Quinte International Airshow, a biennial event held at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Trenton in Ontario, has been cancelled for 2018. The last show, which was hailed as a success, was held in 2016.
The Quinte International Airshow is hosted by 8 Wing Trenton and they are citing operational commitments as the reason for the cancellation of the 2018 airshow. 8 Wing operates several aircraft types from the CC-130 Hercules to the CC-144 Challenger, which is primarily used for VIP transport. The wing delivers humanitarian aid internationally and supports Canadian and Allied operations around the world.
It has been a busy time for the base this year, with operations assisting with the forest fires in British Columbia as well as assisting with the recent hurricanes in the Gulf and Caribbean. With those operational priorities in focus, the base made the difficult decision to call off the show for next year.
While the show is cancelled for 2018, 8 Wing Trenton is looking to work with community partners to potentially bring the Quinte International Air Show back again in the future.
Here is the full statement from 8 Wing Commander Colonel Mark Goulden on the airshow’s Facebook page:
Operations at 8 Wing Trenton is our priority, whether it be helping Canadians during disasters such as the British Columbia wildfires, delivering humanitarian aid internationally, or supplying Canadian Armed Forces missions around the world. It is with these operational commitments in mind that 8 Wing Trenton has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2018 Quinte International Air Show.
Potential for the future
While it is impossible to predict our operational tempo at 8 Wing for the future, 8 Wing Trenton will be looking to work with community partners to explore the possibility of bringing the Quinte International Air Show back in the future.
8 Wing Trenton is thankful for the tremendous support given to the Quinte International Air Show by sponsors and spectators. The support by our surrounding community is unparalled and that support allows us to execute the missions we are asked to do every day.
Gene McNeely, the slot pilot for AeroShell Aerobatic Team, performed his final air show on November 5th in Stuart, Florida. He had spent the last 24 years flying the slot position for AeroShell.
Gene got the flying bug as a kid. After serving in the United States Navy, he used his G.I. Bill to finish his ratings. He fell in love with the T-6 while watching fellow AeroShell pilot Steve Gustafson’s father, Merle, flying one at an airshow. Gene joined the AeroShell team, then known as the North American Aerobatic Team, for the 1994-1995 season, replacing the retiring Ben Cunningham. Back then, the show was a three-ship routine with Alan Henley and Steve Gustafson as the other pilots. The team became a four-ship when Alan’s brother Mark joined the team, and a few years later they became the AeroShell Aerobatic Team, now going down in history as one of the longest running civilian teams in the world.
Over his career, Gene has logged more than 26,000 hours of flight time doing just about anything you can imagine in aviation. He operated his own agricultural business for over twenty years. He also operated an air cargo service utilizing DC-3s, Beech 18s and MU-2s. Outside of air shows, Gene is active in the Reno Air Races where he races a T-6, and loves building homebuilt aircraft. His fondest memories, however, are the time he spent on the team, with their first night show ever at Oshkosh standing out in his memory.
From all of us at AirshowStuff.com, congratulations on your retirement Gene!
The United States Air Force Thunderbirds recently wrapped up back-to-back weekends in the state of Colorado, where they performed at the Pikes Peak Regional Airshow on September 23rd and 24th and the Grand Junction Airshow on September 30th and October 1st. During this stretch, we were able to capture a special look at some of the logistics involved in the teams travels and their procedures to ensure a perfect performance.
The Thunderbirds begin each show week on Wednesday at their home, Nellis AFB. Typically, Thunderbird #7 or #8 departs to the next show site to meet with airshow organizers to ensure everything is set up for the teams arrival. This includes things like transportation, lodging, temporary flight restrictions, and ramp security. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew pack up their equipment and prepare it for transport.
On Thursday, roughly one hour ahead of the demonstration pilots, the enlisted personnel and support officers arrive via C-17 or C-130 (“Thunderbird 14”). Once on the ground, they begin preparing for the upcoming airshow. Support crews unload the communication and maintenance trailers, spare equipment, luggage of all members traveling, and even a spare Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 engine.
Following the unloading of equipment and crew, flight operations start with the overhead arrival of Thunderbirds 1-6. Once at the show site the demonstration pilots conduct a survey of the area. This provides them with an opportunity to see the show lines, the crowd lines, and find points of reference on the ground. It’s really just an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the area so that they can fly a safe and well-executed show.
After all aircraft, equipment, and personnel are on the ground the jets are thoroughly checked for maintenance complications by the support personal while the officers meet with members of the media for plane-side interviews to help promote the event. This is a great way for local news channels to get people interested in the airshow. While this is taking place, Thunderbird #7 or #8 are in a pre-flight briefing with a lucky member of the media who was pre-selected to go up for a media ride and represent their news station. The media ride takes place in one of the team’s two-seat F-16D’s, which also serve as backup jets for the performances. During the flight, the pilot demonstrates maneuvers from the show routine to the media representative in the back seat.
