Flying With The Canadian Forces Snowbirds

Flying with the Canadian Forces Snowbirds - Cockpit Cam - AirshowStuff

I have always been a fan of the Canadian Snowbirds. When I was just getting into airshows, their spectacular bursts were unlike anything I had seen before. As I became more familiar with the industry, their large formation rolls where they pull over the top while pointing right at the crowd stuck out as even more unique. And when I eventually earned my pilot’s certificate and spent some time at formation clinics, I found myself astonished by the difficulty of their many different nine-plane formations.

Canadian Forces Snowbirds - AirshowStuffCanadian Forces Snowbirds - AirshowStuff

To this day, the Snowbirds are my absolute favorite airshow performance to watch, and one of the very few that I make sure to see at least once a year. One could say I feel a special connection to the team; they feature prominently in my most powerful airshow memories, and just hearing some of the songs they’ve flown to will bring goosebumps to my arms in an instant.

All of this is to say: when Snowbirds Public Affairs Officer Lt. Michèle Tremblay contacted AirshowStuff last month to talk about a media ride, it was more than just a cool opportunity. The catch was that I would have to get from Michigan to the Oregon International Airshow in Hillsboro, Oregon. Thankfully, the logistics were straight forward and less than two weeks later, I was descending past Mt. Hood on my way into Portland.

Canadian Forces Snowbirds - AirshowStuff
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds, also known as 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, have been Canada’s national display team since the 1970s. The team is based at CFB Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan, and travels across North America each year performing for millions of spectators. Their show season usually begins in May and runs through October. They make a number of visits to the US each year, usually in the spring and fall.

I actually beat the team to Hillsboro, and watched the #10 and #11 jets – the advance party – arrive in the Thursday afternoon sun. We got my quick medical check out of the way before the main group of nine jets arrived. The team’s support hauler, a specially-outfitted semi-trailer truck, was already in place. The truck brings all sorts of equipment for the team, including tools, spare parts, bicycles, a Gator four wheeler, and space for luggage that doesn’t fit into the relatively small CT-114 Tutor aircraft.

I knew that the team had performed on the East Coast (Virginia Beach, VA) the weekend before, and we heard how the Canadian Army driver had driven the truck all the way from there to the team’s home base in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan for a short three hour stop to reload before finishing the cross country journey. I was thankful for my airline ticket just thinking about it.

Canadian Forces Snowbirds - AirshowStuff
The Snowbirds perform in nine Canadair CT-114 Tutor aircraft. The Canadian-designed and -built Tutor first flew in 1960 and served as the Royal Canadian Air Force’s primary jet trainer until 2000. Two other Tutors, flown by the team coordinators, travel with the team as spares. Because each aircraft is a two-seater, the team’s technicians fly from show to show along with the pilots. Although the age of the jets is a common point of discussion among airshow fans, the team plans to operate them until at least 2030.

The rest of the team arrived with a nine ship flyby, and after a quick debriefing I was told to report the next morning for ejection seat training(!) and other preparations.

The big day arrived, and the four media riders went straight into learning the complex steps required to strap in, and the even more complex steps required to eject or evacuate on the ground. We grabbed flight suits, and were fitted for helmets, oxygen masks, life preservers, and parachutes by the helpful (and patient) technicians.

Flying with the Canadian Forces Snowbirds - AirshowStuffFlying with the Canadian Forces Snowbirds - AirshowStuff

Once we were all set, we went straight to the briefing room to meet the rest of the team and go over the details of the flight. As a dedicated media opportunity, the team was forgoing their typical Friday practice and instead planned a transit flight just for us. We would take off and head north, then turn west and follow the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean near Astoria, OR. After a flyby there, we would turn south and fly along the coast before turning inland and returning to Hillsboro. Upon arriving back at the airfield the team would perform a site survey to familiarize themselves with the showline and then land.

