Historic Warbirds Return To Service, Transport Aid In Wake Of Hurricane Harvey

posted in: Popular Posts, Warbirds | 1

On Friday, August 25th, the eye of Hurricane Harvey, a strong category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 mph, made landfall near Rockport, TX. Over the next week, the center of Harvey would sit and spin over Texas, dropping 40-50 inches of rain! This amount of rain resulted in catastrophic and life threatening flooding across southeast Texas, including the Beaumont, TX area.

Beaumont sits about 1 hour and 15 minutes to the east of the Houston Metro. When Harvey’s rains hit, the town’s 118,000+ people were devastated. While most of the national media’s attention was on the Houston Metro, other areas in Texas were also struggling.

In Georgetown, TX, located outside of Austin, citizens started gathering supplies. A call went out for general aviation aircraft and pilots in the area to help take supplies down to Beaumont. The Commemorative Air Forces’s Highland Lakes Squadron, with their Douglas C-47 “Bluebonnet Belle”, answered that call.

The C-47 has a history of transporting important cargo. During World War II, the platform was used to carry jeeps, troops, or up to 6,000 pounds of other cargo. It was used by every branch of the US military and all of the major allied powers.

When Texas needed it, the C-47 stepped back into service – more than 70 years after the war that made the type famous. The cabin was loaded with diapers, food, and water before the aircraft launched on the hour and a half trip from Georgetown to Beaumont.

In a post on the Commemorative Air Force Facebook page, the CAF said, “When the Texas National Guard showed up with their Deuce and a half truck, we knew we had brought supplies to the right place. A troop of soldiers descended on the C-47 unloading box after box directly onto the military truck. This was only the first load of supplies and so long as there is a need the CAF is planning to help.”


Photos from David Oliver

The C-47 wasn’t the only aircraft that helped with Harvey relief. The B-25 Mitchell “Devil Dog”, also a CAF aircraft, transported supplies to impacted areas as well. These including, rather fittingly, 500 pounds of dog food for displaced pets.

Well done by these resilient old airframes and the volunteers that support, maintain, and fly them!

B-25 Devil Dog Aids Harvey Relief

Canadian Snowbirds Debut Special “Canada 150” Paint Scheme

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams | 0
RCAF Snowbirds CT-114 Tutor Canada 150 Paint Scheme
Photo courtesy of RCAF. Photo by Ken Lin.

The Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds demonstration team are upping the festivities for the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation with a special paint scheme of their own. The new paint on their Canadair CT-114 Tutor features the Canada 150 logo on the nose and wings with the underside of the aircraft featuring 150 crimson maple leaves mixed with the traditional red/white/blue colors of the Snowbirds scheme. Yet again, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have outdone themselves with a stunning display of patriotism and creativity.

RCAF Snowbirds CT-114 Tutor Canada 150 Paint Scheme
Photo courtesy of RCAF. Photo by Ken Lin.

The first public appearance of the new paint scheme will be Saturday July 1, as the Snowbirds join the similarly beautiful CF-18 Hornet demonstration jet and multiple other aircraft for a mass flyover of Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario as part of the Canada Day festivities. Should you miss that, the Snowbirds are next expected to fly at the Shoal Lake Airshow in Shoal Lake, Manitoba on July 12, followed shortly by the Lethbridge International Airshow in Lethbridge, Alberta.

We look forward to seeing this beautiful aircraft and commemoration on tour throughout the remaining show season!

Gathering Of Warbirds Returns To Waukesha In 2017

posted in: Airshows, Warbirds | 3

Gathering of Warbirds Waukesha

The Gathering of Warbirds in Waukesha, WI will return this month! This one day event is organized by the Wisconsin Wing of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) and will be held on Saturday, May 27th. This is a relaxed, smaller event where you can wander the ramp to get up close and personal with a wide variety of aircraft, many based at the airport. Last year featured types from Stearman biplanes to T-6 Texans to a P-51 Mustang and P-40 Warhawk – you can see them all in our Gathering of Warbirds 2016 photo gallery.

Gathering of Warbirds WaukeshaGathering of Warbirds Waukesha

The event runs from 10am to 4pm, and flying is expected sporadically throughout the day. It is not an airshow, and there are no designated performances, but the pilots will be eager to do some flybys. Highlights this year include the B-25 Mitchell bomber “Miss Mitchell”, Brad Deckert’s TBM Avenger, and the MiG-17 Fresco and F-86 Sabre from our friends at MiG Alley Airshows. Organizers are hopeful that the Royal Canadian Air Force will bring in a C-130 Hercules for static display as well.

Gathering of Warbirds WaukeshaGathering of Warbirds Waukesha

Those wanting to take part in the flying can purchase rides in the B-25 bomber or a BT-13 trainer aircraft. More details are available on the Gathering of Warbirds website.

