Air Mobility Command has restructured their biennial exercise, formerly known as Air Mobility Rodeo (which last took place in 2011), into a new mission-focused exercise called Mobility Guardian. Originally a competitive event that challenged the best of United States Air Force and international teams in various mission-based competitions, Mobility Guardian has shifted to focus on training up new aircrews to be as versatile as other veteran forces. The event took place from July 31 to August 12, 2017 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, WA.
Mobility Guardian’s events are setup to be some of the most realistic, real-world, scenario-driven events AMC has undertaken yet. The exercise is designed to allow forces to develop and improve techniques and procedures that enhance air mobility operations and interoperability between US and allied forces. These include training for airlift, air refueling, aeromedical evacuation, and mobility support missions. This becomes especially important given that whether the nation is at war or in peacetime, the mobility units are constantly at work helping either the war effort or humanitarian missions, if not both simultaneously.
In an article by the 62nd Airlift Wing, Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Mobility Guardian Director Lt. Col. Daniel DeYoung said “Mobility Guardian provides us an opportunity to ‘train like we fight’ alongside our joint and international partners.” “It is a completely new exercise meant to enhance mobility partnerships and test the full spectrum of capabilities Air Mobility Command provides the nation.”
“Whereas Rodeo incentivized units to take their best performers from across the Air Force Specialty Code spectrum—operators, maintainers, medical and support Airmen—and give them extra ‘top-off’ training to prepare for the competition, Mobility Guardian participants will by design be the ‘average’ Airman, who will be tested to employ his or her skills to accomplish the mission laid out in the exercise scenario.”
Numerous nations came to observe and participate in the launch of this new exercise, with a handful bringing their own aircraft. The Royal Canadian Air Force dedicated a pair of their CC-130J Super Hercules’, while the Pāk Fizāʾiyah (Pakistan Air Force/PAF), Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF), Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), and Luchtcomponent (Belgian Air Component) flew in their C-130 Hercules aircraft, and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) brought their C-17 Globemaster IIIs and an Airbus KC-30A Voyager. The Royal Air Force (RAF) and Armée de l’air (French Air Force) both brought their latest aircraft, the Airbus A400M Atlas. Participating AMC units flew their C-130s, C-130J-30s, C-17s, KC-10 Extenders, and KC-135 Stratotankers from JBLM.
Other US military units participated in the aerial refueling training. Those include A-10 Thunderbolt IIs of the 124th Fighter Wing, Gowen Field Air National Guard Base, Idaho; US Navy E/A-18G Growlers of VA-129, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington.; F-15C Eagles of the 142nd FW, Portland Air National Guard Base, Oregon; F-16C Fighting Falcons and F-35 Lightning IIs assigned to Hill AFB, Utah; F-15E Strike Eagles of Mountain Home AFB, Idaho; and Air Force Global Strike Command B-2 Spirit and B-52 Stratofortress bombers.
According to Team McChord’s summary article, aircrews flew roughly 1,200 hours in eight days, finishing nearly 650 sorties. Tanker aircraft offloaded roughly 1.2 million pounds of fuel, aerial port personnel processed 3,676 passengers and 4,911 tons of equipment; and crews airdropped 356 paratroopers, 33 heavy platforms and nearly 300 Container Delivery System bundles.
We’d like to thank Air Mobility Command, the 62nd Airlift Wing, and Capt. Jacob Bailey for allowing us to come and tour the exercise at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
The Patrouille de France finished off their 2017 North American tour with a bang last week, when they joined the Canadian Force Snowbirds for a joint formation flight. The massive group of 19 aircraft passed over Parliament Hill in Ottawa, the nation’s capital, before overflying Montreal in Quebec.
The teams performed for one another the weekend prior, at the Aero 150 airshow in Gatineau. The French worked their way home following the flyovers, hopping across the North Atlantic. They are now back in France and will participate in the European airshow season.
The Patrouille were also able to fly with both the US Air Force Thunderbirds and US Navy Blue Angels during their tour, as well as performing at several airshows and enjoying photo flights over major US landmarks.
All photos courtesy of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds and Patrouille de France
The Patrouille de France has finished their 2017 tour of the United States, and the team is on its way north to Canada right now. The French have spent the last several days at the NATO Festival in Norfolk, Virginia and performed several flyovers of the city and surrounding area during their time there. The image above shows them flying over Kittyhawk, North Carolina and the Wright Brothers Memorial. Just out of view is where the first powered flight took place in 1903.
The Patrouille is due to perform at the Wings Over Gatineau airshow in Quebec today, then perform a joint flight with the Canadian Forces Snowbirds tomorrow over Parliament Hill on Ottawa. All ten Alpha Jets and their A400M support aircraft will then transit the North Atlantic back to Europe.
Top photo: Patrouille de France on Twitter
Bottom photo: Larry Ferdinande
The 2017 US Tour of the Patrouille de France has hit the West Coast! The team performed for one time only at Mather Airport in Sacramento, CA in the morning, then headed for a photo shoot with San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge in the evening. Spectators stood in awe as the eight-ship formation followed their supporting A400M Atlas transport/photoship on multiple flybys around the Bay Area. Two other Alpha Jets trailed the formation for more photos. These magnificent images from this flight really speak for themselves!