Unfortunately, the FAA rep at the show incorrectly but adamantly stated that aerobatics could not be performed with passengers. The team grumbled but accepted it. The rest of the briefing covered the weather (clear skies, unlimited visibility), air traffic control, divert airports, and other such details that well-prepared pilots pay attention to. I would be flying with Snowbird #4, Maj. Stephen “Pup” Melanson in the First Line Astern position, right behind the “Boss”.

Outside, we were introduced to the aircraft technicians who would be helping us strap in. Cameras were readied, and soon it was time to mount up. All of our prepared gear was waiting for us, and my awesome (and again, patient) tech Cpl. Brandon Harvey made sure to catch all of the steps I missed. In my defense, when you’re covered in straps and handles that turn on oxygen or deploy a parachute, you tend to double check what you’re pulling!

Pup joined me in the small side-by-side cockpit, and talked me through the startup procedure once all of the pilots had checked in. The jets lined up on the runway in three groups of three, with #6 and #7 on our wings as the middle group. Pup explained the sequence as we rolled down the runway together and all nine aircraft worked to form up on our northbound leg.

Canadian Forces Snowbirds - AirshowStuff
Flying smaller aircraft allows the team to operate out of smaller airports than the Blue Angels or Thunderbirds. This helps them reach many smaller cities and towns across Canada’s rural regions. The team frequently performs self-contained Wednesday evening shows in towns that don’t feature a full airshow. They strive to inspire the audience, share the many opportunities available to men and women in the Canadian military, and demonstrate the skill, professionalism, and teamwork behind their aviation excellence. During their trips to the US, the team acts as ambassadors for Canada and highlights the long friendship between the two countries.

The scenery was breathtaking. In the clear afternoon air, we could easily see Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, and even Mt. Rainier in the distance while haze filled the valleys below us. The team went through a couple of formation changes as Pup explained the spacing and alignments. Although we didn’t really move around ourselves, the #4 position gave me a great view of the other aircraft moving around on both sides of us. The changes were far more sudden and crisp than other formation flights I’ve been on, but at the same time controlled and smooth. I wouldn’t expect any different from some of the world’s best!

With smoke on, we gave a big sweeping flyover to the citizens of Longview, WA as we turned west. Each aircraft dropped into trail as we descended toward the river, which for the Snowbirds means a follow-the-leader line of nine jets, each with the freedom to maneuver as needed. Pup, knowing I fly, handed me the controls and let me slalom behind the pack ahead of us as we wound down the river. The controls were responsive but not touchy. I felt right at home and I can understand why the aging jet is still perfect for formation displays. The coolest part of the entire flight was when I pulled us into a turn and blasted right through the smoke trail of #3, bobbling slightly as we crossed his wake.

Sadly, my part only lasted a few minutes before we were called to rejoin – a maneuver that included a few violent whips and the hardest G of the flight, probably around 4 or 5. That was the tame version, Pup explained to me; the rejoins during the scripted show are even quicker and tighter.

Flying with the Canadian Forces Snowbirds - Cockpit Cam - AirshowStuffFlying with the Canadian Forces Snowbirds - Cockpit Cam - AirshowStuff

Back in formation, we did two flybys over Astoria, including a low pass down the runway there before proceeding south along the coast. This was another dose of beautiful scenery, with big bluffs and rocky islands as far down the shoreline as the eye could see. Boss put us into a big 360 degree turn right over Tillamook Rock so that the pilots on each side of the formation could take in the view while also staring at his jet.

We continued a little further south, with a couple more formation changes thrown in. The ocean fell behind us as we climbed up over the hills of the Tillamook State Forest – a bad place to eject, Pup pointed out to me. The team dropped back into trail, and descended into Hillsboro as a line of white dots against the evergreens. The site survey was a quick four passes over the airport, then Pup whipped us back into formation again for a final Big Diamond flyby. The team separated into three groups of three again, and set down smoothly on the runway. Our techs marshaled us into position, perfectly spaced and lined up. My Snowbirds flight had come to an end.

