Enjoy Nearly Six Hours Of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh Action With This Mega-Compilation Video!

That’s right, our annual EAA AirVenture Oshkosh mega-compilation video is up, and this year it is nearly six hours long! This video combines all of our ground footage from the show into one long masterpiece, sure to please any aviation fan. The videos are in roughly sequential order, so you start out with the chaos of mass aircraft arrivals on the Sunday before the show. As the week progresses you’ll see more arrivals, portions of the airshow, and then mass departures as everyone reluctantly bids Wittman Regional Airport farewell and heads home.

Airshow performances include the US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon demonstration team, the USAF Heritage Flight, the US Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet demonstration, the arrival of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, a Martin Mars water drop, the final Oshkosh appearance of USAF F-4 Phantom IIs, flybys from a USAF U-2 Dragon Lady, F-15 Eagle, and A-10 Warthogs, massive warbird formations and exciting flybys, the Tora! Tora! Tora! Pearl Harbor reenactment, the arrival and departure of a massive C-5M Super Galaxy, the Oshkosh seaplane base on Lake Winnebago, a maximum performance departure of the Cathay-Pacific 747-8 freighter “Hong Kong Trader”, and much more!

Find a comfortable chair and settle in to watch the video above! You can also view each video individually, as well as special on-board videos from the show, using our EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016 video playlist. Enjoy!

US Navy Blue Angels To Headline EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017 With Full Aerobatic Performances

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams, Popular Posts | 0

US Navy Blue Angels

The famous US Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team will headline EAA AirVenture for the first time this July. Although the show was previously listed on the preliminary 2017 schedule released last year, it was confirmed earlier this week when the updated 2017 Blue Angel schedule was announced.

The team has sent jets to AirVenture in the past, but it has never performed a full demonstration due to airspace limitations. In 2014, the show made special arrangements for a full-sized aerobatic box and hosted the US Air Force Thunderbirds. The Canadian Forces Snowbirds performed their full routine in 2016.

In order to establish the sterile aerobatic box, the crowd line is temporarily relocated further from the runway. Unfortunately this leaves numerous aircraft and structures in front of the crowd to block the view, and can create a dangerous stampede when the crowd is released to rush forward.

The event runs from Monday, July 24th through Sunday, July 30th at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, WI. The team is only scheduled to perform on the final Saturday and Sunday, but typically runs through a full routine as practice on the Thursday and Friday before a show. Any aerobatic practice would require the modified crowd line.

Mentors Over Manitowoc – Pre-Oshkosh Practice And Fun With The T-34 Association

posted in: AirshowStuff, Warbirds | 0

T-34 Mentor Air to Air - Manitowoc, WI

One of the most amazing sights and sounds of EAA AirVenture every year is the warbird segment of the airshow. On some days, over 100 airplanes fill the sky together in a tremendous display of historical air power. The majority of these aircraft are part of the mass formations that circle and cross overhead, providing a backdrop for the other aircraft below.

The formations are usually organized by aircraft type; the T-6 Texans, the T-28 Trojans, the T-34 Mentors, and the Red Stars formation of Yak-52s and CJ-6s (plus one misfit SF-260 that I have had the pleasure of riding in). These groups represent pilots from across the country who fly and train together throughout the year to put on shows like these. Each of the groups arranges a pre-AirVenture gathering at an airport near Oshkosh in the days leading up to the event as a chance to meet up and get some last minute practice flights in. This year, I had the privilege of joining the T-34 Mentor Association members in Manitowoc, WI for their annual pre-AirVenture meetup.

T-34 Mentor Air to Air - Manitowoc, WIT-34 Mentors - Manitowoc, WI

Manitowoc County Airport (KMTW) is east of Oshkosh, near the shore of Lake Michigan. It is an untowered field with good ramp space and most importantly, EAA Chapter 383. Members of the chapter play host during the gathering, and their hangar and office are the hang out spot for the pilots. This year at least 20 T-34s were in attendance, with two, three, and four-ship flights launching in several waves beginning Saturday morning.

