Greg Shelton To Be Awarded 2018 Bill Barber Award For Showmanship

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Greg Shelton Wins Bill Barber Award for Showmanship

The 2018 recipient of the Bill Barber Award for Showmanship is Greg Shelton, someone known across the airshow industry for his various acts and performances.

Shelton, who began performing in airshows in 1990, had an interest in aviation from an early age. In 1982, Greg began flying lessons in a J-3 Cub, but traded in the Cub for a Starduster Too so he could persue aerobatics. That decision certainly paid off!

Today, Greg is well known for his 450 Super Stearman act and FM-2 Wildcat aerobatic performances. In 2017, Greg and his wife/wing walker Ashley Shelton added a nighttime wing walking act to their plethora of performances, once again bringing creativity to the world of airshows. Greg’s 2018 show season includes 12 airshows in both the Super Stearman and Wildcat.

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

Previous award winners include:
2017 Kyle Franklin
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 24th at Theater in the Woods at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI.

Memorial To Honor Blue Angel Pilot Nears Completion, Public Dedication

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Blue Angels Memorial in Smyrna

The finishing touches are being put on a memorial to honor Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, who was killed when his F/A-18 Hornet crashed during a practice flight demonstration in Smyrna, Tennessee in June 2016.

Kuss, who was in his second year on the team, was loved by many. He also was popular in the media, since his position as the team’s 2015 narrator also enabled him to give rides to media, VIPs, and local influencers at each show site the Blue Angels attended.

Following the crash, the town of Smyrna wanted to honor Kuss in a special way. In May of 2017, plans were announced to build a permanent memorial for the fallen Blue Angels pilot outside the airport and adjacent to Lee Victory Recreation Park, where the town came together the night of the crash to honor Kuss. Plans for the memorial included pavers, which could be bought for a small donation, and a retired F/A-18 Hornet in Blue Angel colors.

Kuss Memorial Groundbreaking

On October 18th, 2017, groundbreaking for the memorial was held.

On Friday, the most prominent part of the memorial was installed. A retired Blue Angel jet, BuNo 163498, was lifted by crane from a flatbed trailer and into position on an elevated platform in the memorial. The aircraft is on permanent loan from the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida.

Kuss Memorial F-18 Hornet - Smyrna, TNKuss Memorial F-18 Hornet - Smyrna, TN

In a video posted by the Town of Smyrna, some F/A-18 hornets are seen flying over the Blue Angel jet. The flyover was performed by members of Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101 (VMFAT-101), based out of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, CA. They flew in from California on Thursday, and waited until the plane was placed to do the flyover, then departed on their way to NAS Oceana, VA.

The memorial dedication will be held on June 9 at 10:00 a.m. at Lee Victory Recreation Park in Smyrna and is open the public. For those who can’t attend, the ceremony will be streamed live. Stay tuned to our social media channels for more info.

Aftershock Jet Truck Coming To Airshows In 2018

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AFTERSHOCK JET FIRE TRUCK

Darnell Racing Enterprises is adding a new jet truck to their lineup!

Claimed as the world’s fastest fire truck at an amazing 407 mph, as certified by the Guinness Book of World Records, the “Aftershock” jet truck is a new addition to the Darnells’ already popular collection of jet vehicles. The Darnell family also owns the Shockwave jet truck and two Flash Fire jet pickup trucks, which have been popular sights on the airshow circuit.

The 1940 Ford fire truck runs off of two Rolls-Royce Bristol Viper jet engines, which together make 24,000 horsepower. That’s 70% more horsepower than a NASCAR stock car and twice the horsepower of the Flash Fire Jet Trucks!

In a statement, the Darnell’s said that the addition of Aftershock was due to “continued growth and demand of the best jet powered vehicles in the world.”

The vehicle will be at several airshows and drag racing events during the 2018 and 2019 show seasons.

A Three Mile Explosion! Tora Bomb Squad Smashes Own World Record For Longest Wall Of Fire

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Tora Bomb Squad

The Tora Bomb Squad, led by Gordon Webb, and Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma announced they have set the world record for the world’s longest wall of fire on March 18, 2017 at the MCAS Yuma airshow. The record was officially certified for 4,890.9 meters, or roughly 16,046.5 feet. That is equivalent to 3.04 miles!

This isn’t the first time that MCAS Yuma and the Tora Bomb Squad have partnered to set the world record. In fact, they beat themselves for this world record. In 2009, they set the world record for the longest wall of fire with an explosion that measured 3,102.35 meters, or roughly 10,178.3 ft. That equates to just under 2 miles.

