of Honor. The 94th Fighter Squadron’s Captain Eddie Rickenbacker achieved 26 aerial victories, more than any other American pilot in WWI. While on patrol on 25 September 1918, Rickenbacker engaged seven enemy planes on his own, destroying two, and was later awarded the Medal of Honor for his gallantry against the enemy. On 10 November 1918, the day before the war ended, Major Maxwell Kirby of the 94th Aero Squadron recorded the last aerial victory of WWI. Throughout the war, the 1st Pursuit Group remained constantly engaged with the enemy in the skies over the battlefields and earned eight campaign credits.
It was during WWI that the Air Forces of the three countries participating in Atlantic Trident 2017, namely the US, France, and Great Britain, began building a relationship that has lasted 100 years. The 27th Aero Squadron’s origins are tied closely to the Royal Flying Corps of the British Army. The 27th received its advanced aerial training from British instructors in Canada before deploying to Europe. In addition, the commander of the squadron when they entered the war was Major Harold E. Hartney, a former Royal Flying Corps veteran who had already flown in combat and been shot down by Baron Manfred von Richthofen. The British cultural influence and training helped make the 27th one of the most lethal American squadrons during the war with 56 confirmed aerial victories.
Atlantic Trident 2017 is not only a multi-national training exercise but a celebration of the alliance the UK, France, and United States maintain. The 2017 exercise includes French Rafales, Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4s from the UK, as well as home-based F-22 Raptors, F-35As from Eglin AFB in Florida, and F-15E Strike Eagles from Mountain Home AFB in Idaho. The Strike Eagles got the opportunity to team up with Langley T-38 Talons to serve as the bad guys, or “red air”.
To help commemorate this anniversary, the base hosted a media day and small airshow during the exercise. The morning consisted of a USAF F-22 Raptor demonstration followed by a French Air Force Rafale demonstration. The Patrouille de France finished it up with their aerobatic performance. Following the demonstrations, we were given the chance to interview the crews from the demonstrations and then visit the alert hangars for a static display that included all the exercise aircraft. The day finished up with a mass launch of 24 aircraft for the only planned sortie of the day; quite a lot of military metal in the skies over eastern Virginia!
We would like to extend our gratitude to Jeff Hood, Maj. Whitlatch and everyone at the 633d Air Base Wing, Joint Base Langley-Eustis for going above and beyond to make this day happen.
Photos courtesy of guest contributor Andy Backowski.
In mid-April, the famed Red Bull Air Race World Championship returned to San Diego, California. Racers from all over the world descended on Browns Field and San Diego Bay for a chance to claim a win in the second race of the 2017 season. For many, the weeekend would be filled with one upset after another as pilots broke in new aircraft and faced fierce competition.
Created in 2003, the Red Bull Air Race World Championship celebrated its landmark 75th race at the 2017 season opener in Abu Dhabi back in February. The Red Bull Air Race World Championship features the world’s best aerobatic race pilots in a pure motorsport competition that combines speed, precision, and skill. Using the fastest, most agile, and lightweight racing planes, pilots hit speeds of 230 mph while enduring forces of up to 10G as they navigate a low-level slalom track marked by 82-foot-high, air-filled pylons. From 2011-2013, the annual races were on hold as new safety improvements were put into place. In 2014, the Challenger Cup was conceived to help the next generation of pilots develop the skills needed for potential advancement to the Master Class that vies for the World Championship.
Typically flown on weekends, the event begins with a training day where pilots are required to fly two training flights through the course before the knock-out style races begin. This not only gives the pilots an introduction to what flying the course will be like, but the times set by each racer in the last training session determine the order in which they will fly during the qualifying races the following day,a sort of pre-qualifying. The order begins with the slowest pilot and ends with the fastest.
In qualifying, the racers are given two flying sessions to place for the finals. The best overall time of the two sessions is counted towards Race Day.
On race day, all racers go through another two sessions and the times from those determine the 14th through 9th placings. The remaining eight top placing racers then advance to the finals the next day.
The finals begin with the Round of Eight that determines the 8th through 5th placings. The four fastest racers then go on to duel for the 4th through 1st positions.
At the end of each race event, Championship Points are awarded to the pilots based on their placings as such:
Red Bull describes the race course setup in this way:
As many of the stops on the World Championship calendar are classed as exotic, pilots often have to battle against the elements, with extreme heats, shifting winds and harsh storms always a possibility. As a result, no two Red Bull Air Races are ever the same.
On average, the racetracks measure approximately 6km in length and are marked by race-bespoke Air Gates. The unique inflatable pylons, which form the Air Gates and define the racetrack, were first developed in 2002 and have evolved year-on-year into the sophisticated design currently used.
When the track is designed it consists of the Start/Finish Gate, three or four two-pylon gates, which the pilots have to fly straight and level between and a chicane that comprises of three individual pylons that pilots will have to bank around. At one end of the course a Vertical Turning Maneuver is included. This is where the pilots have to fly through the gate, then turn as quickly and efficiently as possible without pulling more than 10G in their raceplane and then fly towards the next gate. On average there will be five straight and level gates (where up to two could be for Vertical Turning Maneuvers) and a three-pylon chicane.
