Has The 2018 Aviation Nation Airshow At Nellis AFB Been Cancelled?

posted in: Airshows, Schedules | 15

USAF Thunderbird F-16 Fighting Falcon - Aviation Nation Airshow

UPDATE: The show has been confirmed as canceled in 2018.

ORIGINAL POST: Rumors are swirling that the 2018 Aviation Nation airshow at Nellis AFB has been canceled after it was removed from both the ICAS and USAF Thunderbird 2018 airshow schedules. The show was previously scheduled for November 10-11 on both.

This is a stunning development for one of the best military airshows in the country. Nellis is the home base of the Thunderbirds, and serves as the home town end to their season each year. The show previously canceled in 2015, but that was due to runway construction. This may be the beginning of a move to hold the show every two years instead of annually. Another interesting note is that the Thunderbirds’ 2019 schedule now has Nellis scheduled one week later than originally planned.

We are working to confirm this news, and will provide any further information we get. In the mean time, join the discussion and add your own info on our forums!

EXCLUSIVE: Helmet Cam Footage Of Two F-4 Phantoms Over The Grand Canyon

posted in: Featured Videos, Military | 0

Phantom’s-Eye View!

It’s no secret that the F-4 Phantom is a favorite of airshow fans everywhere, but with 2016 being the final year for the venerable Phantom in the US military inventory, the opportunity to see one flying is now even more rare. Once it returns from maintenance, the Collings Foundation F-4 will be the only one flying in the US. Throughout the year, we here at AirshowStuff have covered the “Phantom Phinale” tour with photos, videos, and cockpit cameras. We are now excited to bring you this exclusive helmet-cam video of the last departure of the QF-4E Phantoms from Nellis Air Force Base after Aviation Nation 2016!

You get a pilot’s-eye view as Lt. Col. Ron “Elvis” King and Lt. Col. (Ret.) Jim “WAM” Harkins depart Nellis AFB back to Holloman AFB after their final airshow performance prior to the retirement ceremony in December. After a formation takeoff, you’ll see the two Phantoms meet up with a photoship T-33 for some brief formation flying before heading over the Grand Canyon. Once over the Grand Canyon, you’ll see the two Phantom pilots make the most of their flight with some playful flying over some of the most spectacular landscapes nature has to offer. You won’t see this footage anywhere else, so strap in to the cockpit, adjust your helmet, put the player on full screen, and enjoy this HD video to the fullest!

Check back later for some additional cockpit footage taken during the airshow!

-Justin Miner

SEE ALSO: F-4 Phantom II Demo and Heritage Flight with F-15 and P-51 – Dayton Airshow 2007

QF-4E Phantom IIF-4 Phantom Heritage Flight

2017 USAF A-10 Thunderbolt II Heritage Flight Schedule Released

posted in: Airshows, Military, Schedules | 2

US Air Force Heritage Flight - A-10 Thunderbolt II and P-38 Lightning

The US Air Force has released the 2017 airshow schedule for the A-10 Thunderbolt II Heritage Teams. As we announced in January, the A-10 “Warthog” will return to the airshow circuit in 2017 to participate in Air Force Heritage Flights at select show sites. The shows will be split between an East team from Moody AFB in Georgia and the West team from Davis-Monthan AFB in Arizona. In the past, the teams were approved to perform a three pass “mini-demo” at each show before the Heritage Flight, but we have not received confirmation if that practice will continue.

Will you see the Warthog in 2017? Let us know! Post on our Facebook page and in our forums, and make sure you share pictures after the show!

Also check out the rest of the 2017 airshow appearance schedules!

