Offutt AFB Cancels 2019 Airshow After Devastating Flooding

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams | 0
Offutt AFB Nebraska Flooding - March 2019 - AirshowStuff
Photo by US Stratcom / Twitter

The 2019 Defenders of Freedom Air & Space Show at Offutt Air Force Base has been canceled. The event was scheduled for June 1-2 and would have been headlined by the US Air Force Thunderbirds.

The base announced the cancellation today, in the midst of absolutely devastating floods that have taken over much of the base’s footprint and the surrounding area. Offutt is located just outside of Omaha, Nebraska, near the Missouri River. It is home to the US Strategic Command and plays a critical role in overseeing the country’s strategic forces, including nuclear forces. As many as 30 buildings on base were reportedly damaged, though thankfully the residential part of the installation is at a higher elevation.

Four people have died due to the floods so far, and thousands have been forced from their homes. The rebuilding effort will be massive, and it makes complete sense that the personnel stationed there will not be up for hosting a large public event in just a few months time. We wish them the best in the long road ahead.

There is no word yet on how this will impact the USAF Thunderbirds’ 2019 airshow schedule or where else the team might perform that weekend instead, but we will update our airshow calendar with that information when it becomes available.

Here is the full statement from the base:

The 2019 Defenders of Freedom Air & Space Show has been cancelled.

While the 55th Wing and our partner units are fully mission-capable, the recent flooding event affecting much of Nebraska has made hosting this year’s annual event untenable.

“The scope of this historic disaster has touched nearly every aspect of Nebraska including Offutt Air Force Base,” Col. Michael Manion, 55th Wing commander, said. “Assessing the impact to the base is ongoing and we will recover, but it is obvious it will be some time before we can return to normal operations or have the capacity to host an event like an air show and open house. We sincerely enjoy opening our gates to the public and appreciate the tremendous support we get from Bellevue, Omaha and the surrounding communities and are committed to continuing the open house and air show at the next available opportunity.”

No dates for future Defenders of Freedom shows have been set at this time. Anyone who has purchased premium “Flight Deck” seating will receive a full refund and no action is required by the purchasers.

For more information, call the 55th Wing Public Affairs office at (402) 294-3663.

2019 US Navy Legacy Flight Schedule Released

posted in: Military, Schedules, Warbirds | 3

US Navy Legacy Flight - AirshowStuff

The Navy Legacy Flight Foundation has released a schedule of their shows for 2019. However, not every show will include a Hornet or Super Hornet demo team aircraft in the flight. As we have previously discussed, the Legacy Flight program is being expanded this year to include E/A-18G Growlers, T-45 Goshawks, and T-6B Texan IIs aircraft flying with a similarly increased variety of civilian-owned warbirds.

Legacy Flights used to be fairly common, but ended in the sequestration budget cuts of 2013. They returned in a limited capacity in 2018, but only at a few shows since the Super Hornet demonstration teams had to cut their schedule way back. With the 2019 schedule for the Super Hornet demonstrations not looking much better, it’s great news that they Navy decided to expand the Legacy Flight program to other non-demo team units. This also adds a lot of variety for fans to see.

2019 Performance Schedule – US Navy Legacy Flights

March 15-17th: Space Coast Warbird Airshow – Titusville, FL
March 30-31st: NAS Key West Southernmost Air Spectacular – Key West, FL
March 30-31st: Melbourne Air and Space Show – Melbourne, FL

April 2-7th: SUN ‘n FUN Int’l Fly-In Expo – Lakeland, FL
April 6-7th: Heart of Texas Airshow – Waco, TX

May 3-5th: Central Texas Air Show – Temple, TX
May 10-12th: Chennault International Airshow – Lake Charles, LA
May 18-19th: Hangar 24 Air Fest – Redlands, CA
May 25-26th: Miami Beach Air and Sea Show – Miami, FL

June 1-2nd: Defenders of Freedom Air and Space Show – Offutt AFB, Bellevue, NE
June 15-16th: Wings over Northern Michigan – Gaylord, MI
June 22nd-23rd: Dayton Air Show – Dayton, OH
June 29-30th: National Cherry Festival Airshow – Traverse City MI
June 29-30th: Quad City Air Show – Davenport, IA

