Vucano Market - US Navy Blue Angels Towels (Officially Licensed)
Vucano Market - US Navy Blue Angels Towels (Officially Licensed)

ATC Privatization Threatens The Airshow Community

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ATC Privatization Threatens the Airshow Community

Pending legislation in Congress would pose a threat to the airshow community.

If this legislation becomes law, authority for managing airspace in the US would be transferred from the US Government to a nonprofit board, disproportionately made up of airline representatives and other officials with financial ties to the airlines.

This form of ATC privatization is a bad idea and will create significant challenges for airshow event organizers and performers if it becomes law, including increased prices, difficulty getting airspace access, and a host of other problems that would make airshows more expensive and more difficult to organize. Some shows might even go out of business entirely.

This poses a threat to the airshows we all love and support. The time has come to act. The International Council of Airshows (ICAS) and airshow performers are encouraging airshow fans to contact their local congressmen or congresswoman and express their concerns.

Call 855-265-9002 to be connected to a switchboard which can then connect you to your local representative.

You can also find the name and contact information for your congressman or congresswoman by clicking here. You may write your own email message or letter to your congressional representative, or you can use one of several different sample letters that ICAS has generated for this purpose here, here, here, here, here, and here. If you’d prefer to call your congressional representative, that’s helpful too. If you would like to educate yourself on the elaborate fictions the airlines and other advocates for this scheme have constructed to promote the idea, click here.

Celebrate The 4th Of July With These Photos Of Fireworks And Airplanes!

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B-29 Superfortress "Fifi" Fireworks

Happy 4th of July! Over the years, AirshowStuff’s photographers have had the opportunity to capture many fantastic fireworks displays at airshows and special events around the country.

Here are just a few of our favorite photos!

B-24 Liberator FireworksC-17 Globemaster III Fireworks

Canadian Snowbirds Fireworks

F-4 Phantom FireworksB-29 Superfortress "Fifi" Fireworks

F-22, F-35, and P-38 Fireworks

If you’re interested in a behind the scenes look at how the crew at DTG Pyrotechnics sets up their EAA AirVenture Oshkosh fireworks display, check out our blog post from 2015.

F-22 Raptor Fireworks

P-51 Mustang FireworksF-22 Raptor Fireworks

Of course, at airshows, fireworks aren’t just shot from the ground! They’re shot off of airplanes too!

Fireworks

Gene Soucy FireworksGene Soucy Fireworks

P-51 Mustang Fireworks

Otto the Helicopter Fireworks

V-22 Osprey and B-17 Flying Fortress Fireworks

Haven’t had enough fireworks? Search for fireworks on our photo gallery! There’s plenty more pictures over there!

Colorado Highway Named In Honor Of Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, Blue Angel #6

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Colorado Highway Renamed Jeff Kuss Memorial Highway
Courtesy: CDOT/Navy

A new sign now stands as an honor to fallen Blue Angel #6. Colorado Highway 3 just outside of Durango has been renamed as the Capt. Jeff Kuss Memorial Highway in honor of the Marine pilot. The announcement comes nearly a year after the tragic accident in Smyrna, TN in which Kuss lost his life.

The resolution, brought forward by Rep. Barbara McLachlan who represents the district of Durango where Kuss resided, was formally read before the chambers of the Legislature of Colorado and passed in both the House and Senate with all members joining as co-sponsors. McLachlan said that she sees the resolution as “a tribute to Kuss, his family, and veterans across the state.”

Five members of Kuss’ family who live in Colorado were present in the House of Legislature for the announcement of the resolution.

The town of Smyrna, TN, where the accident occurred is also working to honor Kuss by building a memorial. They have raised half of the expected $1 million cost of the memorial but help is needed to complete the project. Click here for more information on how you can help.

Smyrna, Tennessee Announces Memorial For Fallen Blue Angel Capt. Jeff Kuss

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Blue Angel Captain Jeff Kuss Memorial - Smyrna, TN
Photo courtesy of the town of Smyrna

The mayor of Smyrna, Tennessee announced plans today for a memorial to Blue Angels pilot Capt. Jeff “Kooch” Kuss, who was killed in a crash while preparing for the Great Tennessee Airshow in the city last June. The memorial will feature a retired F/A-18 Hornet in Blue Angel colors, on loan from the National Naval Aviation Museum in the Blue Angels’ home town of Pensacola, Florida.