I was invited to join one of these flights, a four-ship. We headed out over the lake to work through different formations and rejoins, while other groups did the same in different pre-determined areas. Everything was expertly organized and briefed by T-34 Association President Billy “Smitty” Smith. Flights like this are required for each pilot to earn and maintain their “FAST card”, a certification of their ability to fly formation. Without this, they are not allowed to fly formation in waivered airspace, such as during the AirVenture airshows.

T-34 Mentor Air to Air - Manitowoc, WIT-34 Mentor Air to Air - Manitowoc, WI

After several rounds of these smaller group flights, the group starts putting together the large mass formation. This usually begins to come together on Sunday afternoon, but unfortunately this year the weather was less than cooperative and it was delayed. I had to leave for Oshkosh without seeing the mass flight practice.

I’d see the group soon enough though, as they arrived during the airshow in typical dramatic fashion. If you’ve never witnessed it, it is quite shocking to see. All of the formation groups come in from different directions and at different altitudes, all pointed at show center. Last year they nailed the timing, resulting in a thrilling triple cross directly overhead. From the cross, each group begins a carefully calculated orbit to continue passing over and in front of the crowd while avoiding the dozens of other airplanes sharing the sky.

T-34 Mentors Air to Air - Manitowoc, WIT-34 Mentor Air to Air - Manitowoc, WI

The chaos is incredible to witness, and most on the ground have no idea of how much work, practice, and planning is behind the spectacle. Luckily, these pilots are willing to put in the hours necessary to give us all a safe and entertaining show!

Check out the rest of my photos in our photo gallery – T-34 Mentor Gathering 2016 – Manitowoc, WI

T-34 Mentors - Manitowoc, WIT-34 Mentors - Manitowoc, WI

Thank you to Billy Smith, Stephen Bohlig, Adam Silverstein, Malte Lorenz, Tim Kolp, the rest of the T-34 pilots, and EAA Chapter 383 for allowing me to join in the fun!

– Ryan Sundheimer

Video Highlight: Canadian Snowbirds Arrive At EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016

posted in: Featured Videos, Jet Teams | 1

Canadian Forces Snowbirds - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016

The headlining act of this year’s EAA AirVenture airshow in Oshkosh, WI was undoubtedly the Canadian Forces Snowbirds. It was the team’s first appearance there in 33 years, and only the second jet team performance with the full aerobatic box. The team put on several spectacular shows, and even called their Saturday performance the best of the season so far. Check back as we continue to edit photos for some amazing shots!

Unfortunately we are not able to post video of their routine due to the music, but we did catch their 9-ship formation arrival flybys earlier in the week. Check out their arrival below, and then watch their full high show routine from earlier this year.

Martin Mars Stars In AirVenture Lineup, Recovers From Damage

posted in: Airshows, Warbirds | 2

Martin Mars - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016

The famous Martin Mars water bomber was one of the main attractions at EAA AirVenture this year, but it did not survive the show unscathed. The aircraft, which performed in the Monday, Wednesday, and Friday airshows, suffered a bird strike to one of its four engines on Friday. In the ensuing landing on Lake Winnebago, it hit a rock that tore a basketball-sized hole in the flying boat’s hull. The damage forced the plane to miss its planned Saturday airshow appearance, but after extensive pumping and some repair work, it was able to fly home and did so on Tuesday, August 2nd.

Martin Mars - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016
Pumping underway to keep the Martin Mars afloat

The “Hawaii Mars II”, the aircraft showcased at AirVenture, is the lone flying example remaining of the type. Only seven aircraft were built in the 1930’s and 1940’s, with with most destroyed or scrapped long ago. She is owned by Coulson Flying Tankers in British Columbia, and has been used to fight wild fires in the region. A second intact Mars, named “Phillipine Mars”, is also owned by Coulson but does not currently fly. Phillipine Mars is painted in the colors she wore during her service in the US Navy as a long range patrol aircraft. There was previously a deal in place to send her to the National Museum of Naval Aviation, but it fell through and Coulson Flying Tankers is currently seeking a buyer for both aircraft as they are no longer being tasked with firefighting duties.