2017 Appearance Schedule – USAF A-10 Thunderbolt II Heritage Teams

March 25-26: Lancaster, CA (West Team)

April 7-9: Lakeland, FL – SUN ‘n FUN (East Team)
April 22: Louisville, KY (East Team)

May 6-7: Manassas, VA (East Team)
May 20-22: Seymour-Johnson AFB, NC (East Team)

June 17-18: Ocean City, MD (East Team)
June 24-25: Detroit, MI (West Team)

July 3: Dubuque, IA (East Team)
July 24-30: Oshkosh, WI – EAA AirVenture (East Team)

Aug 18-20: Chicago, IL (East Team)

Sept 9-10: Sacramento, CA (West Team)
Sept 13-16: Reno, NV (West Team)
Sept 23: USAFA Football Game, CO (West Team)
Sept 23-24: Colorado Springs, CO (West Team)
Sept 29-Oct 1: Salinas, CA (West Team)

Oct 7-8: San Francisco, CA (West Team)
Oct 14-15: Boise, ID (West Team)
Oct 21-22: Houston, TX (West Team)
Oct 28-29: Moody AFB, GA (East Team)

Nov 4-5: NAS Jacksonville, FL (East Team)
Nov 11-12: Nellis AFB, NV (West Team)

The Blue Angels And Thunderbirds Will Wrap Up Their 2016 Airshow Seasons This Weekend

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams | 0

US Navy Blue Angels

The US Navy Blue Angels and US Air Force Thunderbirds will both wrap up their 2016 airshow seasons this coming weekend with their respective homecoming shows. The Blue Angels will perform at NAS Pensacola in Florida while the Thunderbirds will wow their hometown crowd at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas. These shows mark the end of the major airshow season in the US; following the closing performances, the teams will begin preparing for their respective winter training periods and the 2017 season.

USAF Thunderbirds

While we have already posted preliminary schedules for both the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds, check back with us in early December when updated 2017 and preliminary 2018 schedules are released at the ICAS convention!

Have you been able to see the teams during the 2016 season? We’d love to see some fan photos of them posted to the AirshowStuff Facebook page!

Phantom Finale: The Last Remaining USAF F-4 Pilot On The End Of A Legend

USAF F-4 Phantom II Afterburner Takeoff

It goes without saying that the McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom II has had an incredible impact on American aviation, one that carries it into modern aviation legend. One of the most iconic aircraft ever built, nearly everyone involved with aviation and the military has a story relating to the F-4. Unfortunately this American classic is rapidly approaching its final days*, at least in the US.

In April of 1996, the last operational US Air Force/Air National Guard F-4 flight was conducted, marking the end of the Phantom II’s active career. It continued to serve its country as a remotely-piloted target drone, but now even that mission is coming to an end. We met up with likely the last ever USAF F-4 pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Ron “Elvis” King of the 82nd Aerial Target Squadron, Detachment 1, while he was displaying one of the 21 remaining Phantoms at the Spirit of St. Louis Air Show & STEM Expo on May 14-15 2016. Lt. Col. King was kind enough to talk with AirshowStuff about the status of the target drone program, flying the F-4, and his job overseeing the final days of the famed Phantom.

The 82nd ATS uses the QF-4 drones for full-scale aerial targets that test surface and air-to-air missiles, radar technologies, and other counter-air systems. With 21 QF-4s left in the fleet, their numbers will be dwindled down to none by the end of this year. Once the program phases out the QF-4s for the incoming Boeing-modified QF-16 Fighting Falcons, any remaining Phantoms will be de-militarized and trucked out to the bombing range in New Mexico to be used as ground targets. When asked about whether any of the aircraft will be available to museums, Lt. Col. King wasn’t able to specify, but he did mention that the QF-4Es are not a very desirable aircraft to museum collections due to the modifications.

Lt. Col. King is hoping to get the QF-4s out and around to air shows this year while they’re still around, but with only eight available aircraft and four pilots, the 82nd ATS is stretched thin for availability to attend public shows. He is looking at taking the QF-4 to EAA AirVenture, the Reno Air Races, Nellis AFB’s Aviation Nation, and the Sioux Falls Air Show later this year. Testing requirements and availability will be the ultimate determining factors in their attendance.

*The Collings Foundation does own and operate one airworthy F-4 Phantom in the US. Additionally, several foreign countries use them in active service.

For more information, watch the interview above and keep your eyes posted here and on our Facebook page!