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

posted in: Miscellaneous | 0
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

posted in: Miscellaneous, Popular Posts | 2
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

Hawgsmoke 2016 – A-10 Thunderbolt II Action In The Desert

posted in: Event Recap, Military | 0

A-10 Warthog Strafing Run - Hawgsmoke 2016 - Davis-Monthan AFB

In the hot Arizona desert south of Tucson lies Davis-Monthan AFB, where aircraft and aircrews representing A-10 units stateside and abroad were present to see who would be the best in the biennial Hawgsmoke competition. Hosted by the previous winners, the 47th Fighter Squadron (FS) known as the Termites, the 2016 Hawgsmoke competition centers around A-10 crew camaraderie and aerial precision in gunnery and payload delivery.

Hawgsmoke is an offshoot of the now discontinued Gunsmoke competition the US Air Force (USAF) began in 1949 at Nellis AFB, Nevada and ran until 1995. In 2005, the A-10 community came together for the first Hawgsmoke competition at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center near Alpena, Michigan. Since then, A-10 units have been coming together every two years to grow their bond as an attack community and to earn bragging rights for their squadron.

This year’s participating units flew in aircraft and aircrews to fill up the roster, with nearly all of the world’s A-10 squadrons in attendance. The units that took part in this year’s competition were:

  • AATC Test Squadron of Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona
  • 47th FS of Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona
  • 74th FS of Moody AFB, Georgia
  • 75th FS of Moody AFB, Georgia
  • 107th FS of Selfridge ANGB, Michigan
  • 104th FS of Westfield ANGB, Maryland
  • 303rd FS of Whiteman AFB, Missouri
  • 163rd FS of Fort Wayne ANGB, Indiana
  • 25ft FS of Osan AB, Republic of Korea
  • 76th FS of Moody AFB, Georgia
  • 354th FS of Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona
  • 357th FS of Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona
  • 358th FS of Whiteman AFB, Missouri
Fallen Hawg Ceremony - Hawgsmoke 2016 - Davis-Monthan AFBA-10 Warthog Formation - Hawgsmoke 2016 - Davis-Monthan AFB

Each squadron arrived on June 1st to a warm welcome from the DM personnel and each other. That afternoon, in keeping with Hawgsmoke tradition, the service men and women, friends, and families gathered in front of the parade grounds near a static A-10 to remember fellow Hawg drivers who were lost in and out of the service. Each year the complete list of names is read, sadly with a few new names added from the previous Hawgsmoke. A four-ship of Warthogs perform a missing man at the conclusion of Taps. To end the ceremony, all take part in shooting a small glass of alcohol and breaking the glass in the ceremonial fire pit as a final toast to their lost comrades. With that, the first day of Hawgsmoke is finished asecond the machismo builds in anticipation of the following day’s competition.

At the Barry M. Goldwater Range east of DM, a four-ship of the competing teams is sent in with a payload comprising of MK-76/BDU-33 25-lb. practice bombs, AGM-65 Mavericks, sometimes an LAU-131 rocket launcher with practice rockets, and a belt of 30mm practice rounds. The 30mm practice rounds are designed with an aluminum tip that breaks away in the air after firing, shaping the remaining round like a large, blunt slug to produce a more visible impact for scoring observers. Pilots that came without their own aircraft were able to make use of some of the many A-10s stationed at DM.

The competition consists of a series of bombing runs and strafing passes at various angles and altitudes along with a specialized tactical section. These conventional parts are consistent with each Hawgsmoke competition, while the tactical elements shift each Hawgsmoke, tailored to the desired training pilots are looking for for that particular year. The tactical element is flown in a 10-minutes window where the units must destroy as many targets as they can. This year’s tactical range pitted units against realistic threats templated around a series of targets to better prepare pilots for completing precise missions in hostile situations.

This year’s Hawgsmoke was another success and assuredly plenty of fun for all, but with every contest comes a victor, and for 2016’s Hawgsmoke, the winners were:

45-degree High Altitude Dive Bomb:
1. Capt. David Knighton – 47th FS, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ
2. 1st Lt Christopher Shelley – 76th FS, Moody AFB, GA
3. Maj. John “Atlas” Meyers – 25th FS, Osan AB, Republic of Korea

30-degree Dive Bomb Heading and Altitude Reference System, degraded delivery:
1. Capt. Tyler Shipman – 47th FS, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ
2. Maj. Jeff Sliwoski – ANG/Air Force Reserve Command Test Center, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ
3. Capt. Ryan Yingling – 104th FS, Westfield ANGB, MD

10-degree Low Angle High Drag Pop-up:
1. Capt. Simon Long – 47th FS, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ
2. Lt. Col. Alan McCracken – ANG/Air Force Reserve Command Test Center
3. Capt. David Knighton – 47th FS, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ

