Blue Angels Set To Kick Off 2019 Airshow Season This Weekend

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams | 0

US Navy Blue Angels - AirshowStuff

The 2019 US airshow season will kick into high gear this weekend when the Blue Angels perform at NAF El Centro in California. The team has been at the base for months, flying the 120 practice flights that make up their winter training syllabus.

We visited El Centro last week to get a look at the team, and you can watch one of their full practices below. Unfortunately the winds prevented us from catching the usual jaw dropping low takeoff, but it’s still a rare treat to watch a performance from the end of the runway, on the 1500-foot show line! Listen to the radio comms in the video to hear the wind callouts at various points during the routine.

We have also heard that the team’s famous C-130 Hercules “Fat Albert” has been spotted flying demonstrations in practice, but there is no official word from the team as to her status during the season. Previously, rumors held that they do not plan to fly demonstrations this year as they work to preserve airframe hours until the planned purchase and acquisition of a C-130J from the Royal Air Force is finalized.

Fat Albert performances have been sporadic and rare since 2016, when corrosion issues were discovered that lead to the aircraft being sidelined for a months-long overhaul period. Less than a month after resuming performances in July of 2017, a Marine Corps KC-130 crashed in Louisiana, killing 16. The crash investigation discovered widespread problems with the propellers, and Fat Albert was again grounded, along with the rest of the C-130T fleet.

Bert resumed transportation duties with the team in mid-2018, but did not really perform. Flying the demonstration profile requires a significant investment in training time, so if the crew is flying practice demonstrations now, it seems all but certain that at least a few will be performed in 2019. Of course, they may be extremely limited, rare treats for the home town crowds in El Centro and Pensacola.

For their part, the US Air Force Thunderbirds have been busy with their own winter training as well as several high profile flyovers of the Super Bowl, Daytona 500, and the premiere of the new Captain Marvel movie. The movie is special because it includes a number of tributes to fallen Thunderbird pilot Major Stephen Del Bagno. They open their show season next weekend at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ.

Of course, there are many airshows without jet teams and those are kicking into high gear as well. We attended the MCAS Yuma Airshow last weekend, and the Space Coast Warbird Airshow in Titusville, FL will be taking place this weekend.

Want to know where you can see the Blue Angels, Thunderbirds, and other major performers in 2019? Head over to our airshow calendar and search for events near you!

US Air Force Heritage Flights Will Be Longer This Airshow Season

posted in: Airshows, Military, Popular Posts, Warbirds | 0

USAF Heritage Flight - P-38 Lightning and A-10 Thunderbolt II - AirshowStuff

The US Air Force Heritage Flight routine will have a new look in 2019!

Air Combat Command’s single-ship demonstration teams (F-22 Raptor, F-35 Lightning II, F-16 Fighting Falcon, and A-10 Thunderbolt II) and civilian Heritage Flight pilots just wrapped up their annual Heritage Flight Conference practice session at Davis-Monthan AFB. During the conference, they flew dozens of Heritage Flight routines in all sorts of combinations of modern jets and vintage warbirds. As if a new aircraft type being added to the program wasn’t exciting enough, an extended routine was teased on social media, and we can confirm that the flights included more formation flybys than in previous years.

The old routine consisted of three formation passes; the formation would arc in for a right to left photo pass, turn around for a left to right flat pass, then come from behind and over the crowd before splitting apart for individual flybys, affectionately known as “zoomies”. You can see it in the video below.

The new routine has two extra passes; it starts with the same photo pass, but the formation now swings out a little wider and arcs away from the crowd, presenting a belly view of the aircraft. They continue the turn to their left and fly head on to the crowd, passing overhead and then turning around for an original left to right flat pass, with the normal overhead pass, break, and zoomies.

The video below shows the new routine, but from an unusual perspective – across from the crowd and at far show left. Note the exceptional combination of aircraft; a Lockheed P-38 Lightning, Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, North American F-86 Sabre, and a US Air Force F-22 Raptor. Stay tuned for many more videos of the Heritage Flights flown at the conference, and further coverage during the 2019 airshow season!

FIRST LOOK At The New F-35 Lightning II Full Demonstration Profile

posted in: Military, Popular Posts | 2

F-35 Lightning II - AirshowStuff

The US Air Force F-35 Lightning II will be performing aerobatic demonstrations for the first time in 2019, and we’ve got a sneak peak at the new routine for you!

Watch the video below for your first look at the full demonstration profile, including maximum performance loops, rolls, and one particularly eye-catching pedal turn.

