EAA AirVenture 2017 To Feature The Only Two B-29s Still Flying – “Doc” and “FIFI” Confirmed For Oshkosh!

posted in: Airshows, Popular Posts, Warbirds | 3

Boeing B-29 Superfortress "FIFI" and Fireworks - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

This year’s EAA AirVenture is set to feature not one but TWO flying B-29 Superfortresses. That’s right, both “FIFI” and “Doc”, the only flying B-29s in the world, are planning to attend!

Earlier today, Doc’s Friends, the group behind the aircraft, announced four stops on the first half of Doc’s planned 2017 tour. Doc recently completed ‘phase one’ of the initial flight testing program following a lengthy restoration in Kansas, which allows it to be flown to airshows. These events will be important fundraising opportunities for the group, and an exciting opportunity for fans to see a ‘new’ and extremely rare aircraft. Be sure to check our forums for the other dates and updates at the rest of the schedule is announced!

Boeing B-29 Superfortress "Doc"Boeing B-29 Superfortress "FIFI"

The Commemorative Air Force had previously released a partial schedule for their B-29, FIFI. FIFI is authorized to give rides, and tours the country each year to raise money for the organization.

The two aircraft will cross paths in Oshkosh, WI this July 24-30, during the massive EAA AirVenture airshow. We look forward to bringing you the sights and sounds of this amazing meetup between the only airworthy B-29s!

Update: Eagle-eyed fans have pointed out that these aircraft will actually cross paths earlier in the year, as both are scheduled to attend the airshow at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana in May! This summer will be very exciting for B-29 fans!

“Doc” photo courtesy of Doc’s Friends

Afterburner, Bare Metal, And Sunset – Watch These F-100 Super Sabre Twilight Flybys!

posted in: Featured Videos, Warbirds | 0

F-100 Super Sabre

North American Aviation F-100 Super Sabre

Check out this rare and awesome video of one of the only flying examples left of an F-100 Super Sabre! This video was taken at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh back in 2015 and showcases the power and beauty of the F-100 with a stunning twilight backdrop. Be sure to pay particular attention to the afterburner as this powerful fighter-bomber of the 50’s and 60’s streaks by in pass after pass of polished metal glory. Pilot Dean “Cutter” Cutshall will put the F-100 through its paces, and you have a front-row seat to it all. And for a little bit of background on the F-100, read on about how this iconic aircraft cemented itself in aviation history.

History of the F-100 Super Sabre

In May of 1953, an unusual looking aircraft took to the skies for the first time. Sporting a gaping air intake where the nose would traditionally be located, along with a unique 45 degree swept-back wing design, the prototype F-100 Super Sabre took flight.

Building on the success of the F-86 Sabre jet, the North American Aviation F-100 Super Sabre was designed to be an air superiority fighter, and the first production fighter to be able to break the sound barrier while in level flight. The first of the so-called Century Series fighters, the Super Sabre carried four 20mm cannons on the bottom of the fuselage and a Pratt and Whitney J57 engine that propelled it to a maximum speed of about 850 mph. Later versions would receive an updated version of the J57 engine that would propel the “Hun”, as it was called, to a maximum speed of approximately 880 mph. With the exception of a handful of shows flown in the F-105 Thunderchief in 1964, the Super Sabre was the aircraft of choice for the USAF Thunderbirds from 1956 to 1969.

Though the Super Sabre was designed as an air superiority fighter, its ability as a tactical bomber became apparent, especially during the Vietnam war. Trading in the colorful and high-visibility silver lacquer paint schemes of the 1950’s, the Super Sabre began wearing the green and brown paint of the Southeast Asian conflict in its new role. The F-100D, the most produced variant of the Hun, became an adept ground attack aircraft platform and saved many friendly troops in direct action sorties by dropping a variety of ordnance from general purpose bombs, to rockets, to napalm. By the end of the Vietnam war, the F-100 had become the longest-serving fighter of any type, serving from 1961 to 1971. The Super Sabre was also the first aircraft to carry out the dangerous “Wild Weasel” surface-to-air missile suppression missions. Due to the heightened tensions of the Cold War, the F-100 could even pack a wallop with the capability of carrying five different types of tactical nuclear bombs.