Martin Mars - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016Martin Mars - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016

You can check out the stunning performance of the Martin Mars during AirVenture in our video:

EAA Webinar Reveals Exciting Details About AirVenture Oshkosh 2016

posted in: Airshows | 1

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

The Experimental Aircraft Association hosted a webinar last night to give some updates on plans for this years EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, which is rapidly approaching. Updated daily airshow schedules were released along with some extra details that should excite the many fans who will attend.

Interesting tidbits mentioned during the presentation:

  • The Martin Mars will be performing water drops as part of the show, dropping 7,200 gallons of water to show off its firefighting capabilities.
  • A grass runway will be set up for WWI aircraft, which are being highlighted this year, roughly near the ultralight strip.
  • A US Air Force U-2 spy plane will perform a flyover on Friday.
  • Pearl Harbor reenactment group Tora! Tora! Tora! will perform in the evening show on Wednesday, and a special “Final Countdown” pass will see US Navy F/A-18F Super Hornets fly with the Tora Zeros.
  • The B-29 Superfortress “Fifi” will be in attendance, and hopes are high that the B-29 “Doc” will be able to complete flight testing in time to appear as well.
  • A rare North American P-64 will attend and will fly during the show. Other cool aircraft appearing include an A-20 Havoc, Super Guppy, TWA MD-83, Boeing YL-15, and Airbus eFan.
  • Pilot and actor Harrison Ford will be on hand to introduce a showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Friday night.
  • The Canadian Snowbirds will perform Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. They will require a special crowd line similar to when the Thunderbirds appeared in 2014. This will also allow fully aerobatic F-16 demonstrations on those days, and likely the same for the Super Hornet demonstration on Friday and Sunday. The box and show center are shown in the image below, followed by the daily airshow lineups

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016 - Canadian Snowbird Show Box

Monday

National Anthem/Flag Jump
Paul Poberezny Tribute/P-64
Canadian Harvards
Matt Chapman
Warbird Arrivals
Bill Stein
Vintage review
Kent Pietsch
Seaplane Showcase
Martin Mars
GoPro Bomb squad
Jerry Kerby
Gene Soucy
David Martin
Paul McCowan
Kevin Coleman
Class of ’45
Greg Shelton and Ashley Key
Kyle Franklin
Rob Holland
International Aerobatic Club
Aeroshell Aerobatic Team
Aeroshell Aerobatic Team - EAA AirVenture OshkoshJeff Boerboon - Screamn Sasquatch - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

Tuesday

National Anthem/Flag Jump
Warbirds of America
Sean D. Tucker
Electric Aircraft
GoPro Bomb Squad
Debby Rihn-Harvey
Homebuilt Review
Greg Shelton and Ashley Key
Jeff Boerboon
Matt Younkin
Skip Stewart
Greg Koontz
Bob Carlton
Manfred Radius
USAF Heritage Flight (F-16/P-51)

Wednesday (Day Show)

National Anthem/Flag Jump
Warbirds of America
Vintage Review
Kent Pietsch
Vicky Benzing
Patty Wagstaff
Gene Soucy and Teresa Stokes
Snowbirds Arrival
Canadian Harvards
Kent Pietsch
Martin Mars
Kirby Chambliss
Geico Skytypers
Jim Pietz
GoPro Bomb Squad
Michael Goulian
Kent Pietsch
Texas Flying Legends
USAF Heritage Flight (F-16/P-51)
Kirby Chambliss - EAA AirVenture OshkoshTexas Flying Legends - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

Wednesday (Evening Show)

“The Pearl” Interstate Cadet
Tora! Tora! Tora!
P-64
Final Countdown Pass
Paradigm Parabatic Team
Aeroshell Aerobatic Team
Randy Ball – MiG-17
Redline Airshows
GoPro Bomb Squad
Bob Carlton
Matt Younkin
Gene Soucy
Fireworks
Wall of Fire