Long Range Strafe:
1. Lt. Col. John Marks – 303rd FS, Whiteman AFB, MO
2. Capt. Ben Best – 107th FS, Selfridge ANGB, MI

Low Angle Strafe:
1. Capt. Josh Woodard – 354th FS, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ
2. Capt. Max Sery – 25th FS, Osan AB, Republic of Korea

Top Conventional Team (Maj. Jeff Watterberg Trophy):
47th FS, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ

Top Tactical Team (Capt. Steve Phillis Trophy):
25th FS, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ

Top Overall Pilot (Lt. Col. Robert Brown Trophy):
Capt. David Knighton – 47th FS, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ

Top Overall Team (Col. Al “Mud” Moore Trophy)
47th FS, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ

Since the Termites dominated the competition once again, a special rule comes into play that prohibits a unit from hosting the event twice in a row. The second place top overall team will be hosting the next Hawgsmoke in 2018. In just a couple short years ahead, the A-10 Thunderbolt II units will meet back again, with some new faces and some familiar ones too, to duke it out in a friendly competition to see who will be the next top Hawg.

We at AirshowStuff would like to thank 2nd Lt. Sydney M. Smith for permitting us to observe the exciting event, the 47th FS for their accommodating hosting of the 8th Hawgsmoke competition, and all of the men and women that have kept this tradition alive and well.

Last Surviving Martin Mars – World’s Largest Flying Seaplane – To Appear At EAA AirVenture 2016

posted in: Airshows, Miscellaneous, Warbirds | 2
Martin Mars - EAA Airventure 2016
Photo source: EAA

EAA recently announced that this year, the Martin JRM Mars water bomber will appear for the first time at EAA AirVenture. It will perform during the airshow several times throughout the week and will be parked near the seaplane base for up-close spectator viewing. The aircraft is unable to actually land at Wittman Regional Airport because it is a true flying boat, and will land on Lake Winnebago instead. The Martin Mars is the largest operational seaplane ever made. The largest seaplane of all time, the Spruce Goose, only performed one flight.

Martin Mars - EAA Airventure 2016
Photo source: EAA

The Martin Mars first flew in June of 1942, and entered service with the US Navy as a long-range transport aircraft. Only six were built. During World War II they acted as troop transport aircraft, shuttling soldiers across the Pacific. After the war it was used as a water bomber, fighting forest fires in the Western United States. It is capable of carrying 7,200 gallons of water and ingesting one ton of water per second when it skims over water.

Part of what makes EAA AirVenture so special is its ability to bring in unique aircraft every single year. EAA’s Vice President of Communities and Member Programs, Rick Larson, stated, “There aren’t many airplanes that have never been to Oshkosh, but this is one of them, so this is both literally and figuratively a huge addition to this year’s lineup”. The Martin Mars is, literally, the world’s largest warbird.

EAA Airventure Sea Plane Base - Patrick Barron
EAA AirVenture Sea Plane Base

Shuttle buses to the seaplane base are available from inside the show grounds.

What do you think? Are you excited to see the Martin Mars make its first ever appearance at EAA AirVenture? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Airshow Pilots Prepare For 2016 Season

posted in: Aerobatics, Airshows | 1

The long winter stretch with little or no airshow activity is almost over! Soon the roar of jet engines and the sound of spinning props will ripple through the air, letting airshow fans know that the flying season is upon us!

A few airshows have already occurred this year – AIR FIESTA 2016 occurred in Brownsville, TX on Feb 13th and 14th and a few airshows were held in California in January. The Singapore Airshow was also held in February!

Kyle Franklin

But while the off season may be slightly depressing for airshow fans, it gives performers time to regroup and inspect their aircraft. During the winter, airshow pilots typically take them apart and look over every inch. Kyle Franklin did just that this year and posted this picture on his Facebook page. During the inspections, Kyle found a cracked exhaust flange on his high performance biplane known as “Dracula”. Kyle says the problem is fairly common with his exhaust and they have made adjustments so that it doesn’t crack as much.

Kyle Franklin recently posted a video on his Facebook page showing him starting up Dracula for the first time in 2016.

Many other pilots spend the winter season training for the upcoming season. Michael Goulian and Kevin Coleman will be participating in the Red Bull Air Race this year. Kevin will be competing in the Challenger Cup.

The Blue Angels and Thunderbirds have also been preparing for the season. The Blues “crested” many members of the 2016 team today at El Centro. The team has been flying practice flights at El Centro to get ready for the season. The Thunderbirds will fly their Creech AFB Appreciation Show on Tuesday, March 8th to thank the airmen of Creech for their support during the season. The Thunderbirds use Creech as a training airport.

The off season also gives us and many other aviation photographers a chance to catch up on photo editing, clean the camera, and just maybe get some new equipment! We’re ready for the season to start and excited to bring you coverage of this year’s airshow season. Stay here through the season for the latest in airshow news, photos, and videos!