Flying with the Canadian Forces Snowbirds - AirshowStuffFlying with the Canadian Forces Snowbirds - AirshowStuff

I’m forever grateful to the team for the opportunity to join them and I give special thanks again to Lt. Michèle Tremblay, Maj. Stephen Melanson, and Cpl. Brandon Harvey for their help. If you missed it above, make sure you check out the video of my Snowbird flight!

– Ryan Sundheimer

The Snowbirds have wrapped up their 2018 season, but I highly encourage you to make plans for one of their shows once the 2019 schedule is released in early December. You will be able to find that right here on the AirshowStuff blog, or in our forums.

Aerobatic Pilot Killed During Night Airshow In Virginia

posted in: Airshows | 2

Jon Thocker - Redline Airshows

Aerobatic pilot Jon Thocker was killed in a crash while performing during the Friday night airshow at the 2018 Culpeper Air Fest in Culpeper, Virginia. Jon was the #2 pilot on the Redline Airshows team. The other Redline pilot, Ken Rieder, landed safely shortly after the incident. There is little information on what happened as the performance was flown in the dark.

Jon and Ken, both based in Cincinnati, Ohio, performed formation aerobatics across North America. Each pilot flew a Van’s RV-8 home-built aircraft. They were particularly known for their night time routine, which included sparklers and fireworks launched from the aircraft.

Jon was a former airline captain who retired to focus on building and flying experimental aircraft. The team recently finished building new airplanes with modifications designed to improve their night performances. We here at AirshowStuff were privileged to work with Jon several times in the last few years, and we are tremendously saddened by the loss of a great man.

One such project was this cockpit video from Jon’s aircraft several years ago. Enjoy the ride he was willing to share with us.

Blue Angels, Thunderbirds, And Snowbirds Combine For Incredible 21-Ship Mass Formation

posted in: Jet Teams, Popular Posts | 2

US Navy Blue Angels, USAF Thunderbirds, Canadian Forces Snowbirds Joint Formation Flight

In an historic moment, the US Navy Blue Angels, US Air Force Thunderbirds, and Canadian Forces Snowbirds joined together in a massive formation yesterday near Lake Erie. The three teams have crossed paths and flown jointly before, but this is believed to be the first and only time that all 21(!) display aircraft have shared the skies together.

US Navy Blue Angels, USAF Thunderbirds, Canadian Forces Snowbirds Joint Formation FlightUS Navy Blue Angels, USAF Thunderbirds, Canadian Forces Snowbirds Joint Formation Flight

US Navy Blue Angels, USAF Thunderbirds, Canadian Forces Snowbirds Joint Formation Flight

The flight was only possible because all three teams are performing relatively close to each other this Labor Day weekend. The Snowbirds and Thunderbirds are in Toronto, ON for the Canadian International Air Show while the Blue Angels are in Cleveland, OH for the Cleveland National Air Show.

US Navy Blue Angels, USAF Thunderbirds, Canadian Forces Snowbirds Joint Formation Flight

Photographer Glenn Watson captured the joint flight from the rear of the formation and all three teams shared these same photos on their social media pages. Hopefully more photos come out from another angle!

Vintage Airliner Crashes After Abbotsford Int’l Airshow

posted in: Airshows, Miscellaneous | 0

Historic Flight Foundation's DH.89 Dragon Rapide

A vintage aircraft crashed after the Abbotsford International Airshow on Saturday. The vintage biplane, a de Havilland DH.89 Dragon Rapide operated by the Historic Flight Foundation, was reportedly attempting to take off with a load of paying passengers Saturday evening when it experienced trouble and came down hard near the runway. At least five passengers were hurt and transported to hospitals, two via air ambulance. One person had to be freed from the wreckage.

The flight was not part of the airshow itself, and took place after the performances had concluded for the day. Photos from the scene show the aircraft sitting with its nose in the dirt.