This practice demonstration was filmed across from the crowd area – so it’s reversed from the normal perspective – during the 2019 Heritage Flight Conference at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ. All of the USAF single-ship demo teams and civilian Heritage Flight pilots attend the HFC to practice the challenging dissimilar formation flying that Heritage Flight performances require.

Stay tuned to our Youtube channel for more footage from the Heritage Flight Conference!

Update: Here’s a second video from the Heritage Flight Conference, showing the full routine from a different angle. This one is pretty far to show left and across from the crowd. It also includes footage of the F-35 flying the new Heritage Flight profile with three P-51 Mustangs!

CONFIRMED: A-10 Warthog Aerobatic Demonstrations Returning In 2018!

posted in: Airshows, Military | 0

A-10 Thunderbolt II

Get ready Warthog fans! The wait is over. A-10 Warthog single-ship demonstrations will return to the skies at airshows across the nation in 2018.

In a statement released by Air Combat Command this week, we learned an A-10 demonstration team will be based at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ. They will perform at approximately 14 airshows during the 2018 show season. This follows a Twitter post by the current A-10 Heritage Flight team, which we reported on last week, that hinted at a coming announcement. There is no word on what will happen to the current East Coast A-10 Heritage Flight Team, based at Moody AFB in GA.

You may remember due to budget restrictions and sequestration, single ship demos were restricted after the 2011 season. Heritage Flights were performed in 2012 and 2017, but no aerobatic demonstrations were allowed.

Here is the text of the announcement shared by ICAS and ACC:

The United States Air Force A-10 demonstration team will once again display the capabilities of the Thunderbolt II at approximately 14 shows throughout the 2018 air show season.

The A-10 demonstration team last flew in 2011. Since then, when it has participated in air shows, the A-10 has been either a static display aircraft or flown exclusively with the Air Force Heritage Flight program (in 2012 and 2017). In 2018, the Warthog will fly a full aerobatic demonstration and also perform in Heritage Flight demonstrations.

Specifically designed for close air support, the A-10’s combination of high and low speed maneuverability has made it a popular air show demonstration aircraft for many years. Beginning next year, the A-10 demo team – based at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona – will be flown by Captain Cody Wilton.

Are you excited to see the return of Warthog demos? What shows do you think may get an A-10 demonstration in 2018?

Visit our forums to discuss this exciting news!

Full A-10 Warthog Demonstrations To Return In 2018?

posted in: Airshows, Military | 0

A-10 Thunderbolt II "Warthog" Demonstration

A-10 Warthog fans have a big reason to be excited today as the A-10 West team teased the return of full A-10 single-ship demonstrations next year!

The US Air Force used to have two A-10 demonstration teams, but the sequestration cuts forced the units to stand down to USAF Heritage Flights only in 2012 and to cease performances in 2013. They got a bit of a restart this year with both East and West teams reforming to participate in Heritage Flights, but no full demonstrations. It was rumored that this was a stepping stone to full demos, a notion that seems to have been confirmed today.

The A-10 gap has also been filled this year by some normal units showing off the Hawg in field attack demos, including a two ship attack demo at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh.

There is also discussion about the F-35 Lightning II team, currently limited to Heritage Flights, transitioning to full aerobatic demonstrations next year following Lockheed Martin’s company demo in Paris this summer.

Expect both developments to be confirmed at the ICAS convention in December if not before!

Make sure to visit our forums to discuss this exciting news as it unfolds!

A-10 Warthog To Participate In 2017 Heritage Flights

posted in: Airshows, Military | 3

A-10 Warthog Strafing Run - Hawgsmoke 2016 - Davis-Monthan AFB

Big news for all A-10 Warthog fans! Air Combat Command has announced that the A-10, officially known as the Thunderbolt II, will participate in US Air Force Heritage Flights during the 2017 season. It will not perform any aerobatic demonstrations, but may be able to perform a three pass “mini-demo” at each of the expected 20 show sites. The move will allow the Air Force to reach smaller airshows that cannot support the faster jet aircraft.

This is welcome news for fans of the popular A-10, who are eager to see the legendary “tank buster” aircraft at airshows. Two demonstration teams performed in the aircraft until 2012, when they flew only Heritage Flights. They have not performed since the 2013 sequestration budget cuts, and the Air Force even pushed to retire the entire A-10 fleet from service to meet its budget obligations.

There is hope for the future, however, as the F-16 Fighting Falcon “Viper East” team was also restarted by first performing only Heritage Flights. We could very well see Hogs soaring above in the coming years!