Vucano Market - US Navy Blue Angels Towels (Officially Licensed)
Vucano Market - US Navy Blue Angels Towels (Officially Licensed)

New Photo Album – Cleveland National Airshow 2017

posted in: Airshows, AirshowStuff, Event Recap | 0

USAF Thunderbirds - Cleveland National Airshow 2017

A new album is now available in our photo gallery! Check it out here:
Cleveland National Airshow 2017 – Ryan Sundheimer

Also be sure to check out our videos from the show on our Youtube playlist:

WATCH: This Rare Super Hornet/Corsair Formation Showcases Decades Of Naval Aviation History

Visitors to the Cleveland National Airshow this past Labor Day weekend were treated to a special sight – a US Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet and World War II-era F4U Corsair flying together! The pair performed several formation flybys before landing, then taxied together at show center and folded their wings to show their common bond as carrier-based fighters. Check out the entire performance in our video above!

This sort of sight used to be fairly commonplace through the US Navy Tailhook Legacy Flight program, which is similar to the US Air Force’s Heritage Flight program. Unfortunately the budget cuts of recent years stopped not only the Legacy Flights, but also the Hornet demonstrations themselves. As the TACDEMO teams return to full prominence on the airshow circuit, there is hope that these formations can again be flown regularly.

Don’t forget to also watch our video of the full Super Hornet aerobatic demonstration from Cleveland!

In The Air With The 2016 US Army Golden Knights

posted in: Airshows, Military, Parachute Team | 0

US Army Golden Knights

The Golden Knights have been dazzling crowds and representing the US Army for over fifty-seven years. The Gold and Black demonstration teams traverse the United States each season, performing at airshows, festivals, fairs, baseball games, and other special events. These jumps are designed to connect the public with soldiers they may not see otherwise and to enhance the Army’s recruitment efforts.

During the 2016 season, AirshowStuff had the unique opportunity to go up in the Golden Knights’ jump plane for two of their parachute jumps, one at the Appalachian Fair in Tennessee and the other at the Cleveland National Airshow in Ohio. The experience is unlike any other ride you may take with an airshow performer. Why? The first reason has to do with temperature. When they tell you before your flight to bring a jacket with you, they’re not kidding.

The C-31A Troopships and DHC-6-400 Twin Otters that carry the Knights (and media representatives) both have large open doors to let the jumpers out. With no insulation or heat in the cabin, the temperature drops significantly as the aircraft climbs up jump altitude at 12,500 feet above the ground. Often times, the temperature is a chilly 40-50 degrees, even in the middle of summer! Combine that with a wicked wind blasting in the open doors, and you’re going to be shivering.

US Army Golden KnightsUS Army Golden Knights

The preparation for the demonstration begins long before the aircraft leaves the ground, though. Before the flight, the jumpers line up near the rear of the aircraft and are briefed on the mission. Any special tasks or potential issues are discussed. The team will also practice how they will line up after the jump to be introduced to the crowd.

US Army Golden Knights - C-31 TroopshipUS Army Golden Knights

About 45-50 minutes before time on target, the aircraft takes off with the crew stomping to pump themselves up. Once the aircraft is in the air, it begins to climb an altitude of 2,000 feet to execute the wind drift indicator drop. These wind drift indicators allow for a visualization of the winds in the lowest thousand feet above the ground, critical for a pinpoint drop zone landing. Once the indicators have been dropped and logged, the aircraft climbs to its target altitude. This all occurs 20-30 minutes before time on target, so the aircraft often circles the target zone several times before the hot target run is called.

If an altitude of 12,500 feet is allowed by the weather, two different shows can be performed. The “mass show” entails the narrator exiting the aircraft and unfurling the American flag from his parachute. Following his jump and some pre-show narration, the rest of the team exits and joins up in one large freefall formation. The full show consists of four separate jump runs and maneuvers; the baton pass, cutaway, diamond track, and diamond formation. If a lower altitude is necessary or another issue raises concerns, the show can be altered further.

US Army Golden KnightsUS Army Golden Knights

When it’s time to jump, the jump master will give a HOT TARGET call and hand signal. This call will then be passed back from the front of the plane to the rear by all members, to ensure the message has been received. Now, it’s time to press record on the GoPros, wait for the green light, and then jump! With a loud rush of noise, the jumpers are gone and the plane is suddenly very empty. As the jumpers touch down below, the aircraft rapidly descends to land. Another show complete for the hardworking Golden Knights!

Check out the video below for a special formation jump by two members of the Golden Knights Black Team into the Appalachian Fair in Gray, TN. Thank you to both the Black and Gold demonstration teams as well as the Cleveland National Airshow!

Blue Angels To Fly Delta Formation This Weekend In Cleveland; First Six-Ship Performance Since Crash

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams | 0

Blue Angels Delta Returns for Cleveland Airshow

The US Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, announced Thursday that the 6-ship delta formation, a signature formation of the Blue Angels since 1958, would return for this weekend’s Cleveland National Air Show in Ohio.

In July, AirshowStuff brought you the news that Cmdr. Frank Weisser, a Blue Angel during the 2008-2010 show seasons would return to the team to replace Captain Jeff Kuss, who was killed during a practice flight in June. Throughout the month of August, the squadron completed training with Cmdr. Weisser to integrate him back into the delta formation.

In a statement released by the Blue Angels, Cmdr. Weisser said “The transition has been a bit easier than I expected. I haven’t flown an airshow in six years, but I am pleased as to how fast it’s come back. I am really excited to get back and ultimately the crowd will be the best judge.”

Lead Solo Lt. Ryan Chamberlain, Blue Angel 5, played a large role in Cmdr. Weisser’s training. In order to get back to the full 6-ship performance, both solo pilots performed maneuvers together and with the other four diamond pilots to re-familiarize Weisser with the role Blue Angel 6 plays in the demonstration. In talking about the training, Lt. Chamberlain compared training Weisser to “taking a rusty bicycle, cleaning off that rust and getting him back up to speed.”

Like many Blue Angels fans, we are excited to see the full Blue Angels Delta and Cmdr. Weisser back in the skies over Cleveland this weekend. AirshowStuff will bring you coverage of the airshow on our Facebook page throughout the weekend.

While the jets will be back in full force, another familiar face of the Blue Angels will be missing in Cleveland. As previously reported, Fat Albert is not expected to fly for the remainder of 2016 as it undergoes maintenance which includes removing the famous blue and gold paint to check for corrosion.

Below, we’ve attached two videos from the 2009 Thunder Over Michigan airshow where Cmdr. Weisser flew with the Blue Angels.

Photo Albums Uploaded: Cleveland National Airshow and Battle Creek Airshow 2015

posted in: Airshows, AirshowStuff, Event Recap | 0

New photo albums have gone up in our photo gallery! Check out a preview of each below and then be sure to follow the links to view the full albums.

Cleveland National Airshow 2015 – Ryan Sundheimer

View full photo album: Cleveland National Airshow 2015 – Ryan Sundheimer
Cleveland National Airshow 2015 – Ryan Sundheimer

Battle Creek Airshow 2015 – Patrick Barron

View full photo album: Battle Creek Airshow 2015 – Patrick Barron
Battle Creek Airshow 2015 – Patrick Barron