The aircraft is a vintage airliner from the 1930s, constructed largely of wood and fabric as was common at the time. It is a very recent addition to the Historic Flight Foundation’s collection. The HFF is based at Paine Field north of Seattle and operates a number of vintage aircraft including a Douglas DC-3, P-51 Mustang, and Supermarine Spitfire.

As usual, we have more information about the airshow and the incident on our forums.

Historic Flight Foundation's DH.89 Dragon Rapide

Update: Here is the full press release from the airshow, which states much of what we already know and adds the the airshow will continue as planned Sunday.

At 5:30 pm, shortly after the Airshow ended, Abbotsford International Airshow officials were notified of a crash on the Abbotsford International Airport runway. A 1930’s era biplane (deHaviland Dragon Rapide) crashed shortly after takeoff.

The occupants of the aircraft include the pilot and four adult passengers. All five on board have been taken to hospital by BC Ambulance Service by both air and road; three with non-life threatening injuries, one serious and one critical.

As the Abbotsford International Airshow has just completed for the day, many emergency resources were already in place and able to respond immediately.

The crash investigation is in the preliminary stages, and will be conducted by the Transportation Safety Board. Further enquiries regarding the crash are to be forwarded to the Transportation Safety Board.

At this time the Airport is closed and will be expected to reopen this evening around 9:00 pm. Further enquiries regarding Abbotsford Airport Operations are to be forwarded to the Airport Manager.

The Airshow will proceed as scheduled on Sunday.

WATCH: Must See Videos From EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018

posted in: Airshows, Event Recap | 1

B-1 Takeoff

The annual EAA AirVenture Oshkosh airshow is well underway and the week has already provided some awesome highlights.

On Monday, the F7F Tigercats flew. Unfortunately, upon landing, one of them encountered a gear issue, but we’ve heard the aircraft has been fully repaired since then.

Tuesday featured the departure of the Honeywell Flying Testbed 757. This unique aircraft is used for in flight testing and includes a special third engine mounted to the fuselage.

On Wednesday, the US Navy Blue Angels performed a flyover and several delta passes to kickoff the show. This came as a surprise to many- including announcer Rob Reider, who was singing the anthem.

While the night show on Wednesday was cancelled (rescheduled for Thu), the B-1 still put on a show. The Bone took off shortly after 8:15, in full afterburner and climbed while circling the airport in full burner!

On Thursday, two F-35 Lightnings arrived during the airshow. They were able to negotiate a few low approaches- much to the delight of the crowd.

Friday’s show includes several military arrivals- including F-15s and F-22s. We’ll be sure to post the videos soon!

Look for more EAA AirVenture content in the coming weeks on our YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Daily Airshow Schedule For EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018

posted in: Airshows | 1

USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016

The Experimental Aircraft Association has released the daily airshow schedule for EAA AirVenture 2018! Take a look below and see some of the awesome aircraft and performances that will be taking place.

Noteworthy inclusions on the schedule:

  • Monday will feature “FLS Microjet and Cri Cri with Ford vehicle drifting”, an unusual combination that will surely be something not seen before.
  • Tuesday is the premiere of the SureFly octocopter and the Yak-110, a custom-built jet- and prop-powered aircraft made from two Yak-55s.
  • The Wednesday twilight show will feature the B-1B Lancer, which stole the 2017 airshow with its vapor-filled flybys!
  • Thursday is dedicated to “Early Jets”, so it’s safe to assume the warbirds segment will include the Gloster Meteor as well as the Vampire, Venom, and other jet warbirds.
  • Friday will include an Air National Guard flyover by a KC-135 and F-16s, undoubtedly from local Wisconsin units.
  • The Saturday twilight show marks the appearance of the E-4B Nightwatch, a modified 747 that serves as an airborne command post and is very rarely seen at airshows.
  • Sunday will also feature the E-4B, as well as the usual aerobatic performers and demonstrations by both the C-17 Globemaster III and F-16 Fighting Falcon.

