Warbird Heritage Foundation Acquires P-51 Mustang “Moonbeam McSwine” To Honor Vlado Lenoch

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Vlado Lenoch and Moonbeam McSwine

Moonbeam McSwine is coming home!

The Warbird Heritage Foundation announced Wednesday that they’ve purchased the P-51 Mustang named “Moonbeam McSwine” from its most recent owner, Mr. Frederic Akary of France. The aircraft will reside under a new FAA registration number, N51VL, in honor of Vlado Lenoch.

Vlado and Moonbeam were synonymous; he flew the aircraft for over 20 years before he sold it to Akary in 2012 and began flying WHF’s P-51 Mustang “Baby Duck” at airshows instead. Vlado and passenger Bethany Root were flying in Baby Duck when they were killed in a crash last July. The aircraft was completely destroyed in the incident.

Moonbeam McSwine ReassemblyMoonbeam McSwine Reassembly

Rumors have been swirling for weeks now that Moonbeam was being brought home to the US to be flown as a tribute to Vlado, but until today nothing was confirmed publicly. The aircraft has arrived from overseas and is scheduled to be re-assembled at Tab-Air in East Troy, WI before joining the WHF fleet in Waukegan, IL. If all goes well, the aircraft should be up and flying in time for this summer’s airshow season!

Moonbeam McSwine Reassembly

Moonbeam’s history dates back to October of 1944, when it was manufactured in Inglewood, CA. In the 70s, 80s and 90s, Moonbeam raced in the Reno Air Races. Vlado flew it regularly in the United States Air Force Heritage Flight program (see the video below) before he sold it to Frederic Akary in 2012. Since then, it has been seen regularly at airshows across Europe.

We were fortunate to work with Vlado for many years, and continue to mourn his loss. This tribute is well deserved, and Moonbeam will certainly see many emotional reunions with Vlado’s friends as it returns to the airshow circuit. We look forward to bringing you plenty of photos and videos of this piece of history!

Historic “Memphis Belle” B-17 Moved Into US Air Force Museum Hangar

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B-17 Flying Fortress "Memphis Belle" and "Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby" - National Museum of the United States Air Force

On March 14th, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force marked completion of the B-17F “Memphis Belle” restoration project. In view of invited media and 300 Air Force Museum Foundation members, the “Memphis Belle” was towed from the Museum’s restoration hangar to the WWII Gallery where it replaced “Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby”, a B-17G which had been on display there since 1988. The B-17G was removed from the hangar and placed into storage, where it awaits transfer to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum at a later date.

B-17 Flying Fortress "Memphis Belle" - National Museum of the United States Air Force

The “Memphis Belle” bears a paint scheme representative of the aircraft’s appearance on May 17, 1943, when the aircraft’s crew completed their 25th combat mission, thereby completing their tours of duty. They became the first Air Force bomber crew from Europe to return to the United States after reaching that milestone. This achievement earned the aircraft and crew national recognition, a war bond tour, and enduring historical significance.

B-17 Flying Fortress "Memphis Belle" - National Museum of the United States Air ForceB-17 Flying Fortress "Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby" - National Museum of the United States Air Force

The Museum’s “Memphis Belle” exhibit officially opens on May 17th, the 75th anniversary of the aircraft’s historic combat mission. Until then, the aircraft remains obscured from view by a large partition. Plans for the exhibit debut include a static display of B-17 bombers, a gathering of WWII reenactors, and a big band concert, among other events.

– Article and photos by Ryan Grantonic

B-17 Flying Fortress "Memphis Belle" - National Museum of the United States Air ForceB-17 Flying Fortress "Memphis Belle" - National Museum of the United States Air Force

Rare British Jet Warbirds Expected At EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018

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de Havilland Vampire

Some rare British jet aircraft will be on the flightline in Oshkosh this July! EAA recently announced that the World Heritage Air Museum in Detroit, MI is planning to bring both a de Havilland Venom and Vampire, as well as a Gloster Meteor that is currently the oldest flying jet in the world. The aircraft mark just part of the growing collection at WHAM, which has displayed other aircraft at EAA AirVenture in the past.