B-25 Mitchell "Miss Mitchell"Vultee BT-13 Valiant

From the event’s website:

Airplanes dating back to World War II and the Korean War will be in the air over Waukesha and on the ground at the Waukesha County Airport.

​This second annual Gathering of Warbirds will honor veterans and the 75th Anniversary of the 1942 Doolittle Raid on Tokyo, which was the first strike to hit the Japanese home islands in World War II.

The Gathering of Warbirds is a family-friendly event featuring historic and modern military aircraft, aircraft tours and rides, and education activities for all ages. It’s aimed at anyone who enjoys seeing historic and modern military aircraft and fighter jets fly throughout the day.

Aircraft presentations and tours will provide hands-on opportunities for families and aviation history buffs alike. Miss Mitchell, a restored B-25 Mitchell and the type of aircraft used in the Doolittle Raid, will be at the event and will offer tours and flight experiences. The event will also honor veterans with a free hat presented to the first 200 veterans who attend.

Entrance fee is $15 per vehicle (cash only), which includes entrance for everyone in the vehicle. Park in Waukesha County Expo Center. Handicap parking will be available. Please no pets or smoking on the grounds of the event.

EAA AirVenture 2017 To Feature The Only Two B-29s Still Flying – “Doc” and “FIFI” Confirmed For Oshkosh!

posted in: Airshows, Warbirds | 3

Boeing B-29 Superfortress "FIFI" and Fireworks - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

This year’s EAA AirVenture is set to feature not one but TWO flying B-29 Superfortresses. That’s right, both “FIFI” and “Doc”, the only flying B-29s in the world, are planning to attend!

Earlier today, Doc’s Friends, the group behind the aircraft, announced four stops on the first half of Doc’s planned 2017 tour. Doc recently completed ‘phase one’ of the initial flight testing program following a lengthy restoration in Kansas, which allows it to be flown to airshows. These events will be important fundraising opportunities for the group, and an exciting opportunity for fans to see a ‘new’ and extremely rare aircraft. Be sure to check our forums for the other dates and updates at the rest of the schedule is announced!

Boeing B-29 Superfortress "Doc"Boeing B-29 Superfortress "FIFI"

The Commemorative Air Force had previously released a partial schedule for their B-29, FIFI. FIFI is authorized to give rides, and tours the country each year to raise money for the organization.

The two aircraft will cross paths in Oshkosh, WI this July 24-30, during the massive EAA AirVenture airshow. We look forward to bringing you the sights and sounds of this amazing meetup between the only airworthy B-29s!

Update: Eagle-eyed fans have pointed out that these aircraft will actually cross paths earlier in the year, as both are scheduled to attend the airshow at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana in May! This summer will be very exciting for B-29 fans!

“Doc” photo courtesy of Doc’s Friends

Heavy Bombers Weekend 2016 – Janesville, WI

B-17 Flying Fortress - Heavy Bombers Weekend 2016

View the full photo gallery: Heavy Bombers Weekend 2016 – Janesville, WI – Ryan Sundheimer

The 2016 edition of Heavy Bombers Weekend was held at the Southwest Wisconsin Regional Airport in Janesville, WI. The fly-in is a popular stop for warbirds traveling to the EAA AirVenture airshow in Oshkosh. Even on the opening day of the event, many different aircraft were on hand to take passengers for rides, including EAA’s B-17 Flying Fortress “Aluminum Overcast”, the Commemorative Air Force’s B-29 Superfortress “FIFI”, and the P-51 Mustang “Gunfighter”. Ground tours were included in the price of admission, giving all of the attendees a chance to touch and feel history. The event plans to shift back to its previous home in Madison, WI in 2017 and alternate between the two airports each year.

Check out our coverage of the 2015 Heavy Bombers Weekend as well!

New Photo Album – Waukesha Gathering Of Warbirds 2016

posted in: AirshowStuff, Event Recap, Warbirds | 0

MiG-17 Fresco - Afterburner Takeoff

A new album is now available in our photo gallery! Check it out here: Gathering of Warbirds 2016 – Waukesha, WI – Ryan Sundheimer

The 2016 Gathering of Warbirds in Waukesha, WI brought together many different warbirds for a public open house. The warbirds included a P-40 Warhawk, P-51 Mustang, MiG-17 Fresco, T-37 Tweet, T-28 Trojan, De Havilland Chipmunk, T-34 Mentor, two F-86 Sabres, and more. A C-130 Hercules and King Air from the Royal Canadian Air Force were also on display.