Captain Jeff Kuss - Blue Angel 6

Kuss was a Captain in the US Marine Corps, and flew as Blue Angel #7 in 2015 and Blue Angel #6 in 2016. The team was flying a practice performance in Smyrna last June when Kuss attempted to perform a Split-S on takeoff. A Navy investigation into the crash found that he entered the maneuver too low and too fast, and impacted the ground near the airport. He left behind a wife and two kids. The report led to a mandatory rest period for the team every two months.

Mayor Mary Esther Reed outlined the memorial plans at a press conference that was streamed live online. She described Kuss as an American hero and explained that citizens wanted to see him honored. The city featured many impromptu tributes to him in the hours and days following the crash. Around half of the expected $1 million cost of the memorial has been raised already, but help is need to complete the project. You can donate to the memorial by visiting www.CaptJeffKussUSMCMemorial.com

Kyle Franklin Awarded 2017 Bill Barber Award For Showmanship

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Kyle Franklin Awarded 2017 Bill Barber Award for Showmanship

Join us in congratulating Kyle Franklin, the 2017 recipient of the Bill Barber Award for Showmanship! The news announced tonight on his Facebook page.

Over his airshow career, Kyle has done it all – Wing-walking, motorcycle to airplane transfers, a comedy routine, stunt driving and high energy aerobatics. Today, he delights airshow crowds in his one of a kind biplane known as Dracula, an aircraft he and his father envisioned many years ago.

Kyle’s recognition comes 28 years after his father, Jimmy Franklin, received the same recognition. Kyle and Jimmy are the second father-son duo to receive the award; Bobby and Matt Younkin also have that honor.

Presented annually by World Airshow News and friends and family of the late Bill Barber, air show performer extraordinaire, the award recognizes an air show entertainer who has demonstrated superb showmanship ability. Past recipients compose the selection committee.

Previous award winners include:
2016 Manfred Radius
2015 Bob Carlton
2014 Greg Koontz
2013 Skip Stewart
2012 Matt Younkin
2011 Rich and Dee Gibson
2010 Steve Oliver and Suzanne Asbury-Oliver
2009 Mike Goulian
2008 Bud Granley
2007 Dacy Family Airshow Team (Dave, Phil, Julia, and Susan Dacy and Tony Kazian)
2006 Danny Clisham
2005 Kent and Warren Pietsch
2004 Bobby Younkin
2003 Jim LeRoy
2002 AeroShell Aerobatic Team
2001 Northern Lights Aerobatic Team
2000 John Mohr
1999 Dan Buchanan
1998 Patty Wagstaff
1997 Gene Soucy & Teresa Stokes
1996 Wayne Handley
1995 Bob Hoover
1994 Bob & Annette Hosking (Otto)
1993 Red Baron Stearman Squadron (Steve Thompson, John Bowman, Sonny Lovelace, Randy Drake, and Jerry & Margaret Van Kempen)
1992 Sean D. Tucker
1991 Julie Clark
1990 Leo Loudenslager
1989 Jim Franklin
1988 No recipient
1987 The French Connection (Daniel Heligoin & Montaine Mallet)

The award will be formally presented in a special evening ceremony on Tuesday, July 25th at Theater in the Woods at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.

Share your congratulations message to Kyle on our Facebook page!

Officially Licensed US Navy Blue Angel Beach Towels (Sponsored)

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US Navy Blue Angels Beach Towel - Vulcano America

We here at Airshowstuff would like to welcome our newest sponsor – Vulcano America!

Vulcano is the only source for officially licensed US Navy Blue Angel beach towels! They offer these high-quality towels on their own website as well as other internet outlets such as Amazon, eBay, and Overstock.com.

These towels are the best way to show off your love of the Blue Angels during one of the many beach airshows this year! Two sizes are available, each with a design depicting the famous blue and gold jets. We’ll be promoting them with a small banner above our blog posts – make sure you snag one before hitting the beach this summer!

Please join us in thanking Vulcano America for their support. AirshowStuff is run by a small group of passionate aviation fans in our free time, and support like this allows us to continue bringing you awesome videos, photos, and news items! If you’re interested in sponsoring some of our efforts, please let us know!

US Navy Blue Angels Beach Towel - Vulcano America

NBC Sports to Broadcast Red Bull Air Race

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Red Bull Air Race on NBC Sports
Red Bull Air Race fans rejoice! Qualifying and racing segments of the Red Bull Air Race 2017 season debut in Abu Dhabi will be available for viewing on the networks of NBC Sports.