Thursday

Two Millionth Young Eagle
National Anthem/Flag Jump
Warbirds of America (Jet Day)
Centennial of USCG Aviation
Sean D. Tucker
Sammy Mason
Jim Pietz
Bill Stein
Van’s RVs
Jerry Kirby
West Coast Ravens
Redline Airshows
International Aerobatic Club
Rob Holland
Kirby Chambliss
Geico Skytypers
Skip Stewart
Texas Flying Legends
F/A-18F Super Hornet
Skip Stewart - EAA AirVenture OshkoshMatt Younkin - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

Friday

National Anthem/Flag Jump
Warbirds of America
Matt Chapman
Aeroshell Aerobatic Team
Jeff Boerboon
Kirby Chambliss
David Martin
Philipp Steinbach
Martin Mars
Michael Goulian
F/A-18F Super Hornet
F-16 Fighting Falcon
USAF Heritage Flight (F-16/P-51)
Canadian Snowbirds

Saturday (Day)

National Anthem/Flag Jump
Warbirds of America
Geico Skytypers
Vicky Benzing
Michael Goulian
Tora! Tora! Tora!
Jim Pietz
Kyle Franklin
Sean D. Tucker
F-16 Fighting Falcon
USAF Heritage Flight (F-16/P-51)
Canadian Snowbirds
Canadian Forces SnowbirdsB-29 Superfortress "Fifi" - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

Saturday (Evening)

F/A-18F Super Hornet
Martin Mars
Paradigm Parabatic Team
Team Aerostar
Aeroshell Aerobatic Team
US Customs and Border Patrol
Manfred Radius
Bob Carlton
Redline Airshows
Patriot Parachute Team
Steve Oliver
Gene Soucy
Fireworks
Wall of Fire

Sunday

National Anthem/Flag Jump
Departures
Debbie Rihn-Harvey
US Customers and Border PAtrol
Greg Shelton and Ashley Key
Matt Chapman
F/A-18F Super Hornet
Redline Airshows
Sammy Mason
Jeff Boerboon
Bill Stein
Team Aerostar
Patty Wagstaff
Scott Yoak
Patriot Parachute Team
F-16 Fighting Falcon
USAF Heritage Flight (F-16/P-51)
Canadian Snowbirds

Hat tip to Nathan Truninger for providing us the info.

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!

Twilight Airshows Prove To Be Rare Treasures

posted in: Airshows, Miscellaneous | 0

F-22 Raptor, F-35 Lightning II, P-38 Lightning and Fireworks - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

Why are there so few twilight airshows? I ask myself that question a lot. To me, there is nothing cooler than watching (and listening) to airplanes soar through the sky at twilight or at night. Some of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken have been at twilight/night time airshows. It’s soothing, it’s peaceful, and sometimes even romantic. There have even been numerous cases of “concerned citizens” calling 911 thinking they saw a UFO, only to discover it was someone like Matt Younkin or Bill Leff at the nearby airshow. This typically results in the news running a story on it and free publicity for the airshow.

So why do so few shows have them?

Gene Soucy Night Airshow - EAA AirVenture OshkoshOtto the Helicopter Night Airshow - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

Recently, we learned that the MCAS Miramar airshow is not planning on a twilight airshow in 2016. This comes as a shock to many long term Miramar fans who have long looked forward to the night show.

In some ways, I can understand why. If you hold the airshow on a Friday night, you’re competing against a lot of other things. Depending on the season the show is held in, you’re competing with sports, people just getting home from work, and other entertainment. Plus, you have to pay or obtain volunteers for an extra night. A lot of logistics go into organizing an airshow. This could be a turnoff for many shows thinking about having a night airshow. For many airshow attendees in the general public, the main draw are the jet teams. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard someone ask “What time will the Blues/Thunderbirds/Snowbirds fly tonight?” Without the main draw, your attendance will almost certainly be lower than a normal day.

USMC Harrier Twilight Airshow - NAS Oceana

Some shows get it, though. Last year we wrote a blog post on the Battle Creek airshow, which features a twilight balloon launch, festival-like atmosphere, fireworks, and a night airshow. Other shows have combined evening concerts and catered parties with short twilight airshows in an effort to attract a different sort of crowd that might not attend in the long heat of a full day.