Other highlights aren’t specifically called out on the schedule; two Grumman F7F Tiger Cats will be at the show along with an ultra-rare XP-82 Twin Mustang and a newly restored P-51C “Lope’s Hope”. Oshkosh is also expected to be the first appearance of the P-51 Mustang “Moonbeam McSwine” after it was brought back to the US as a tribute to Vlado Lenoch. These will hopefully fly during the various warbird segments.

Keep an eye to our forums for more information as other announcements are made, and join the conversation there to let us know what you’re most looking forward to seeing! Also, make sure to check out our mega-compilation video from AirVenture 2017 at the bottom of this post. It’s four and a half hours of airshow action!

Full EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 Daily Airshow Schedule

Monday, July 23, 2018 – Opening Day, Ford Day

2:30-6 p.m.: Patriot Parachute Team, FLS Microjet and Cri Cri with Ford vehicle drifting, Warbirds of America arrival show, Matt Chapman (Extra 330LX), David Martin (Beechcraft Baron), Jessy Panzer (Pitts Special), seaplane fly-overs, Kyle Franklin (Kitfox S7 Speedster), Luca Bertossio (Swift S1 glider), various RVs, Jerry Kerby (RV-8A Wild Blue), Bill Stein (Edge 540), Matt Younkin (Twin Beech 18), Greg Koontz (Piper Cub), Aeroshell Aerobatic Team (T-6 Texans), Rob Holland (MX2)

8 p.m.: World War I – various WWI aircraft

8 p.m.: Twilight Flight Fest at the Fun Fly Zone – EAA STOL Invitational flying, Paradigm Aerobatic Team, Patriot Parachute Team, 3D RC flying (fixed-wing, helicopter)

8 p.m.: Hot Air Balloon Glow just off Boeing Plaza

Tuesday, July 24, 2018 – Innovations Day, RAF 100th Anniversary, T-6, SNJ, and Harvard 80th Anniversary

2:30-6 p.m.: Patriot Parachute Team, Sean D. Tucker (Oracle Challenger III), Philipp Steinbach (GameBird 1), Workhorse SureFly octocopter, Boeing 757, Jeff Boerboon (Yak-110), Homebuilts Review, Kyle Fowler (Rutan Long-EZ), Warbirds of America show including NATA 80th), Greg Koontz (Super Decathlon), Bob Carlton (SubSonex JSX-2), Manfred Radius (Salto Sailplane), Kyle Franklin (Dracula), 2018 Bill Barber Award Winner Greg Shelton, Royal Air Force 100th anniversary (various RAF aircraft), KC-10 and C-5 arrival

8 p.m.: World War I – various WWI aircraft

8 p.m.: Twilight Flight Fest at the Fun Fly Zone – EAA STOL Invitational flying, Paradigm Aerobatic Team, Patriot Parachute Team, 3D RC flying (fixed-wing, helicopter)

Wednesday, July 25, 2018 – WomenVenture, Skydiving

2:30-6 p.m.: Red Bull Air Force (Edge 540, MBB Bo 105 helicopter, wingsuits), International Skydiving Museum Eagles mass jump, Vicky Benzing (Extra 300L), Jessy Panzer (Pitts Special), Gene Soucy and Teresa Stokes (Grumman Showcat wing walking), Patty Wagstaff (Extra 300LX), Warbirds of America show, Geico Skytypers, Matt Younkin (Twin Beech 18), Jim Peitz (Beech Bonanza), Mike Goulian (Extra 330SC), Patriot Parachute Team/Bill Stein/Rob Holland, Vertical Elite skydivers, KC-135, U.S Air Force Heritage Flight (F-16 and P-51)