These new attendees will join other vintage jets like the L-39 Albatros, T-33 Shooting Star, F-86 Sabre, and MiG-17 Fresco. The jet warbirds are typically featured during “Jet Day”, but often fly other days of the week too. Organizers are encouraging other jet owners to come to the attend in the hopes of sparking a larger gathering. Even as it stands, AirVenture 2018 will surely be a rare treat for jet lovers!

Trojan Horsemen Formation Team Announces Retirement

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Trojan Horsemen T-28 Formation Team

The Trojan Horsemen formation team has announced their retirement from airshows. In a post to the team’s Facebook page, they explained that the challenges had simply become too much to continue.

The team performed at airshows and other events with up to six North American T-28 Trojans in formation. Although the team will be missed, it seems likely that most team members will continue performing in some capacity.

Read the full statement posted by the team below:

After 14 years of traveling the country and Performing for millions of Aviation fans we sadly announce our retirement.

The mounting challenges of reliably fielding a six-ship Team of T-28’s in a professional manner while maintaining proficiency, safety and our brand , have forced the premature retirement of the team.

We would like to thank all the airshow producers who honored us by allowing us to perform at your show, as well as our fans and friends in the air show community.

We sincerely hope that our patriotic message successfully touched your lives and made a positive difference. We have enjoyed every minute of sharing our historic aircraft with you.

New Photo Album – T-34 Mentor Pre-Oshkosh Gathering 2017

posted in: AirshowStuff, Event Recap, Warbirds | 0

T-34 Mentors Air to Air Over Lake Michigan

A new album is now available in our photo gallery! Check it out here:
T-34 Mentor Pre-Oshkosh Gathering 2017 (Manitowoc, WI) – Ryan Sundheimer

Also be sure to check out our video of our flights with the T-34s:

C-97 Stratofreighter “Angel Of Deliverance” Returns To Flight – Watch The Amazing Takeoff!

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C-97 Stratofreighter "Angel of Deliverance" First Flight

The “Angel of Deliverance”, a Boeing C-97G Stratofreighter, returned to flight this week after 15 years of restoration in New York. The aircraft is operated by the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation, which also owns and flies the C-54 “Spirit of Freedom”.

C-97 Stratofreighter "Angel of Deliverance" First FlightC-97 Stratofreighter "Angel of Deliverance" First Flight

The C-97 is a large piston-powered cargo aircraft based on the B-29 Superfortress bomber. It first flew in 1944, and was retired from US service in 1978. Some of the airframes, including this one, were used as aerial refueling tankers. “Angel” is now the only flying C-97 anywhere in the world, though one of the related Super Guppy cargo transports also remains in active service with NASA.

She roared off of Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn on Tuesday, stopped in New Jersey for fuel, and continued to her new temporary home in Reading, PA. Jacob Gentile caught up with the aircraft during the fuel stop, and sent us this incredible video of the takeoff as well as some photos on the ground. The aircraft will stay in Reading through next spring, but the BAHF is actively seeking sufficient hangar space for both of their airlifters. Please consider supporting their cause as they keep these pieces of history active and flying!

Thank you to Jacob Gentile for providing the video and photos!

C-97 Stratofreighter "Angel of Deliverance" First Flight

WATCH: This Rare Super Hornet/Corsair Formation Showcases Decades Of Naval Aviation History

Visitors to the Cleveland National Airshow this past Labor Day weekend were treated to a special sight – a US Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet and World War II-era F4U Corsair flying together! The pair performed several formation flybys before landing, then taxied together at show center and folded their wings to show their common bond as carrier-based fighters. Check out the entire performance in our video above!

This sort of sight used to be fairly commonplace through the US Navy Tailhook Legacy Flight program, which is similar to the US Air Force’s Heritage Flight program. Unfortunately the budget cuts of recent years stopped not only the Legacy Flights, but also the Hornet demonstrations themselves. As the TACDEMO teams return to full prominence on the airshow circuit, there is hope that these formations can again be flown regularly.

Don’t forget to also watch our video of the full Super Hornet aerobatic demonstration from Cleveland!