In 2014, we did a RideAlong! onboard cockpit video with Kyle at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. Check out the video below!

2016 US Navy Leap Frogs Schedule

posted in: Military, Schedules | 2

Leap Frogs 2016 Schedule
The US Navy’s Parachute Team, the Leap Frogs have released their 2016 schedule. Will you see them at a show this year? Let us know on our Facebook page or in the comments below!

2016 Appearance Schedule

March 12 – El Centro Airshow

April 4 – San Diego, CA Padres Home Opener
April 11 – Phillies Home Opener
April 13-16 – Knoxville, TN Navy Week
April 17 – San Diego, CA Padres Military Opener
April 22-23 – Thunder over Louisville
April 30 – San Diego, CA SEAL Invitational

May 9-11 – St. Louis, MO Navy Week
May 12-13 – Newport, RI NAPS Graduation
May 20-22 – Roanoke-Lynchburg, VA Navy Week

June 17-19 – Dayton Air Show
June 21 – US Naval Academy

July 2-4 – Boston, MA
July 12 – San Diego, CA MLB All-Star Game
July 15 – San Diego, CA CA State Games
July 18-20 – Sioux Falls, SD Navy Week
July 22-25 – Cheyenne, WY Frontier Days

Aug 18-21 – Chicago Air and Water Show
Aug 26-28 – Boise, ID Navy Week

Sept 16-18 – Albuquerque, NM Navy Week
Sept 24-25 – Miramar Airshow
Sept 30- Oct 2 – Denver, CO Navy Week

Oct 7-9 – Fleet Week San Francisco
Oct 21-23 – Houston, TX Navy Week
Oct 29-30 – Arlington, VA 41st Marine Corps Marathon

Nov 4-6 – Ft. Pierce, FL SEAL Muster
Nov 4-6 – Stuart, FL Airshow
Nov 12 – Pasadena, CA UCLA vs .Oregon St.

Dec 9-10 – Baltimore, MD Army vs. Navy

Canadian Forces CF-18 Hornet Demo 2016 Schedule Released

posted in: Airshows, Military, Schedules | 4

Canadian Forces CF-18 Hornet Demonstration Team

Here is the 2016 airshow schedule for the Canadian Forces CF-18 Hornet demonstration team! Will you see them in 2016? Let us know! Post on our Facebook page and make sure you share pictures after the show!

2016 Appearance Schedule

Updated 2/28/16 – Latest updates are in bold

29-May 1 – MCAS Cherry Point, NC

7-8 – Fort Lauderdale, FL
11 – Cape Girardeau, MO
14-15 – Chesterfield, MO
21-22 – Shaw AFB, SC
28-29 – Columbia, MO

4 – Portage la Prairie, MB
8 – North Bay, ON
11-12 – CFB Borden, ON
15 – Quebec City, QC
18-19 – St. Thomas, ON
22 – Ypsilanti, MI
25-26 – CFB Trenton
30 – Gatineau, QC

1 – Ottawa, ON
2-4 – Traverse City, MI
9 – Yellowknife, NWT
13 – Flin Flon, MB
16-17 – CFB Cold Lake, AB
20 – Wetaskiwin, AB
23-24 – Whitecourt, AB
30-31 – Elmendorf, AK

6-7 – Edmonton, AB
10 – Nanaimo, BC
12-14 – Abbotsford, BC
20-21 – Miramachi, NB
27-28 – Charlio, NB
31 – Brantford, ON

3-5 – Toronto, ON
10-11 – Val D’Or, QC
17-18 – London, ON
24-25 – Santa Rosa, CA

1-2 – Sacramento, CA
8-9 – San Francisco, CA

US Army Golden Knights 2016 Schedule Released

posted in: Airshows, Military, Schedules | 2

US Army Golden Knights Parachute Demonstration Team

Here is the 2016 airshow schedule for the United States Army Golden Knights! Will you see them in 2016? Let us know! Post on our Facebook page and make sure you share pictures after the show!

Remember that there are two teams for the Golden Knights, some some dates list two shows. It is not clear at this time which team is performing where but we will add that info once we have it.