The qualifying rounds will be available LIVE starting at 7am eastern on Friday, February 10th via the NBC Sports App available for Apple and Android. You can also view it on your PC by going to NBCSports.com .

Saturday’s racing can be seen on the TV network NBCSN at 9:30pm eastern, Saturday night.

RedBullAirRace.com will also host a live web stream starting at 7am eastern on Friday and 5am eastern on Saturday.

ICAS Recognizes Airshow Industry Leaders And Innovators At 2016 Awards Banquet

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Bill Stein - Sword of Excellence Winner

While the annual International Council of Airshows convention is a place for performers, organizers, and support staff to meet and coordinate the following show season, it also offers a chance to reflect on previous seasons and recognize standout individuals and groups. The event culminates in an awards banquet where airshow professionals celebrate their own with their highest honors.

At this year’s banquet on December 8th, several airshow performers were honored with distinguished awards.

SWORD OF EXCELLENCE – Bill Stein

The airshow industry’s highest honor is the Sword of Excellence, presented to a member who exemplifies outstanding service and personal contributions to the industry. Over the past three decades, 40 recipients have been honored with the award. The selection committee for the award is made up of a member of the board of directors, two past award recipients and two at-large members with at least 10 years of airshow experience.

Bill has worked over the years to enhance the airshow industry by working with ICAS and the FAA to develop “reasonable, workable language on ‘aerobatic energy directed at the crowd,’ and certification currency requirements.”

As a member of the Aerobatic Competency Evaluation (ACE) Committee for nearly seven years, Bill’s work has been incredibly helpful creating guidance responsible for decreasing fatal airshow incidents through the ICAS ACE Manual.

ICAS also says they decided to honor Bill due to his extensive mentorship time with new air show pilots, helping to coach them through his experiences as both a solo pilot and a formation pilot.

Geico Sktypers - Art Scholl Showmanship Award

ART SCHOLL MEMORIAL SHOWMANSHIP AWARD – Geico Skytypers

The Art Scholl Memorial Showmanship award is given to an airshow act or performer that best exemplifies the qualities of showmanship demonstrated by Art Scholl. Scholl was a long-time and active ICAS member, known for his airshow performances but also for his many appearances in motion picture films, documentaries, and television commercials. Scholl died while filming such a flying sequence for a movie off the coast of California in 1985.

The Geico Skytypers were awarded ICAS’ highest showmanship award at the 2016 ICAS convention for not only their work in the air, but also for creating new and innovative ways to share the love of aviation and airshow flying with the public.

The team, based in Farmingdale, NY, is a six-ship WWII-era SNJ-2 (T-6 Texan) formation team, known for their formation flying and aerial skytyping. The large messages they type in the sky are 1,000 feet tall and can be visible for up to 15 miles in any direction. Due to this extreme visibility, ICAS credits the Geico Skytypers with generating interest in people who may not even know an aviation event is occurring in their community.

On the ground, the Skytypers maintain a strong community outreach effort, sharing their passion for aviation with airshow fans through autograph sessions, school, youth and veterans visits and spending time with community groups. The team also has it’s “In-Formation” webisode series, which gives a unique perspective into the world of airshow formation flying.

WINGMAN AWARD – Rudy Malnati

The Wingman award, renamed this year to honor and recognize the late Bob Hoover, is presented each year to an individual who has been a reliable supporter or advocate of the airshow business.

The International Council of Air Shows (ICAS)’s Wingman Award was presented to Rudy Malnati. Rudy is the long-time director of several Midwest airshows, including the Chicago Air and Water Show. He has spent 50 years working in the airshow industry, and first worked at the Chicago Air and Water Show in 1963 as a first grader! He attended his first ICAS meeting in 1967, at the ripe age of 13. By 15, he was helping to book acts.

Throughout his career, he has earned recognition from the U.S Air Force Thunderbirds and U.S. Army Golden Knights, becoming a honorary member of both teams. He is respected by his peers, who say he is “the personification of what it means to be a good wingman”.