8 p.m. (night air show): Patriot Parachute Team, Ford vehicle drifting, International Skydiving Museum Eagles mass jump, B-1B, Red Bull Air Force (Edge 540, MBB Bo 105 helicopter, wingsuits), Paradigm Aerobatic Team (powered paragliders), Aeroshell Aerobatic Team (T-6 Texans), Luca Bertossio (Swift S1 glider), Bob Carlton (SubSonex JSX-2), Vertical Elite skydivers, Gene Soucy (Firecat), Patriot Parachute Team, Matt Younkin (Twin Beech 18), Redline Airshows (RV-8s), fireworks and wall of fire

Thursday, July 26, 2018 – Early Jets

2:30-6 p.m.: Patriot Parachute Team, Falcon Flight (various RVs), Kyle Fowler (Rutan Long-EZ), Jeff Bourbon (Yak-110), Sean D. Tucker (Oracle Challenger III), Vintage Review, Kevin Coleman (Extra 300 SHP), David Martin (Beechcraft Baron), FLS Microjet and Cri Cri with Ford vehicle drifting, Philipp Steinbach (GameBird 1), Canadian Harvard Aerobatic Team, Red Bull Air Force (Edge 540, MBB Bo 105 helicopter, wingsuits), Early Jets, Warbirds of America show, U.S Air Force Heritage Flight (F-16 and P-51), U.S. Air Force. C-17 demo

8 p.m.: World War I – various WWI aircraft

8 p.m.: Twilight Flight Fest at the Fun Fly Zone – EAA STOL Invitational flying, Paradigm Aerobatic Team, Red Bull Air Force, Patriot Parachute Demo Team, 3D RC flying (fixed, helicopter)

Friday, July 27, 2018 –Salute to Veterans Day, World War I 100th Anniversary

2:30-6 p.m.: Patriot Parachute Team, KC-135 and F-16 Air National Guard flyover, Canadian Harvard Aerobatic Team, Geico Skytypers, Aeroshell Aerobatic Team (T-6 Texans), Trojan Thunder (T-28 Trojans), Warbirds of America show, Patty Wagstaff (Extra 300LX), Red Bull Air Force (Edge 540, MBB Bo 105 helicopter, wingsuits), FLS Microjet and Ford vehicle drifting, Skip Stewart (Prometheus 2), Gene Soucy (Grumman Showcat), Jim Peitz (Beech Bonanza), U.S. Air Force C-17 demo, U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight (F-16 and P-51)

6:05 p.m.: Old Glory Yellow Ribbon Honor Flight Arrival

8 p.m.: World War I – various WWI aircraft

8 p.m.: Twilight Flight Fest at the Fun Fly Zone – EAA STOL Invitational flying, Paradigm Aerobatic Team, Red Bull Air Force, Patriot Parachute Team, 3D RC flying (fixed-wing, helicopter)

Saturday, July 28, 2018 – Year of the Tanker, Air Force Reserve 70th Anniversary

6 a.m.: Hot Air Balloon Launch at the Ultralight Runway

2:30-6 p.m.: Patriot Parachute Team, Mike Goulian (Extra 330SC), Jim Peitz (Beech Bonanza), Yak-110 and Ford vehicle drifting, Red Bull Air Force (Edge 540, MBB Bo 105 helicopter, wingsuits), Geico Skytypers, Warbirds of America show, Class of ’45 with Jim Tobul and Scott Yoak (Corsair and Mustang), Air Force Reserve Command anniversary, U.S. Air Force C-17 demo, Sean D. Tucker (Oracle Challenger III)

8 p.m. (night air show): Patriot Parachute Demo Team, E-4B, U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight (F-16 and P-51), Cri Cri and Ford vehicle drifting, Paradigm Aerobatic Team (powered paragliding), Aeroshell Aerobatic Team (T-6 Texans), Luca Bertossio (Swift S1 glider), Jerry Kerby (RV-8A Wild Blue), Bob Carlton (SubSonex JSX-2), Twin Tigers (Yak-55), Gene Soucy (Firecat), Nate Hammond (de Havilland Chipmunk), Redline Airshows (RV-8), fireworks and wall of fire