July 4th: Tacoma Freedom Fair and Air Show – Tacoma, WA
July 6-7th: Gig Harbor Wings and Wheels – Gig Harbor, WA
July 13-14th: Toledo Air Show – Toledo, OH
July 22-28th: EAA AirVenture Oshkosh – Oshkosh, WI

August 9-11th: Abbotsford International Airshow – Abbotsford, Canada
August 17-18th: Sioux Falls Air and Space Expo – Sioux Falls, SD
August 24-25th: Rochester International Airshow – Rochester, NY
August 31st- September 2nd: Cleveland National Airshow – Cleveland, OH

September 7th: National Illinois Airshow – Waukegan, IL
September 12-15th: Reno Air Races, – Reno, NV
September 21-22nd: NAS Oceana Airshow – Virginia Beach, VA

October 4-6th: The Great Pacific Airshow – Huntington Beach, CA
October 12-13th: Atlanta Airshow – Hampton, GA
October 19-20th: CAF Wins over Houston Airshow – Houston, TX

November 1-3rd: Florida International Airshow – Punta Gorda, FL
November 1-3rd: Stuart Airshow – Stuart, FL

Blue Angels Release 2019 Pensacola Practice Schedule

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams, Schedules | 6

US Navy Blue Angels - AirshowStuff

The US Navy Blue Angels have released their 2019 Pensacola practice schedule!

Although the team travels the country during the year, they return home to NAS Pensacola in Florida most weeks. In order to stay proficient in their demanding routine, they traditionally fly practice performances over the base on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during airshow season (March through November). Look below for their planned practice dates, but keep in mind that these can and do change as the year progresses due to things like weather or other circumstances. We will do our best to keep the list updated here and on our forums, but we can only pass on information as it is released.

Also be sure to check our airshow calendar for an extensive list of airshows and aviation events in the US and Canada, including all of the Blue Angel performances scheduled for 2019!

Practices typically begin at 11:30 am central time and last about 55 minutes. Public viewing is available at the National Naval Aviation Museum at no cost. The outside viewing area for the Blue Angels practice is located on the museum’s flight line north of the museum. Signs are posted to direct visitors to viewing and parking locations, including limited parking for handicapped visitors. Open bleacher seating is available and seats 1,000 people. A limited quantity of chairs are available for a fee of $3 per chair, good for that day’s practice session. Concessions (bottled water, sport drinks, light food, and treats) and merchandise are also available. Chair service, concessions, and merchandise are provided by the National Naval Aviation Museum Foundation and proceeds support the museum and foundation programs.

A valid ID is required for all visitors 16 and over to gain access to the museum flight line. Backpacks, daypacks, and other similar items are not allowed on the flight line.

2019 Blue Angels Pensacola Practice Schedule

MARCH 27 (Orientation flight only; not an actual flight demonstration)
APRIL 2, 3*, 9, 10*, 16, 17*, 18, 19, 23, 24*, 30
MAY 1*, 7, 14, 15*, 28, 29*
JUNE 4, 5*, 11, 12, 18, 19*, 20, 21, 25, 26*
JULY 2, 3, 16
AUGUST 7*, 8, 9, 13, 14, 20
SEPTEMBER 4*, 10, 11*, 12, 13, 17
OCTOBER 16*, 22, 23*, 29, 30*
NOVEMBER 5, 6, 7 (Practices are at 2:30pm for End of Season Week)

*Denotes autograph session following the practice inside the National Naval Aviation Museum.

Again, practices may be canceled due to weather or other circumstances without notice. Please contact the museum for last minute information.

New Photo Album – EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018

posted in: Airshows, AirshowStuff, Event Recap | 0

Ghostwriter Airshows at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 - AirshowStuff

A new album is now available in our photo gallery! This album is from EAA AirVenture 2018 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Check it out here: EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 – Ryan Sundheimer

Also be sure to check out our video playlist from the event!