Night airshows seem to have gained some popularity in recent years, but they’re still pretty rare. In 2013, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh added a second night airshow on Wednesday due to the popularity of the Saturday night show. They’ll do it again this year, with a night airshow on July 22nd and July 25th. Hopefully we see more shows add night shows instead of take them away in coming years.

So what are your thoughts? Should more airshows host night time or twilight airshows? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page!

– AirshowStuff Photographer Ricky Matthews

Matt Younkin - Twin Beech Night AirshowP-51 Mustangs and Fireworks - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 Photo Albums Uploaded: Over 400 Photos And 50 Videos!

posted in: Airshows, AirshowStuff, Event Recap | 0

Hey AirshowStuff fans, all of our full photo albums from EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 have been updated with over 400 amazing photos to browse through! Check out some sample images below, and click the links to view the complete albums!

EAA AirVenture 2015 – Ryan Sundheimer

View full photo album: EAA AirVenture 2015 – Ryan Sundheimer

EAA AirVenture 2015 – Patrick Barron

View full photo album: EAA AirVenture 2015 – Patrick Barron

EAA AirVenture 2015 – Anthony Richards

View full photo album: EAA AirVenture 2015 – Anthony Richards

EAA AirVenture 2015 – David Jacobson

View full photo album: EAA AirVenture 2015 – David Jacobson

Also, be sure to check out our EAA AirVenture 2015 playlist on our Youtube channel, featuring more than 50 videos from throughout the week!

Airplane that Led the D-Day Invasion Appears at Oshkosh

posted in: Warbirds | 0

IMG_6720webish

If you’re heading to Oshkosh, look for a part of history on the airfield! Aircraft number 42-92847, nicknamed “That’s All, Brother,” will be on display all week in Boeing PLaza. The aircraft is the C-47 that led Mission Albany. The aircraft group that it flew with was a formation of 432 aircraft which launched just after midnight on D-Day will be on site for the public to view.

The aircraft was acquired by Basler Turbo Conversions LLC of Oshkosh,WI in 2008. Not knowing the history of the aircraft, Basler had planned to convert it into a modern BT-67 turboprop, changing the appearance of the aircraft by lengthening its fuselage, replacing the original engines with modern engines and gutting the cockpit, replacing it with new equipment.

In it’s current state, “That’s All Brother” looks like an AC-47 Gunship, a role it never served.

“At 2233 hours, our first airplane, with the name “That’s All, Brother” begins its roll down the runway. It is thus America’s lead plane of the spearhead of the greatest military invasion in the history of man.” W.L. George Collins, “Into Fields of Fire”
“At 2233 hours, our first airplane, with the name “That’s All, Brother” begins its roll down the runway. It is thus America’s lead plane of the spearhead of the greatest military invasion in the history of man.” W.L. George Collins, “Into Fields of Fire”

The Commemorative Air Force and Basler Turbo Conversions are searching for funding to help restore the aircraft through a Kickstarter campaign. Reward levels are available for those who donate.

The CAF plans to fly it in the future, even overseas in Europe to participate in the 75th anniversary of D-Day if they raise enough money. Their full plan states:

-Faithfully restore the aircraft to represent its exact configuration on D-Day. This will include exterior paint and the installation of original seats, avionics, radio and radar equipment.
Maintain the aircraft in airworthy condition as a piece of living history, attending major national commemoration events, airshows, flyovers and the like.
-Develop a touring educational program that emphasizes the values of the Greatest Generation: courage, self-sacrifice, perseverance, initiative, and the price of freedom. The program will be influenced by the success of the CAF’s Red Tail Squadron program RISE ABOVE. Using a P-51C Mustang and traveling movie theater, this takes the inspirational story of the Tuskegee Airmen to 40 cities each year, reaching about 50,000 people annually.
-Fly to Europe in the summer of 2019 to participate in the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the last opportunity for living veterans to attend a major commemoration event.

As of July 20th, the Kickstarter campaign has raised more than $328,736 for the cause as of July 20th. CAF and Basler Turbo Conversions have until August 31, 2015 to raise the money necessary to rescue the airplane.

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