Sunday, July 29, 2018

1-4:30 p.m.: Patriot Parachute Team, U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight (F-16 and P-51), Kyle Franklin (Kitfox S7 Speedster), Mike Goulian (Extra 330SC), Kyle Fowler (Rutan Long-EZ), Skip Stewart (Prometheus 2), Trojan Thunder (T-28 Trojans), Rob Holland (MX2), David Martin (Beechcraft Baron), Kevin Coleman (Extra 300 SHP), E-4B, Redline Airshows, Chapman (Extra 330LX), Luca Bertossio (Swift S1 glider), Vicky Benzing (Extra 300L), Canadian Harvard Aerobatic Team, Bill Stein (Edge 540), U.S. Air Force C-17 demo, Scott Yoak (P-51 Mustang Quicksilver)

Greg Shelton To Be Awarded 2018 Bill Barber Award For Showmanship

posted in: Aerobatics, Miscellaneous | 0

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.

Dan Buchanan Killed In Hang Glider Accident At Mountain Home AFB Airshow

posted in: Airshows | 3

An accident at an airshow in Idaho has killed hang glider pilot Dan Buchanan.

Buchanan was flying at the Gunfighter Skies Air and Space Celebration at Mountain Home Air Force Base.

At this time, the cause of the crash is unknown.

The remainder of Saturday’s show, including the performance by the USAF Thunderbirds, was canceled. Sunday’s airshow will be held, as a tribute to Dan.

In 1981, Buchanan was injured in a different hang glider incident. That accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. Despite this handicap, Dan returned to flying within six months and flew his first airshow in 1989.

Buchanan was a popular performer on the airshow circuit, with his daytime and nighttime glider routines. Over the years his awards and accolades have included the Art Scholl Award for Showmanship, the Bill Barber Award for Showmanship and the ICAS Special Achievement Award.

Follow along in our forums for further updates.

Canadian Snowbirds Visit Blue Angels, Perform In Pensacola

posted in: Jet Teams | 1

Snowbirds and Blue Angels at Pensacola

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds made a visit to NAS Pensacola, home of the US Navy Blue Angels, ahead of their show in Anderson, SC.

The team arrived Sunday night, and joined the Blues in ‘buzzing the beach’, their tradition when returning home from a show. Because the Snowbirds were low on fuel, the teams did not join up but flew along the white sandy beaches of Pensacola at the same time.

Fans in the area also got a special treat during the week from the Canadian team as they practiced over the base. Traditionally, the Blue Angels practice during the week at Pensacola, with performances open to the public. To have two jet teams perform several times in one week was quite the show!

The teams took the opportunity to ride with each other and discuss best practices. Last year, the US Air Force Thunderbirds stopped by Pensacola for a similar visit.

The teams also took some time to sign autographs following their practice performance.

Snowbirds and Blue Angels Sign AutographsSnowbirds and Blue Angels at Pensacola

Snowbirds and Blue Angels Sign Autographs

Snowbirds and Blue Angels at Pensacola

Thunder In The Valley Airshow To Cease Operations Following 2018 Airshow

posted in: Airshows | 0

Thunder in the Valley Airshow Ceases Operations

The Thunder in the Valley airshow, held annually in Columbus, GA will not be returning in 2019.

The Board of Directors of the event announced that due to raising costs and a difficulty in obtaining sponsorship money, the event would not continue.

“We feel the air show competes with many other events for the same patrons’ time and money, as well as corporate sponsorship dollars. We’ve had great success for 21 years, and we believe the time is right to bring the show to an end,” Phaedra Childers, the event coordinator said.

The air show, which began in 1997 as a local fly-in, had grown to be one of the largest outdoor family events in the Chattahoochee Valley. An average of 10,000 guests per day attended the show each year. Over the show’s 21 year history, more than $1 million in donations have been donated back to Chattahoochee Valley youth organizations and charities from the profits the show collects.

The 2018 edition of the show was held in April and included performances by the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team, Viper Airshows, Kent Pietsch and others.

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