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

posted in: Jet Teams, Popular Posts | 1

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!

USAF Thunderbirds Announce New Pilots and Officers for 2019

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams | 3

USAF Thunderbirds

The USAF Thunderbirds have announced the new pilots and officers for the 2019 show season.

Lt. Col. John Caldwell, 28th Test and Evaluation Squadron Commander, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will become Thunderbird No. 1, the squadron’s Commander/Leader. Caldwell will replace Lt. Col. Kevin Walsh.

Capt. Michael Brewer of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., has been selected as Thunderbird No. 3, the team’s Right Wing Pilot.

Maj. Whit Collins, the current Lead Solo Pilot, will transition to the Slot Pilot position as Thunderbird No. 4 in 2019.

The Thunderbirds will also have another female pilot in 2019! Capt. Michelle Curran of the 355th Fighter Squadron, located at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas, has been chosen as Thunderbird No. 6, the team’s Opposing Solo Pilot. This will be the first show season since 2014 with a female demonstration pilot on the team. Maj. Matt Kimmel, the current Opposing Solo Pilot, will transition to the Lead Solo position in 2019.

Capt. Michelle “Mace” Curran
Pic by Staff Sgt. Samantha Mathison

Maj. Jason Markzon, 35th Maintenance Operations Flight Commander and F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot assigned to the 13th Fighter Squadron, Misawa Air Base, Japan, will become Thunderbird No. 8, the team’s Advance Pilot and Narrator.

Lt. Col. (Dr.) Noel Colls, a flight surgeon and family practice resident assigned to the 60th Medical Operations Squadron Travis Air Force Base, Calif., will become Thunderbird No. 9, the team’s Flight Surgeon. As the team’s flight doctor, Lt. Col Colls will be responsible for the health and safety of the team and working with the pilots to ensure their flight readiness.

In a statement, the team’s current commander, Lt. Col Kevin Walsh said tThis year’s exceptional officer applicant pool reflects the incredible degree of talent, motivation and diversity that exists throughout our Air Force. It was a tough selection process, but ultimately these officers rose to the top. The Thunderbirds are proud to welcome these leaders aboard as they assume responsibility for showcasing the pride, precision and professionalism of more than 660,000 total force Airmen serving around the world.”

Officers on the Thunderbirds team serve two year tours of duty. By design, the position openings are staggered, allowing the squadron to maintain continuity of experience and leadership. In 2020, Thunderbird Nos. 2, 4, 6, 7, 10 and 12 will be replaced.

Congrats to all of the newly selected team members!

Pilot Killed, Two Others Injured When Rare de Havilland Venom Crashes On Takeoff In Wisconsin

posted in: Warbirds | 11

Marty Tibbitts Killed In DH-112 Venom Crash - Sheboygan WI

Pilot Marty Tibbitts was killed on Friday when his de Havilland DH-112 Venom aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff. Marty was on a formation training flight when the accident occurred. The aircraft crashed into a barn near the airport, killing dozens of livestock and injuring two people on the ground.

The Venom, along with a de Havilland Vampire and rare Gloster Meteor, was to be a featured performer at EAA AirVenture 2018 in Oshkosh, WI. All three are owned by the World Heritage Air Museum, based out of Detroit, Michigan. The formation training flight was in preparation for the show.

The Venom is a Cold War-era British jet which served with the Royal Air Force as a single-seat bomber and a two-seat night fighter. According to the World Heritage Air Museum, there are only 4-6 flying Venoms in the world, including the one they had. The aircraft was the only one of its type flying in the US.

Sadly, we filmed Marty flying the Venom just one week before the crash. We present this video in his memory. May he rest in peace.

Fat Albert May Return to Airshows This Weekend at Pensacola Beach

posted in: Jet Teams | 0

Fat Albert Returns to Shows at Pensacola Beach Airshow
Those attending the Pensacola Beach airshow this weekend may get to see a sight that has been missing from shows for quite awhile- Fat Albert!

Earlier this year, we reported on the potential of Bert returning to shows this summer. In an interview with NewsRadio 1620, Major Mark Montgomery said the team has been working really hard to get Bert ready to fly and they are very close.

Fat Albert and the rest of the Marine Corps C-130T Hercules fleet has been grounded since the 2017 crash of a C-130 in Mississippi that killed all 16 service members onboard. Before that, Bert missed airshows while undergoing an extensive overhaul. Ironically, she returned to shows at the Pensacola Beach airshow in 2017.