From the Tora Tora Tora Airshows Facebook page:

HUGE NEWS!!! As you may know, in 2009, we set a Guinness World Record for the world’s longest wall of fire. This year in March, with the help of MCAS Yuma, we attempted to break our own record. Today we got confirmation. MCAS Yuma and The Tora Bomb Squad broke their own record. The new record officially is now 16,046.5 feet!! That’s 3.04 statute miles!!

Congratulations Tora and MCAS Yuma on setting this world record!

Written for AirshowStuff by Bretten Bailey

Naval Academy Unveils “Blue Angels” Uniforms For 2017 Army-Navy Football Game

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US Naval Academy Blue Angels Football Uniforms

Each year, the Naval Academy brings out the best uniforms for their game versus Army. This year is no different, as the Midshipmen will head onto the field in these amazing Blue Angels-inspired uniforms to face off against the Army Black Knights.

US Naval Academy Blue Angels Football Uniforms

The uniforms are designed as a tribute to the US Navy’s flight demonstration squadron. The uniform will bear a Blue Angels patch on the right sleeve, and the United States Flag on the left sleeve, just like actual Blue Angel uniforms. The helmets will also feature the famous blue and gold F/A-18 Hornets that the Blue Angels fly.

US Naval Academy Blue Angels Football UniformsUS Naval Academy Blue Angels Football Uniforms

“This tribute to the Blue Angels reflects the enthusiastic pride and appreciation we have for the Navy’s premier flying team and the motivation they convey to Navy football and the fleet at large,” Navy Athletic Director Chet Gladchuk said. “The masterminds at Under Armour are always thinking of ways to inspire our troops while still reflecting a deep appreciation for a Naval history that is so ingrained in our game day traditions. Annually, a special Navy uniform has become a statement in this game and brings with it appreciated meaning and a clear message that we are all in.”

Photos from @NavyAthletics Twitter / Navy Athletic Department

Article by Bretten Bailey

Slot Pilot Gene McNeely Retires From Aeroshell Aerobatic Team

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Gene McNeely - Aeroshell Aerobatic Team
Photo Courtesy of AeroShell Aerobatic Team. www.naat.net

Gene McNeely, the slot pilot for AeroShell Aerobatic Team, performed his final air show on November 5th in Stuart, Florida. He had spent the last 24 years flying the slot position for AeroShell.

Gene got the flying bug as a kid. After serving in the United States Navy, he used his G.I. Bill to finish his ratings. He fell in love with the T-6 while watching fellow AeroShell pilot Steve Gustafson’s father, Merle, flying one at an airshow. Gene joined the AeroShell team, then known as the North American Aerobatic Team, for the 1994-1995 season, replacing the retiring Ben Cunningham. Back then, the show was a three-ship routine with Alan Henley and Steve Gustafson as the other pilots. The team became a four-ship when Alan’s brother Mark joined the team, and a few years later they became the AeroShell Aerobatic Team, now going down in history as one of the longest running civilian teams in the world.

Over his career, Gene has logged more than 26,000 hours of flight time doing just about anything you can imagine in aviation. He operated his own agricultural business for over twenty years. He also operated an air cargo service utilizing DC-3s, Beech 18s and MU-2s. Outside of air shows, Gene is active in the Reno Air Races where he races a T-6, and loves building homebuilt aircraft. His fondest memories, however, are the time he spent on the team, with their first night show ever at Oshkosh standing out in his memory.

From all of us at AirshowStuff.com, congratulations on your retirement Gene!

Smyrna Breaks Ground On Captain Jeff Kuss Memorial For Fallen Blue Angel Pilot

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The construction of a memorial to honor a fallen Blue Angel has begun.

Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss was killed on June 2nd, 2016 when his Blue Angels jet crashed during a Thursday afternoon practice demonstration in Tennessee. In his memory, the town of Smyrna plans to erect a permanent memorial.

The groundbreaking ceremony, held October 18th, was the first step in getting the memorial built.

As part of the memorial, a Blue Angels F/A-18C hornet will be on permanent display outside the airport adjacent to Lee Victory Recreation Park, where the community came together the night of the crash to remember Kuss.

If you want to donate, visit www.captjeffkussusmcmemorial.com. You can purchase a paver or donate money. As of late October, 78% of the money needed to build the memorial has been raised. All or part of your gift may be tax deductible as a charitable contribution.

Here’s video from the groundbreaking ceremony.

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.

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