Cleveland National Airshow 2016 - E-2 Hawkeye and A-10 Warthog

PINNACLE AWARDS

The Pinnacle Award honors recipients who “showcase professionalism, innovation in problem solving, and overall excellence in airshow operations and management.” Awards are given in the small, mid-size, and large civilian airshow and military airshows/open houses categories. Three other Pinnacvle Awards are given in the civilian performer, military performer, and support service provider categories. The 2016 winners are:

SUPPORT SERVICE PROVIDERS

  • Gold Recipient – Precision Exotics
  • Platinum Recipient – ADC Group, Inc.

MILITARY PERFORMER

  • Platinum Recipient – Captain Maciej “Match” Hatta (Snowbird #3)

CIVILIAN PERFORMERS

  • Gold Recipient – Commemorative Air Force B24/B29 Squadron
  • Platinum Recipient – Greg Shelton Airshows

MILITARY OPEN HOUSES/AIR SHOWS

  • Gold Recipient – MacDill Air Force Base presents Tampa Bay AirFest
  • Platinum Recipient – Rhode Island National Guard Open House and Airshow

SMALL CIVILIAN AIR SHOWS (tie for Platinum)

  • Platinum Recipient #1a – Cape Girardeau Regional Air Festival
  • Platinum Recipient #1b – The Highest Air Show on Earth

MID-SIZE CIVILIAN AIR SHOWS

  • Gold Recipient – Duluth Air and Aviation Expo/Kern and Kompany
  • Platinum Recipient – Lynchburg Regional Air Show

LARGE CIVILIAN AIR SHOWS

  • Gold Recipient – Cleveland National Air Show
  • Platinum Recipient – Bell Helicopter Fort Worth Alliance Air Show

If you’d like to learn more, ICAS has provided detailed biographies on each award winner.

AirshowStuff congratulates all the winners of this year’s awards. We can’t wait to see you in 2017!

Bob Hoover Remembered With Celebration Of Life Ceremony, Triple Flyover

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R. A. "Bob" Hoover
Source: AOPA

Aviation lost one of its greats one month ago, when R.A. “Bob” Hoover passed away at the age of 94. Bob was without a doubt one of the most legendary pilots to have graced the skies. His exploits in World War II would have been enough for most pilots, but his real fame was gained following the war when he flew as a test pilot and airshow demonstration pilot. He was also an incredible human being who was renowned for his story-telling, energy, and kindness.

True to his form, the aviation community came together a few weeks after his death to celebrate his life, which a star-studded event at Van Nuys airport. Numerous speakers, many aviation legends themselves, took to the stage to share their stories of Bob and his accomplishments. The event eventually moved outside, where a military honor guard fired a gun salute and played taps as three formation of aircraft roared overhead. The first formation was led by a T-39 Sabreliner, one of the many aircraft types that will forever be linked to Hoover. It was joined by two F-16s from the US Air Force Thunderbirds and a CT-114 Tutor from the Canadian Forces Snowbirds. The second formation saw an F-22 Raptor lead a pair of F-86 Sabres, a type that Bob test flew during his career. The final formation had four warbirds; a P-40 Warhawk, an F6F Hellcat, a Spitfire, and perhaps Bob’s most famous airplane, his P-51 Mustang “Ole Yeller”. In a fitting tribute, “Ole Yeller” performed the missing man pull out of the formation as the last notes of taps faded away.

Fortunately, Bob was the subject of many documentaries and interviews during his time with us, and generations to come will have many recordings to hear his wisdom through. Although Bob is gone, he will continue to touch the lives of aviators for a long, long time.

Pilot Killed In Crash At Airshow Of The Cascades

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Marcus Paine
Photo Credit: Marcus Paine’s Facebook Page

Pilot Marcus Paine was killed today when his Stearman biplane crashed during a performance at the Airshow of the Cascades in Madras, Oregon. He was the only person on board and no one on the ground was injured. Paine was reportedly performing aerobatics when he hit the ground. The remainder of the airshow was canceled following the crash, and the show was not scheduled to be held on Sunday.

A brief bio, from the Airshow of the Cascades website:

Marcus Paine brings the thrill of aerobatic flight from his hometown of Anchorage, where he has lived for more than 40 years. Raised on a homestead in Rabbit Creek, Marc has been a pilot for over 20 years and is a skilled instructor – teaching pilots of all skill levels new ways of thinking about the principals of flight. He is also a distinguished graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and a former U.S. Army Special Forces Officer, Airborne Ranger, and Jumpmaster. He commanded a combat dive A Team and worked projects throughout the Middle East and South America. He’ll be thrilling our audience with his 450 Stearman!

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