BREAKING: US Navy Blue Angels Pilot Suffers Landing Mishap In El Centro

posted in: Jet Teams | 2

US Navy Blue Angels F-18 Hornet - AirshowStuff

An unnamed pilot of the US Navy Blue Angels was thankfully uninjured after a landing mishap at NAF El Centro today. The pilot was landing at the base when the aircraft’s main landing gear failed to extend properly. The pilot was able to make an emergency landing with the F-18 Hornet without injuring himself or anyone on the ground.

The incident is under investigation.

The Blue Angels are in the middle of their winter training period at El Centro. They use the base for their training flights every year because the remote location and good weather allow for excellent training conditions. Their airshow season is scheduled to start in March.

This incident should not impact the season, although they have struggled with aircraft availability in recent years after several major incidents grounded some of the jets assigned to the team. Depending on how severe the damage to the aircraft is, it may be grounded for some time.

The team will be transitioning to F/A-18E Super Hornets in the coming years, although no firm timetable for the change has been announced yet.

This is a breaking story with few details immediately available. We will bring you more information as it becomes known. You can join the discussion and look for more info in our forums.

New Photo Album – Airshow London 2018

posted in: Airshows, AirshowStuff, Event Recap | 0

A-10 Warthog at Airshow London 2018 - AirshowStuff

A new album is now available in our photo gallery! This album is from Airshow London 2018 in London, Ontario. Check it out here: Airshow London 2018 – Ryan Sundheimer

Also be sure to check out our video playlist from the event!

New Photo Album – Cleveland National Airshow 2018

posted in: Airshows, AirshowStuff, Event Recap | 0

P-51 Mustang and F-16 Fighting Falcon Heritage Flight - AirshowStuff

A new album is now available in our photo gallery! This album from the 2018 Cleveland National Airshow at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, OH. Check it out here: Cleveland National Airshow 2018 – Ryan Sundheimer

Also be sure to check out our video playlist from the event!

New Photo Albums – Terre Haute Airshow 2018

posted in: Airshows, AirshowStuff, Event Recap | 0

US Navy Blue Angels - AirshowStuff

Two new albums are now available in our photo gallery! These albums are from the 2018 Terre Haute Airshow in Terre Haute, IN. Check them out here:
Terre Haute Airshow 2018 – Ryan Sundheimer
Terre Haute Airshow 2018 – David Jacobson

Also be sure to check out our video playlist from the event!

ICAS Announces 2018 Airshow Award Winners

posted in: Miscellaneous | 0


Several stars of the airshow industry took home top honors at this year’s annual International Council of Airshows Convention in Las Vegas, NV.

SWORD OF EXCELLENCE

Julie Clark, known best for her patriotic red, white and blue T-34 act was awarded the Sword of Excellence, the airshow industry’s highest honor. This award is presented to a member who exemplifies outstanding service and personal contributions to the industry. The selection committee for the award is made up of a member of the board of directors, two past award recipients and two at-large members with at least 10 years of airshow experience.

A pilot for more than 45 years and a retired Northwest Airlines captain, Clark is rated in more than 66 types of aircraft. Her T-34 Mentor, named “Free Spirit”, is an icon of the industry and the center piece of her patriotic act with red, white, and blue smoke along with ground launched fireworks.

Clark, age 70, has previously won the Crystal Eagle award presented by the Aero Club of Northern California, and she was inducted into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame in 2016.

Also taking home the Sword of Excellence in 2018 was European Airshow Council Board Chairman Gilbert Buekenberghs. For the past 30 years, Gilbert has helped form and build the European Airshow Council, which is the sister organization to ICAS in Europe and North Africa. ICAS said that “from meeting planner, safety advocate and goodwill ambassador to publisher, politician and publicist, he did all that was necessary to build the EAC into an organization delivering significant benefits to its members and changing forever the trajectory of the entire European air show business.”

Clark and Buekenberghs are the 45th and 46th recipients of the awards since its inception.