With aircraft technology advancing rapidly in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the F-100 Super Sabres eventually became obsolete and were retired or transferred off to Air National Guard units. Some were even exported to other nations. The Hun was officially retired in 1979, but continued to serve proudly into the 1980’s as QF-100 drones. Despite being replaced by more technologically advanced aircraft in the 1970’s, you can see why the North American Aviation F-100 Super Sabre was one of the most powerful and capable fighter-bombers in history.

Once again, be sure to check out the video, turn up the volume, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the F-100 Super Sabre. You won’t be disappointed!

– Justin Miner

F-100 Super SabreF-100 Super Sabre Nose

Nalls Aviation (Sea Harrier) 2017 Airshow Schedule Released

posted in: Schedules, Warbirds | 3

British Sea Harrier - Nalls Aviation

Were you bummed that the US Marine Corps has only four AV-8B Harrier demonstrations planned for 2017? Well, take a look at the list below because Art Nalls and his Nalls Aviation team will be bringing some Harrier action to at least seven airshows in 2017! Some of the shows will also feature the team’s black L-39 Albatros.

Will you see the Sea Harrier in 2017? Let us know! Post on our Facebook page and in our forums, and make sure you share pictures after the show!

2017 Appearance Schedule – Nalls Aviation Sea Harrier

April 1-2 – Melbourne, FL
April 8-9 – Lakeland, FL
May 6-7 – Fort Lauderdale, FL
May 13-14 – Pittsburgh, PA
June 24-25 – CFB Bagotville, QC
Sept 15-17 – Reading, PA
Oct 14th – Culpeper, VA

A few additional shows are pending – we will announce them once they are finalized.

Pilot Okay After Modified T-6 Texan Crashes In North Carolina

posted in: Warbirds | 1
John Shell "Super 6" T-6 Texan
Photo source: Florida Metal/Airport-Data.com

Pilot John Shell is safe after his “Super 6” modified T-6 Texan crashed near Jamestown Rd. in Morganton, North Carolina around 4:45 PM EST. Tyler Woodard, who witnessed the crash, and another person were able to aid Mr. Shell in getting away from the aircraft following the crash and before it was engulfed in flames.

Shell received non-life-threatening injuries and has been taken to the hospital.

There is no word on what might have caused the aircraft to crash. However, WSOCTV reported that witnesses have said that they heard the aircraft sputtering before the crash.

We here at AirshowStuff are glad to hear that John was able to walk away safe from this incident.

Heavy Bombers Weekend 2016 – Janesville, WI

B-17 Flying Fortress - Heavy Bombers Weekend 2016

View the full photo gallery: Heavy Bombers Weekend 2016 – Janesville, WI – Ryan Sundheimer

The 2016 edition of Heavy Bombers Weekend was held at the Southwest Wisconsin Regional Airport in Janesville, WI. The fly-in is a popular stop for warbirds traveling to the EAA AirVenture airshow in Oshkosh. Even on the opening day of the event, many different aircraft were on hand to take passengers for rides, including EAA’s B-17 Flying Fortress “Aluminum Overcast”, the Commemorative Air Force’s B-29 Superfortress “FIFI”, and the P-51 Mustang “Gunfighter”. Ground tours were included in the price of admission, giving all of the attendees a chance to touch and feel history. The event plans to shift back to its previous home in Madison, WI in 2017 and alternate between the two airports each year.

Check out our coverage of the 2015 Heavy Bombers Weekend as well!

New Photo Album – Waukesha Gathering Of Warbirds 2016

posted in: AirshowStuff, Event Recap, Warbirds | 0

MiG-17 Fresco - Afterburner Takeoff

A new album is now available in our photo gallery! Check it out here: Gathering of Warbirds 2016 – Waukesha, WI – Ryan Sundheimer

The 2016 Gathering of Warbirds in Waukesha, WI brought together many different warbirds for a public open house. The warbirds included a P-40 Warhawk, P-51 Mustang, MiG-17 Fresco, T-37 Tweet, T-28 Trojan, De Havilland Chipmunk, T-34 Mentor, two F-86 Sabres, and more. A C-130 Hercules and King Air from the Royal Canadian Air Force were also on display.