Major Montgomery says the team was not waiting for the opportunity to return in front of the home crowd- but it just kinda worked out this way with the timing.

Bert’s appearance won’t be a full airshow routine as she’s not been cleared for that, just yet. Since the air frame has not flown in almost a year, the team feels it is best to slowly ease into it, instead of throwing the aircraft through a high G performance without fully evaluating it. However, it certainly will be nice to see Bert back in the skies regardless!

If you’re heading to the show and snap some pictures, share them with us on our forums!

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)

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.

GEICO Skytypers Pilot Ken Johansen Killed In Long Island Crash

posted in: Airshows | 5

Geico Skytypers Crash - Ken Johansen

Ken Johansen, a member of the the GEICO Skytypers airshow team, was killed earlier today when his SNJ-2 aircraft crashed in Melville, NY on Long Island.

Witnesses say the aircraft encountered an issue in flight, leading to the crash. The crash site was in a residential area not far from the team’s home airport, the Republic Airport in Farmingdale, NY. Video taken immediately before the crash shows the aircraft in a spin as it approaches the ground.

Nobody on the ground was injured. The fire was quickly extinguished by local and airport fire crews.

GEICO Skytypers

Ken is a second generation Skytyper. His father, Bob is also on the team. Ken first flew with the Skytypers at the age of eight. The team’s website says he caught the aviation bug early in life from his father. Ken graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1989 and earned his Navy wings in 1991.

He went on to fly P-3 Orions on both coasts with VP-23 and VP-46. His career also took him to the Netherlands, where he flew P-3s with the Royal Netherlands Navy from 1996 to 1998. Ken opted to transition from active duty with the Navy and was quickly hired by TWA, where he flew MD-80s, 757s, and 767s. After giving up his active duty status, Ken was also hired by VR-52 in Willow Grove, PA, as a Navy Reserve Instruction Pilot flying DC-9s around the world. Recently, he was the Commanding Officer of VR-58 in Jacksonville, FL, flying C-40s (737-700s) throughout the world. He leaves behind a wife and two children.

An investigation is underway involving the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

The GEICO Skytypers are well known for their skytyping and airshow demonstrations. Using their WWII-era SNJ trainers, they create words in the sky the size of the Empire State Building.

The team performed last weekend at the Bethpage Airshow at Jones Beach, very close to the crash site, and was scheduled to perform this weekend at the NAS Patuxent River airshow in Maryland.

AirshowStuff extends our condolences to the family, friends, and teammates of Ken.

GEICO Skytypers Ribbon

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.

Planes Of Fame Airshow Lawsuit Settled; Popular Event Will Continue

posted in: Airshows, Museums | 1

P-51 Mustang "Spam Can/Dolly" - Planes of Fame Air Museum

The legal dispute between the Planes of Fame Air Museum, the Flying Tigers Aviation FBO, and the Yanks Air Museum has been settled.

The lawsuit, which aimed to end the popular Planes of Fame airshow put on by the museum, was initially filed immediately before the 2017 airshow. Several airport tenant companies alleged that the Planes of Fame Air Museum harmed their businesses by holding the show.

There was strong backlash from the aviation community against the suing companies, especially Yanks. Ultimately the 2017 airshow was allowed to proceed, but the dispute continued with an eye toward the 2018 airshow. Thankfully for aviation fans, all parties have now resolved their differences and pledged to work together to make any future airshows a success.

“We are happy to have reached an agreement so Planes of Fame Air Museum can bring to the aviation community one of the premier aviation events in the United States and the world,” stated Steve Hinton, president of Planes of Fame. “We are pleased that the tradition will continue as many in the aviation community from all over the world look forward to their annual trip to Chino for the air show.”

“Yanks Air Museum has the world’s largest collection of historic all-American aircraft. Yanks was created to share aviation history with everyone and we look forward to displaying and flying the museum’s aircraft at our home in Chino,” said Charles Nichols, founder of Yanks Air Museum.

“I’m glad we have settled the lawsuit and are looking forward to better serving the aviation community. I know with the additional support of Flying Tigers FBO and Yanks Air Museum, it will be the best air show ever and create a win-win for us all,” stated Michael Thayer, president of Flying Tigers.

The 2018 edition of the Planes of Fame Air Show is set for May 5th and 6th, 2018.

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