Deviations from these requirements result in time penalties of varying severity. More serious infractions result in Did Not Finish (DNF) or disqualified (DQ) scores. Penalties are categorized as:
One Second Penalty
Two Second Penalty
Three Second Penalty
Did Not Finish
More than 20,000 spectators lined San Diego Bay on Saturday, April 15 as the reigning Red Bull Air Race World Champion battled with two fierce opponents – the man who currently leads the standings and an American in his home race – for the top spot in qualifying at the second stop of 2017. As the pilots raced at speeds of 230mph, American Michael Goulian (58.978) was right on the tail of defending titleholder Matthias Dolderer of Germany, who came out on top with a time of 58.332. Czech Republic’s Martin Šonka (58.980) finished in third. In the Challenger Class, one of the youngest pilots in the history of Red Bull Air Race, American Kevin Coleman, topped the timesheet at 1:09.905.
Dolderer was the dominant force of the 2016 season, winning the second stop of the year and going on to clinch the championship even before the season finale. But it was Šonka who claimed the race win at the 2017 season opener in Abu Dhabi to put himself at the head of the overall standings for the first time in his career. Goulian, whose last win was in 2009, seems to be flying with renewed confidence this season. Another American, two-time titleholder Kirby Chambliss, was sixth in San Diego qualifying.
On Sunday April 16, the final races took place and one upset followed another. Yoshihide “Yoshi” Muroya of Japan was the only pilot with the consistency to reach the top of the podium with a time of 58.529. Peter Podlunšek from Slovenia stunned the field in capturing second place in his first-ever Final 4, two seconds behind Muroya at 1:00.454. Dolderer was third after a pylon hit, and American Kirby Chambliss finished fourth.
Earning 15 World Championship points with the victory, Muroya jumped up 10 places in the overall standings, to third behind Šonka (21 points) and Dolderer (16). The result was especially meaningful because the next stop of the season is in Muroya’s home skies of Chiba, Japan – where he earned his first Red Bull Air Race win in 2016.
“I’m quite happy. We had a very hard time at the season opener in Abu Dhabi, and we’ve been working really hard for months,” said Muroya, who had an over-G penalty at the 2017 kickoff. “My crew and my family have been helping a lot to help us get more stable and consistent, and I thank them. The next race in Japan is going to be a big one, and it’s an important step forward to win here as I head to my home country. It’s a huge crowd and pressure for me, but I will have fun there.”
In the day’s earlier action, 2016 Challenger Cup winner Florian Bergér of Germany earned his first Challenger Class win of the season.
The rankings following the San Diego races are as follows:
Tickets for the 2017 Red Bull Air Race World Championship – including the third stop, an exciting return to Chiba, Japan on 3-4 June, are on sale now. For more information on tickets and all the latest, visit www.redbullairrace.com.
We at AirshowStuff would like to thank Lora Bodmer of Deep Communications for Red Bull in San Diego for allowing us to cover these exciting races and Red Bull GmbH for putting on this incredible series year after year!
The Patrouille de France performed the first airshow routine of their North American tour this past weekend, and we were there to capture it! Check out this video of their entire show on the Friday practice day at the Melbourne Air and Space Show in Florida. Melbourne is one of just a handful of stops the team will make on their whirlwind tour through the US and Canada this month, and marks the first US performance by the team in more than 30 years.
The routine is a little shorter than those of the US Navy Blue Angels and US Air Force Thunderbirds, but contains all of the same exciting elements – formation aerobatics, opposing flybys, and nonstop action. Because the Patrouille perform with eight jets instead of six, they can put together some larger formations and utilize multiple groups of aircraft in a similar fashion to the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, who perform with nine CT-114 Tutors. The French team also makes use of red- and blue-colored smoke, which might not sound like much but adds to the performance significantly and is a rare sight here in the US.
As a special treat, the team’s Airbus A400M Atlas support aircraft also took to the skies for a few flybys. It is accompanying the team all throughout their tour to transport their crew and equipment, and can also serve as a photo platform during their planned flyovers of US landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty and New York City. This marked the first ever airshow performance by an A400M in the US and although it is far from the maximum performance company demonstration, it was an exciting addition to the lineup! You can check it out in the video below.
That’s right, our annual EAA AirVenture Oshkosh mega-compilation video is up, and this year it is nearly six hours long! This video combines all of our ground footage from the show into one long masterpiece, sure to please any aviation fan. The videos are in roughly sequential order, so you start out with the chaos of mass aircraft arrivals on the Sunday before the show. As the week progresses you’ll see more arrivals, portions of the airshow, and then mass departures as everyone reluctantly bids Wittman Regional Airport farewell and heads home.
Airshow performances include the US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon demonstration team, the USAF Heritage Flight, the US Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet demonstration, the arrival of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, a Martin Mars water drop, the final Oshkosh appearance of USAF F-4 Phantom IIs, flybys from a USAF U-2 Dragon Lady, F-15 Eagle, and A-10 Warthogs, massive warbird formations and exciting flybys, the Tora! Tora! Tora! Pearl Harbor reenactment, the arrival and departure of a massive C-5M Super Galaxy, the Oshkosh seaplane base on Lake Winnebago, a maximum performance departure of the Cathay-Pacific 747-8 freighter “Hong Kong Trader”, and much more!
Find a comfortable chair and settle in to watch the video above! You can also view each video individually, as well as special on-board videos from the show, using our EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016 video playlist. Enjoy!