ART SCHOLL MEMORIAL SHOWMANSHIP AWARD

The Art Scholl Memorial Showmanship award is given to an airshow act or performer that best exemplifies the qualities of showmanship demonstrated by Art Scholl. Scholl was a long-time and active ICAS member, known for his airshow performances but also for his many appearances in motion picture films, documentaries, and television commercials. Scholl died while filming such a flying sequence for the movie “Top Gun” off the coast of California in 1985.

The 2018 recipients were the Darnell family, for their innovations in the airshow industry through their jet powered vehicles. With a fleet that includes Shockwave, Aftershock and the Flash Fire Pickups, their jet acts have been seen by millions across the nation over the years. Neal, Chris, Marilyn, and Brooke Darnell were lauded for the multi-dimensional entertainment experience they bring to air shows, as well as their consistency, reliability, and professionalism.

2018 BOB HOOVER WINGMAN AWARD

Sue Gardner was presented with the Bob Hoover Wingman Award during the Chairman’s Banquet in recognition of her work as the FAA’s national aviation events specialist and principal policy liaison with the US air show community. As part of Sue’s job, she works with the industry to help establish a partnership between the FAA and the airshow community to help improve airshow safety without adding additional regulatory burden.

Specifically, the award presentation remarks noted her efforts to return air show aircraft to the air following the terrorist attacks of September, 2001, her contribution to efforts to harmonize US and Canadian air show policy, her commitment to institutionalizing the prohibition on aerobatic energy directed at the crowd, the major role she played in two major rewrites of FAA air show policy, and the collaborative approach she has brought to her position as national aviation events specialist.

2018 DICK SCHRAM MEMORIAL AWARD RECIPIENT

The MacDill Air Force Base open house was named the recipient of the Dick Schram Memorial Community Relations Award for the work that it did to combine a regional Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) Fair with its annual open house.

MacDill displayed 50 different STEAM exhibits for 1,300 students from 29 different schools on the Friday before their weekend show. Additionally, less than half the overall air show is now funded using government appropriated funds, due to a unique and successful partnership with local businesses.

The award is presented in honor of Dick Schram, a former Blue Angel who was an engaged member of the air show community before passing away unexpectedly in 1987. The award has now been presented to 30 different military facilities to recognize and showcase the work that they have done in using their air shows and open houses to strengthen relationships in the communities where the bases are located.

Walt Pierce Wingwalking Stearman - AirshowStuff

INDUCTIONS INTO THE AIR SHOW HALL OF FAME

The ICAS Foundation Air Show Hall of Fame welcomed event organizer Terry Grevious and performer Walt Pierce as its 66th and 67th members during ceremonies at the ICAS Convention.

Grevious helped launch the Muskegon Air Fair in 1984 and turned it into one of the most successful air shows in North America before assuming leadership of the Dayton Air Show in Dayton, Ohio. Grevious was cited for his innovation, strong management skills, and professionalism.

Walt Pierce was a well-respected wing walking pilot who performed all over the US and Canada in his Stearman biplane. He was recognized for his skills as an aviator and his professionalism during a career that began in the 1960s.

Congrats to all the 2018 award winners!

Rhode Island Airshow Canceled In 2019

posted in: Airshows, Schedules | 3

US Air Force Thunderbirds

The Rhode Island National Guard announced today that they are canceling their 2019 Open House and Airshow. Organizers determined that the planned deployment of troops in the coming months casts doubt on their ability to safely and effectively hold the event. The airshow is expected to return in 2020.

“Since the 1991 inception of the RING Open House Air Show, opening our doors to the public has been an annual highlight for our organization and its members,” Major Gen. Christopher Callahan said in a statement. “With this anticipated federal mobilization commitment in 2019, we have been presented with a difficult decision regarding our ability to safely and effectively conduct this public event.”

The news comes just days before the annual International Council of Airshows (ICAS) convention takes place in Las Vegas. The US Air Force Thunderbirds had been scheduled to appear at the show on June 29-30. The team has been planning to take a mid-summer break after that weekend before traveling to Colombia for an airshow in mid-July. Time will tell what airshow fills that spot, or if the mid-summer break gets extended or moved.

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