Friday begins early in the morning, with most of the team participating in school visits, children’s hospital visits, and other such recruiting or community outreach opportunities. At the same time, aircraft specialists are at the airfield preparing the F-16’s for the afternoon practice demonstration. The Friday practice allows for the Thunderbirds to adjust for any complications or abnormalities they may have during the demonstration, whether it be timing, maneuvers, show lines, or narration. Once the afternoon rolls around it’s all hands on deck preparing for the practice show as if it were the real deal. In many ways it actually is the same, as the Thunderbirds and airshow organizers often invite distinguished guests and members of the media to the Friday show to hopefully give one last push to bring in the crowds on Saturday and Sunday.
The Friday practice in Grand Junction actually provided a unique opportunity to witness a Thunderbird mission that is rarely seen. During the performance, the demonstration pilots were shadowed by Thunderbird #7 Lt. Col Kevin “Lowen” Walsh flying a photo chase mission with a back seat photographer from the Thunderbirds Public Affairs Office. This is how the team gets amazing photos and videos of the diamond formation performing aerobatics, and it is not a common sight.
Though the practice may have looked flawless to any member of the general public, a rigorous debrief begins immediately afterward where the officers review ground recordings, HUD tapes, and other on-board footage recorded during the show. This allows them to grade themselves on their overall performance and tells them what they can clean up, improve on, and make better for Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday and Sunday begins, as we all know, with an early morning opening of the airshow gates, food, drinks, and hours family entertainment while the other airshow performers fly. During this time the Thunderbirds are preparing for their flight with a briefing, preflight checks, aircraft pushbacks, and communications checks. Everything funnels into the ability to provide the grand finale at the end of the day, thrilling thousands of excited fans.
Once the weekend is over the cycle resets. The team loads up to fly back to Nellis for a short bit of rest before starting again. It’s a constant fast-paced work environment that is often tasking on the team members and their families, but the rewards are extraordinary and every member of the team is always “happy to be here.”
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!
The twilight airshows at AirVenture are one of those “not to be missed” events. There’s just something about that time in the evening when the sun has gone down, but it’s still light enough out that makes for some spectacular scenes. It’s a favorite among airshow enthusiasts, and just in case you weren’t able to make it, or if you want to see it again, the AirshowStuff.com crew is bringing you a replay of the Saturday evening A-10 Warthog Demo. You get to see two A-10s from the 122nd Fighter Squadron of the Indiana Air National Guard, known as the Blacksnakes, do what Hawgs do best, and that’s bomb and strafe things! Assisted with pyro by the famous Tora Bomb Squad, this demo is an awesome sight!
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!
There’s nothing quite like the sight of an F-22 Raptor pulling a tight turn and squeezing the moisture out of the air with vapor rolling off the wings. In this video, the AirshowStuff.com crew proudly brings you the arrival of two US Air Force F-22 Raptors to EAA AirVenture. There’s no doubt the F-22 is one of the world’s most advanced fighters in the air today, with thrust vectoring and stealth capabilities. Who can resist the powerful roar of the two Pratt and Whitney F119 engines as the Raptor flexes its muscles and thunders past?
In this video, you’ll get to see these stars of the USAF perform multiple low approaches and flybys. See the afterburners kick in and the heat from the engines as the Raptors bank away, not to mention that awesome vapor flowing over the wings and fuselage. We hope you enjoy viewing this video as much as we enjoyed making it for you. So put on some aviators, put it on full screen, turn up the volume, and revel in the awesomeness of these F-22 Raptors at AirVenture!
Fat Albert is grounded once again. All KC-130T Hercules aircraft, used by the Marine Corps, have been grounded as a precaution after a KC-130 crashed earlier this month in Louisiana, killing 16. This includes Fat Albert, the support aircraft of the US Navy Blue Angels demonstration team that is performing at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh this weekend. Unfortunately she is not expected to fly in to Oshkosh or perform in the show. The team’s F/A-18 Hornets will still perform as planned.
Bert actually remains on the ground in Idaho Falls, ID, where the team performed last weekend. A US Navy C-40 Clipper (737) flew in to Oshkosh to deliver the team’s support staff and some equipment. There is no word on how long the stand down will last, but it indicates that there are concerns stemming from the crash that require further analysis. Fat Albert returned to airshows from a nearly year-long overhaul earlier this month.
EAA initially announced (and later reaffirmed) that all C-130s in the US military were grounded, but this was later proven to be false. Although we updated our posts as more information became available, we apologize for any confusion due to what should have been a reliable source.