The Patrouille has previously flown photo missions over New York City and the Statue of Liberty as well the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. They also performed at several East Coast airshows and even stopped to visit the US Navy Blue Angels at their home base of NAS Pensacola. Their trip through North America is quickly coming to an end though, and they will be heading East again soon for several military-focused events before proceeding up through Canada and back home to France at the beginning of May.
All photos courtesy Armée de l’air
The Patrouille de France performed the first airshow routine of their North American tour this past weekend, and we were there to capture it! Check out this video of their entire show on the Friday practice day at the Melbourne Air and Space Show in Florida. Melbourne is one of just a handful of stops the team will make on their whirlwind tour through the US and Canada this month, and marks the first US performance by the team in more than 30 years.
The routine is a little shorter than those of the US Navy Blue Angels and US Air Force Thunderbirds, but contains all of the same exciting elements – formation aerobatics, opposing flybys, and nonstop action. Because the Patrouille perform with eight jets instead of six, they can put together some larger formations and utilize multiple groups of aircraft in a similar fashion to the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, who perform with nine CT-114 Tutors. The French team also makes use of red- and blue-colored smoke, which might not sound like much but adds to the performance significantly and is a rare sight here in the US.
As a special treat, the team’s Airbus A400M Atlas support aircraft also took to the skies for a few flybys. It is accompanying the team all throughout their tour to transport their crew and equipment, and can also serve as a photo platform during their planned flyovers of US landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty and New York City. This marked the first ever airshow performance by an A400M in the US and although it is far from the maximum performance company demonstration, it was an exciting addition to the lineup! You can check it out in the video below.
Fans at Thunder Over Michigan will have a special opportunity to see Europe’s newest cargo aircraft this summer. The German Air Force (Luftwaffe) will be bringing an Airbus A400M Atlas in for static display at the show. It will be the first North American airshow appearance for the aircraft, which has been in service since only 2014. The show has hosted a German C-160 Transall, which is being replaced by the A400M, in the past.
Thunder Over Michigan is an annual airshow organized to support the Yankee Air Museum. It is held at Willow Run airport near Detroit, MI, and typically boasts one of the strongest warbird lineups in the country. This year’s show will be held on Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2-4, and will feature the US Navy Blue Angels as the headline act. Warbirds and other performers are still in the works.
Hey AirshowStuff fans, all of our full photo albums from EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 have been updated with over 400 amazing photos to browse through! Check out some sample images below, and click the links to view the complete albums!
EAA AirVenture 2015 – Ryan Sundheimer
View full photo album: EAA AirVenture 2015 – Ryan Sundheimer
EAA AirVenture 2015 – Patrick Barron
View full photo album: EAA AirVenture 2015 – Patrick Barron
EAA AirVenture 2015 – Anthony Richards
View full photo album: EAA AirVenture 2015 – Anthony Richards
EAA AirVenture 2015 – David Jacobson
View full photo album: EAA AirVenture 2015 – David Jacobson
As part of Airbus’ demonstration tour, the new Airbus A350 XWB airliner made a stop at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh Monday. The result of this trip was many satisfied airshow fans!
After departing Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport in the early afternoon, the A350 made its way towards Oshkosh and the annual fly-in. The first pass was a low and slow approach, giving everyone the opportunity to see the aircraft in the landing configuration. The aircrew then did a sweet climb out followed by several more passes. These passes demonstrated the slow speed handling of the A350 and the turning radius.
After about 8 min of demonstration time, the aircrew finally set the new Airbus down on runway 36, utilizing reverse thrust to stop the aircraft at show center.
We’ve uploaded video of the full demonstration our Youtube Channel. Check it out!
EAA announced more exciting details about this years AirVenture today, and if you don’t have plans to attend already you may want to make them! The biggest news is that the Military Aviation Museum’s deHavilland DH-98 Mosquito will be making its first appearance in Oshkosh. The trip is relying on a IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign to help cover the costs of the trip. The campaign is seeking to raise $10,000 in the next 29 days and is offering some very neat perks for people who donate, including the opportunity to sit in the cockpit during an engine run up! The aircraft is one of only two flying in the world, but a non-flying example is housed in the EAA Museum in Oshkosh.
The other news is the Warbirds in Review schedule, which doesn’t seem all that major at first glance but opens up some details once you look a little closer. Tuesday will feature the Mosquito as well as the P-51B and P-51D Mustangs “Berlin Express” and “Sierra Sue”, both recent restorations that will compete for awards at the event. Wednesday lists Bob Hoover’s P-51 Mustang “Ole Yeller” along with a USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-22 Raptor. The F-16 says that its attendance is pending DOD approval, but the F-22 will be present for flying demonstrations so it should be good to go. Friday’s listing includes the F-100 Super Sabre, one of the previous exciting announcements made by EAA. The final notable entry is on Saturday, when the P-38 Lightning “Scat III” (formerly “Ruff Stuff”) and an F-4 Phantom II “Scat XXVII”, both named to honor ace pilot Robin Olds, will share the stage.
EAA also recently announced that the Airbus A350 will be attending the show and demonstrating its capabilities during the week. Airbus previously brought their A380 for some mind blowing performances in 2009, and Boeing brought their 787 Dreamliner in 2011.
This is truly shaping up to be one of the best AirVentures in recent memory and it is a little more than a month away!