2-3 Luke AFB, Arizona
4-6 Lakeland, Florida
9-10 Mobile, Alabama
23-24 Langley AFB, Virginia

7-8 Manassas, Virginia
14-15 Sumter, South Carolina / Chesterfield, Missouri
21-22 Latrobe, Pennsylvania / Torrance, California

11-12 Syracuse, New York / Claremore, Oklahoma
18-19 Gaylord, Michigan / Rockford, Illinois
25-26 Hill AFB, Utah / Huntsville, Alabama

2-4 Battle Creek, Michigan / Dubuque, Iowa
9-10 Gary, Indiana / Duluth, Minnesota
16-17 Milwaukee, Wisconsin / Florennes, Belgium
23-24 Lock Haven, Pennsylvania
30-31 JB Elmendorf, Alaska

6-7 Seattle, Washington / Cranbrook, British Columbia
17 Atlantic City, New Jersey
20-21 Chicago, Illinois / JB Lewis-McChord, Washington

3-4 Cleveland, Ohio
10-11 Waukegan, Illinois / Sacramento, California / Sanicole/Kleine, Belgium
17-18 Durango, Colorado / Coshocton, Ohio
24-25 Salinas, California

1-2 Lincon, Alabama
8-9 Daytona Beach, Florida / Lincoln, California
29-30 Patuxent River, Virginia / San Juan, Puerto Rico

US Navy Blue Angels 2016 Airshow Schedules Released

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams, Schedules | 209

US Navy Blue Angels - Double Farvel

Here is the 2016 airshow schedule for the United States Navy Blue Angels! Will you see them in 2016? Let us know! Post on our Facebook page and make sure you share pictures after the show!

2016 Appearance Schedule
Updated 9/20/16 – Latest updates are in bold

March 12: NAF El Centro, CA
March 19-20: Lancaster, CA

April 2-3: NAS Key West, FL
April 9-10: NAS Kingsville, TX
April 16-17: Knoxville, TN
April 23-24: NAS Forth Worth JRB, TX
April 30-May 1: MCAS Cherry Point, NC

May 7-8: Lincoln, NE
May 14-15: St Louis, MO
May 21-22: Lynchburg, VA
May 25: US Naval Academy, MD
May 27: US Naval Academy, MD
May 28-29: Wantagh, NY

June 4-5: Smyrna, TN
June 11-12: Syracuse, NY
June 18-19: Dayton, OH
June 25-26: Vero Beach, FL

July 2-4: Traverse City, MI
July 9-10: Gary, IN
July 16: Pensacola Beach, FL
July 23-24: Sioux Falls, SD
July 30-31: JB Elmendorf, Anchorage, AK

August 6-7: Seattle, WA
August 20-21: TBD
August 27-28: TBD

September 3-5: Cleveland, OH
September 10-11: NAS Oceana, VA
September 17-18: Reno, NV
September 24-25: MCAS Miramar, CA

October 1-2: Sacramento, CA
October 8-9: San Francisco, CA
October 15-16: Baltimore, MD
October 22-23: Houston, TX
October 29-30: NAS Patuxent River, MD

November 5-6: Jacksonville Beach, FL
November 11-12: NAS Pensacola, FL

2017 Appearance Schedule

The 2017 dates were released on a preliminary basis and some are no longer accurate. Please see the updated schedule that was released more recently: US Navy Blue Angels 2017/2018 Airshow Schedules Released

Canadian Forces Snowbirds 2016 Airshow Schedule Released

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams, Schedules | 16

Canadian Forces Snowbirds

Here is the 2016 Canadian Forces Snowbirds schedule. Will you see them in 2016? Let us know! Post on our Facebook page and make sure you share pictures after the show!

2016 Appearance Schedule

Updated 2/28/16 – Latest updates are in bold

April 29 Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

May 7-8 – Fort Lauderdale, Florida
May 11 – Cape Girardeau, Missouri
May 14-15 – Chesterfield, Missouri
May 18 – Winston-Salem, North Carolina (Non-aerobatic display)
May 21-22 – Latrobe, Pennsylvania
May 28-29 – Jones Beach, New York

June 1 – Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
June 4 – Portage la Prairie, Manitoba
June 11-12 – Borden, Ontario
June 15 – Quebec City, Quebec
June 18-19 – St. Thomas, Ontario
June 22 – Ypsilanti, Michigan
June 25-26 – Trenton, Ontario
June 30 – Gatineau, Quebec

July 1 – Ottawa, Ontario
July 9- – Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
July 13 – Flin-Flon, Manitoba
July 16-17 – Cold Lake, Alberta
July 20 – Wetaskiwin, Alberta
July 23-24 – Whitecourt, Alberta
July 26 – Estevan, Saskatchewan
July 30-31 – Oshkosh, Wisconsin

August 10 – Nanaimo, British Columbia
August 13-14 – Abbotsford, British Columbia
August 20-21 – Miramachi, New Brunswick
August 23 – St. John’s, Newfoundland (Non-aerobatic display)
August 28 – Charlo, New Brunswick
August 31 – Brantford, Ontario

September 3-5 – Toronto, Ontario
September 6 – Whitby, Ontario
September 10-11 – Val d’Or, Quebec
September 14 – Collingwood, Ontario
September 17-18 – London, Ontario
September 24-25 – Sidney, Montana

October 1-2 – Owensboro, Kentucky
October 8-9 – Brunswick, Georgia
October 15 – Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

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