CAF Announces New “Prowlers Of The Pacific” Airshow Act For 2017 Season

posted in: Warbirds | 0
Curtiss SB2C Helldiver - Prowlers of the Pacific
Photos courtesy of the Commemorative Air Force

The Commemorative Air Force announced a new airshow act today that will debut during the 2017 show season. The act is titled “Prowlers of the Pacific” and will feature an ensemble cast of CAF aircraft in a performance designed to tell the story of WWII in the Pacific theater. The featured aircraft are a Goodyear FG-1D (F4U) Corsair, a Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless, a replica Nakajima B5N “Kate”, and the world’s only flying Curtiss SB2C Helldiver. Pyrotechnic effects and other CAF aircraft can be added to the act for an even larger performance. Look for more on the act at the 2016 ICAS convention and at www.ProwlersOfThePacific.com!

FG-1D (F4U) CorsairB5N Kate Replica

Here is the synopsis of the act from the press release:

The massive roar of the radial engines, the smoke trailing from an aerial dog fight and rare warbirds fighting will re-create the scene over the waters of the Pacific!

The story of the Prowlers of the Pacific begins on that fateful day in December, 1941. The war in the Pacific doesn’t take place over land and airfields are rare. The war takes place over millions of miles of ocean and the aircraft carriers become the chess pieces each side maneuvers. Each carrier was equipped with fighters, bombers and torpedo planes to do battle and we put you at the head of the task force with the Prowlers of the Pacific!

Prowlers includes the only flying SB2C Curtiss Helldiver and rare SBD Dauntless dive-bomber, the famous gull-winged Corsair fighter and a Japanese Kate (replica) torpedo bomber that represent the best of the Pacific War. Additional fighters, bombers and pyro-technics are available on request. The Prowlers of the Pacific exhibits the aerial warfare witnessed at The Battle of the Coral Sea and The Battle of Midway, two events that changed the course of the war in the Pacific.

B-29 Superfortress “Doc” Has Successful First Flight!

posted in: Warbirds | 3

B-29 Superfortress "Doc" First Flight

After a couple decades of hard work, the world gained a second flying B-29 Superfortress this morning when “Doc” took to the skies at McConnell AFB in Kansas. The Commemorative Air Force’s B-29 “Fifi” was previously the only flying example of the type. The first flight event was live streamed online for those not in the gathered crowd, and a replay can be viewed below for those who missed it. Now “Doc” will continue with a program of managed flight testing to fully prove all of the aircraft’s systems. If the timing works out, it may even be able to make an appearance at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh!

You can learn more about the project and help with the continued efforts here.

Video Highlight: Take A Ride In The B-25 Mitchell “Show Me”

posted in: Featured Videos, Warbirds | 0

B-25 Mitchell "Show Me"

One of the most popular portions of our Youtube channel is our series of on-board videos, which take you to unique vantage points on and in some of your favorite aircraft. We recently added two new videos to the collection, thanks to the help of the Commemorative Air Force’s Missouri Wing. We invite you to take a ride in their B-25 Mitchell “Show Me” at the 2016 Spirit of St Louis Airshow and STEM Expo.

The B-25 was one of three large WWII bombers, along with the B-29 Superfortress “FIFI” and the B-17 Flying Fortress “Texas Raiders”, to perform flybys together during the show. If you look closely in the video, you can even pick out the other aircraft flying ahead. We also filmed the flybys from the ground, so you can see all three incredible aircraft, and get a feel for the low passes each made.

The Missouri Wing offers flight experiences in “Show Me” as well as their TBM Avenger, which we had the privilege to ride in last month. If you want to experience living history and some awesome flying at the same time, please consider booking a seat on one of their flights!

B-25 Mitchell “Show Me” Cockpit View – Spirit of St Louis Airshow and STEM Expo 2016

B-25 Mitchell “Show Me” Turret View – Spirit of St Louis Airshow and STEM Expo 2016

B-29/B-17/B-25 Flybys – Spirit of St Louis Airshow and STEM Expo 2016

Thank you to the CAF Missouri Wing, and in particular Bob Lawrence and Matt Conrad for their assistance!

Flyovers Announced For The 100th Running Of The Indianapolis 500

posted in: Flyovers | 3

F-18 Hornets - Indy 500 Flyover 2016

Before the race car engines roar to life for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, the roar of airplanes will greet fans.

The first flyover will be a two ship formation of a Douglas SBD-5 and a P-51 Mustang. Both aircraft are from the Commemorative Air Force.

The second flyover will be a four ship of F/A-18 Hornets and E/A-18G Growlers from VFA-81 and VAQ-139. VFA-81 is based at NAS Oceana while VAQ-139 is home based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Washington State.

IMS President J. Douglas Boles said in a press release that, “This year’s flyovers will be thrilling, and represent the perfect blend of past and present we’re celebrating at the 100th Running of the Indy 500.”

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