Bavarian OV-10 Bronco Demo Team Looking Ahead To 2018 North American Airshow Tour

posted in: Warbirds | 0
OV-10 Bronco Deam Team
Photo source: Bronco Demo Team

The Bavarian OV-10 Bronco Demo Team, a well known performer on the European airshow circuit, is looking to arrange a North American airshow tour in 2018. The team is announcing the tour now as they work to book dates at the ICAS convention this week. They will need to book approximately 30 airshows in order to make the trip feasible. Another European performer, the Breitling Jet Team, recently wrapped up their North American tour after performing in the US and Canada over the last two years.

The Bronco Demo Team operates a pair of North American OV-10 Broncos, a twin-turboprop light attack and observation aircraft. The type served with the US Air Force, Navy, and Marines during the Vietnam War and was exported to other countries as well. The Marine Corps operated the Bronco until the 1990s, and deployed them during the Gulf War. Recently, several OV-10s were re-purposed and deployed the Middle East to support special operations forces in the fight against ISIS. The OV-10Bs operated by the team served as target tugs with the German military.

If the team’s efforts prove successful, we may see an influx of European performers in the coming years. Make sure you contact your local airshow organizer and request to see the Bronco Demo Team in 2018!

OV-10 Bronco Demo Team - North American Tour Info

CAF Announces New “Prowlers Of The Pacific” Airshow Act For 2017 Season

posted in: Warbirds | 0
Curtiss SB2C Helldiver - Prowlers of the Pacific
Photos courtesy of the Commemorative Air Force

The Commemorative Air Force announced a new airshow act today that will debut during the 2017 show season. The act is titled “Prowlers of the Pacific” and will feature an ensemble cast of CAF aircraft in a performance designed to tell the story of WWII in the Pacific theater. The featured aircraft are a Goodyear FG-1D (F4U) Corsair, a Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless, a replica Nakajima B5N “Kate”, and the world’s only flying Curtiss SB2C Helldiver. Pyrotechnic effects and other CAF aircraft can be added to the act for an even larger performance. Look for more on the act at the 2016 ICAS convention and at www.ProwlersOfThePacific.com!

FG-1D (F4U) CorsairB5N Kate Replica

Here is the synopsis of the act from the press release:

The massive roar of the radial engines, the smoke trailing from an aerial dog fight and rare warbirds fighting will re-create the scene over the waters of the Pacific!

The story of the Prowlers of the Pacific begins on that fateful day in December, 1941. The war in the Pacific doesn’t take place over land and airfields are rare. The war takes place over millions of miles of ocean and the aircraft carriers become the chess pieces each side maneuvers. Each carrier was equipped with fighters, bombers and torpedo planes to do battle and we put you at the head of the task force with the Prowlers of the Pacific!

Prowlers includes the only flying SB2C Curtiss Helldiver and rare SBD Dauntless dive-bomber, the famous gull-winged Corsair fighter and a Japanese Kate (replica) torpedo bomber that represent the best of the Pacific War. Additional fighters, bombers and pyro-technics are available on request. The Prowlers of the Pacific exhibits the aerial warfare witnessed at The Battle of the Coral Sea and The Battle of Midway, two events that changed the course of the war in the Pacific.

Mentors Over Manitowoc – Pre-Oshkosh Practice And Fun With The T-34 Association

posted in: AirshowStuff, Warbirds | 0

T-34 Mentor Air to Air - Manitowoc, WI

One of the most amazing sights and sounds of EAA AirVenture every year is the warbird segment of the airshow. On some days, over 100 airplanes fill the sky together in a tremendous display of historical air power. The majority of these aircraft are part of the mass formations that circle and cross overhead, providing a backdrop for the other aircraft below.

The formations are usually organized by aircraft type; the T-6 Texans, the T-28 Trojans, the T-34 Mentors, and the Red Stars formation of Yak-52s and CJ-6s (plus one misfit SF-260 that I have had the pleasure of riding in). These groups represent pilots from across the country who fly and train together throughout the year to put on shows like these. Each of the groups arranges a pre-AirVenture gathering at an airport near Oshkosh in the days leading up to the event as a chance to meet up and get some last minute practice flights in. This year, I had the privilege of joining the T-34 Mentor Association members in Manitowoc, WI for their annual pre-AirVenture meetup.