Historic Warbirds Return To Service, Transport Aid In Wake Of Hurricane Harvey

posted in: Popular Posts, Warbirds | 1

On Friday, August 25th, the eye of Hurricane Harvey, a strong category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 mph, made landfall near Rockport, TX. Over the next week, the center of Harvey would sit and spin over Texas, dropping 40-50 inches of rain! This amount of rain resulted in catastrophic and life threatening flooding across southeast Texas, including the Beaumont, TX area.

Beaumont sits about 1 hour and 15 minutes to the east of the Houston Metro. When Harvey’s rains hit, the town’s 118,000+ people were devastated. While most of the national media’s attention was on the Houston Metro, other areas in Texas were also struggling.

In Georgetown, TX, located outside of Austin, citizens started gathering supplies. A call went out for general aviation aircraft and pilots in the area to help take supplies down to Beaumont. The Commemorative Air Forces’s Highland Lakes Squadron, with their Douglas C-47 “Bluebonnet Belle”, answered that call.

The C-47 has a history of transporting important cargo. During World War II, the platform was used to carry jeeps, troops, or up to 6,000 pounds of other cargo. It was used by every branch of the US military and all of the major allied powers.

When Texas needed it, the C-47 stepped back into service – more than 70 years after the war that made the type famous. The cabin was loaded with diapers, food, and water before the aircraft launched on the hour and a half trip from Georgetown to Beaumont.

In a post on the Commemorative Air Force Facebook page, the CAF said, “When the Texas National Guard showed up with their Deuce and a half truck, we knew we had brought supplies to the right place. A troop of soldiers descended on the C-47 unloading box after box directly onto the military truck. This was only the first load of supplies and so long as there is a need the CAF is planning to help.”


Photos from David Oliver

The C-47 wasn’t the only aircraft that helped with Harvey relief. The B-25 Mitchell “Devil Dog”, also a CAF aircraft, transported supplies to impacted areas as well. These including, rather fittingly, 500 pounds of dog food for displaced pets.

Well done by these resilient old airframes and the volunteers that support, maintain, and fly them!

B-25 Devil Dog Aids Harvey Relief

WATCH: Two B-29 Superfortresses Flying Together For The First Time In Decades!

Double Trouble!

What’s better than a flyover from a B-29 Superfortress? The obvious answer is flyovers from TWO B-29 Superfortresses! AirVenture 2017 was an exciting week for many reasons, but this just may be the best reason of all. For the first time since 1960, there were two airworthy B-29 Superfortresses sharing the skies, and the AirshowStuff.com crew was there to capture this historic moment.

Although “Fifi” has ruled the airshow circuit as the only flyable B-29 for years, “Doc” became airworthy in 2016 and completed test flights in 2017. Attention immediately turned to the first time these aircraft would meet each other, and there was little doubt it’d be in Oshkosh. The two ultra-rare warbirds flew together several times during the week, ultimately flying in close formation together along with numerous other historical and modern bombers for an absolutely astonishing joint flyby!

Be sure to subscribe to the AirshowStuffVideos channel on YouTube for more great videos.

-Justin Miner

B-29 Superfortress FifiB-29 Superfortress Fifi

WATCH: Rare Joint Flight Of NASA T-38 And NACA P-63 Honors Legacy Of Flight Testing

posted in: Featured Videos, Warbirds | 0

The History of Aeronautical Exploration!

There’s no end to the types of aircraft that you can see at AirVenture. If you look in any direction, you can see everything from homebuilts to the latest military hardware. This year, a unique duo took to the skies of Oshkosh during Sunday’s airshow for a display that’s both rare, and a treat to watch. Representing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, a NASA T-38 Talon takes to the skies and shares the airspace with a National Advisory Committee of Aeronautics P-63 Kingcobra wearing special Test markings. Although the aircraft didn’t fly in close formation, their joint passes offered a special tribute to pioneers of science and technology both past and present. It’s a unique combination even for AirVenture!

The P-63 was also part of a different special flight during AirVenture; a formation of three P-63 Kingcobras, approximately half of the flyable examples in the world!

Be sure to subscribe to the AirshowStuffVideos channel on YouTube for more great videos.

-Justin Miner

NASA T-38 Talon - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017NACA P-63 Kingcobra - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017
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