T-34 Mentor Air to Air - Manitowoc, WIT-34 Mentors - Manitowoc, WI

Manitowoc County Airport (KMTW) is east of Oshkosh, near the shore of Lake Michigan. It is an untowered field with good ramp space and most importantly, EAA Chapter 383. Members of the chapter play host during the gathering, and their hangar and office are the hang out spot for the pilots. This year at least 20 T-34s were in attendance, with two, three, and four-ship flights launching in several waves beginning Saturday morning.

I was invited to join one of these flights, a four-ship. We headed out over the lake to work through different formations and rejoins, while other groups did the same in different pre-determined areas. Everything was expertly organized and briefed by T-34 Association President Billy “Smitty” Smith. Flights like this are required for each pilot to earn and maintain their “FAST card”, a certification of their ability to fly formation. Without this, they are not allowed to fly formation in waivered airspace, such as during the AirVenture airshows.

T-34 Mentor Air to Air - Manitowoc, WIT-34 Mentor Air to Air - Manitowoc, WI

After several rounds of these smaller group flights, the group starts putting together the large mass formation. This usually begins to come together on Sunday afternoon, but unfortunately this year the weather was less than cooperative and it was delayed. I had to leave for Oshkosh without seeing the mass flight practice.

I’d see the group soon enough though, as they arrived during the airshow in typical dramatic fashion. If you’ve never witnessed it, it is quite shocking to see. All of the formation groups come in from different directions and at different altitudes, all pointed at show center. Last year they nailed the timing, resulting in a thrilling triple cross directly overhead. From the cross, each group begins a carefully calculated orbit to continue passing over and in front of the crowd while avoiding the dozens of other airplanes sharing the sky.

T-34 Mentors Air to Air - Manitowoc, WIT-34 Mentor Air to Air - Manitowoc, WI

The chaos is incredible to witness, and most on the ground have no idea of how much work, practice, and planning is behind the spectacle. Luckily, these pilots are willing to put in the hours necessary to give us all a safe and entertaining show!

Check out the rest of my photos in our photo gallery – T-34 Mentor Gathering 2016 – Manitowoc, WI

T-34 Mentors - Manitowoc, WIT-34 Mentors - Manitowoc, WI

Thank you to Billy Smith, Stephen Bohlig, Adam Silverstein, Malte Lorenz, Tim Kolp, the rest of the T-34 pilots, and EAA Chapter 383 for allowing me to join in the fun!

– Ryan Sundheimer

Martin Mars Stars In AirVenture Lineup, Recovers From Damage

posted in: Airshows, Warbirds | 2

Martin Mars - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016

The famous Martin Mars water bomber was one of the main attractions at EAA AirVenture this year, but it did not survive the show unscathed. The aircraft, which performed in the Monday, Wednesday, and Friday airshows, suffered a bird strike to one of its four engines on Friday. In the ensuing landing on Lake Winnebago, it hit a rock that tore a basketball-sized hole in the flying boat’s hull. The damage forced the plane to miss its planned Saturday airshow appearance, but after extensive pumping and some repair work, it was able to fly home and did so on Tuesday, August 2nd.

Martin Mars - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016
Pumping underway to keep the Martin Mars afloat

The “Hawaii Mars II”, the aircraft showcased at AirVenture, is the lone flying example remaining of the type. Only seven aircraft were built in the 1930’s and 1940’s, with with most destroyed or scrapped long ago. She is owned by Coulson Flying Tankers in British Columbia, and has been used to fight wild fires in the region. A second intact Mars, named “Phillipine Mars”, is also owned by Coulson but does not currently fly. Phillipine Mars is painted in the colors she wore during her service in the US Navy as a long range patrol aircraft. There was previously a deal in place to send her to the National Museum of Naval Aviation, but it fell through and Coulson Flying Tankers is currently seeking a buyer for both aircraft as they are no longer being tasked with firefighting duties.

Martin Mars - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016Martin Mars - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016

You can check out the stunning performance of the Martin Mars during AirVenture in our video:

1 2 3 4 6