New Photo Albums – America’s Freedom Fest 2018

posted in: Airshows, AirshowStuff, Event Recap | 0

MV-22 Osprey - America's Freedom Fest 2018

Two new albums are now available in our photo gallery! These albums are from the 2018 America’s Freedom Fest airshow in Goshen, IN. Check them out here:
America’s Freedom Fest (Goshen, IN) 2018 – Ryan Sundheimer
America’s Freedom Fest (Goshen, IN) 2018 – David Jacobson

Also be sure to check out our video playlist from the event!

Aerobatic Pilot Killed During Night Airshow In Virginia

posted in: Airshows | 2

Jon Thocker - Redline Airshows

Aerobatic pilot Jon Thocker was killed in a crash while performing during the Friday night airshow at the 2018 Culpeper Air Fest in Culpeper, Virginia. Jon was the #2 pilot on the Redline Airshows team. The other Redline pilot, Ken Rieder, landed safely shortly after the incident. There is little information on what happened as the performance was flown in the dark.

Jon and Ken, both based in Cincinnati, Ohio, performed formation aerobatics across North America. Each pilot flew a Van’s RV-8 home-built aircraft. They were particularly known for their night time routine, which included sparklers and fireworks launched from the aircraft.

Jon was a former airline captain who retired to focus on building and flying experimental aircraft. The team recently finished building new airplanes with modifications designed to improve their night performances. We here at AirshowStuff were privileged to work with Jon several times in the last few years, and we are tremendously saddened by the loss of a great man.

One such project was this cockpit video from Jon’s aircraft several years ago. Enjoy the ride he was willing to share with us.

Daily Airshow Schedule For EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018

posted in: Airshows | 1

USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016

The Experimental Aircraft Association has released the daily airshow schedule for EAA AirVenture 2018! Take a look below and see some of the awesome aircraft and performances that will be taking place.

Noteworthy inclusions on the schedule:

  • Monday will feature “FLS Microjet and Cri Cri with Ford vehicle drifting”, an unusual combination that will surely be something not seen before.
  • Tuesday is the premiere of the SureFly octocopter and the Yak-110, a custom-built jet- and prop-powered aircraft made from two Yak-55s.
  • The Wednesday twilight show will feature the B-1B Lancer, which stole the 2017 airshow with its vapor-filled flybys!
  • Thursday is dedicated to “Early Jets”, so it’s safe to assume the warbirds segment will include the Gloster Meteor as well as the Vampire, Venom, and other jet warbirds.
  • Friday will include an Air National Guard flyover by a KC-135 and F-16s, undoubtedly from local Wisconsin units.
  • The Saturday twilight show marks the appearance of the E-4B Nightwatch, a modified 747 that serves as an airborne command post and is very rarely seen at airshows.
  • Sunday will also feature the E-4B, as well as the usual aerobatic performers and demonstrations by both the C-17 Globemaster III and F-16 Fighting Falcon.

Other highlights aren’t specifically called out on the schedule; two Grumman F7F Tiger Cats will be at the show along with an ultra-rare XP-82 Twin Mustang and a newly restored P-51C “Lope’s Hope”. Oshkosh is also expected to be the first appearance of the P-51 Mustang “Moonbeam McSwine” after it was brought back to the US as a tribute to Vlado Lenoch. These will hopefully fly during the various warbird segments.

Keep an eye to our forums for more information as other announcements are made, and join the conversation there to let us know what you’re most looking forward to seeing! Also, make sure to check out our mega-compilation video from AirVenture 2017 at the bottom of this post. It’s four and a half hours of airshow action!

Full EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 Daily Airshow Schedule

Monday, July 23, 2018 – Opening Day, Ford Day

2:30-6 p.m.: Patriot Parachute Team, FLS Microjet and Cri Cri with Ford vehicle drifting, Warbirds of America arrival show, Matt Chapman (Extra 330LX), David Martin (Beechcraft Baron), Jessy Panzer (Pitts Special), seaplane fly-overs, Kyle Franklin (Kitfox S7 Speedster), Luca Bertossio (Swift S1 glider), various RVs, Jerry Kerby (RV-8A Wild Blue), Bill Stein (Edge 540), Matt Younkin (Twin Beech 18), Greg Koontz (Piper Cub), Aeroshell Aerobatic Team (T-6 Texans), Rob Holland (MX2)

8 p.m.: World War I – various WWI aircraft

8 p.m.: Twilight Flight Fest at the Fun Fly Zone – EAA STOL Invitational flying, Paradigm Aerobatic Team, Patriot Parachute Team, 3D RC flying (fixed-wing, helicopter)

8 p.m.: Hot Air Balloon Glow just off Boeing Plaza

Tuesday, July 24, 2018 – Innovations Day, RAF 100th Anniversary, T-6, SNJ, and Harvard 80th Anniversary

2:30-6 p.m.: Patriot Parachute Team, Sean D. Tucker (Oracle Challenger III), Philipp Steinbach (GameBird 1), Workhorse SureFly octocopter, Boeing 757, Jeff Boerboon (Yak-110), Homebuilts Review, Kyle Fowler (Rutan Long-EZ), Warbirds of America show including NATA 80th), Greg Koontz (Super Decathlon), Bob Carlton (SubSonex JSX-2), Manfred Radius (Salto Sailplane), Kyle Franklin (Dracula), 2018 Bill Barber Award Winner Greg Shelton, Royal Air Force 100th anniversary (various RAF aircraft), KC-10 and C-5 arrival

8 p.m.: World War I – various WWI aircraft

8 p.m.: Twilight Flight Fest at the Fun Fly Zone – EAA STOL Invitational flying, Paradigm Aerobatic Team, Patriot Parachute Team, 3D RC flying (fixed-wing, helicopter)

Wednesday, July 25, 2018 – WomenVenture, Skydiving

2:30-6 p.m.: Red Bull Air Force (Edge 540, MBB Bo 105 helicopter, wingsuits), International Skydiving Museum Eagles mass jump, Vicky Benzing (Extra 300L), Jessy Panzer (Pitts Special), Gene Soucy and Teresa Stokes (Grumman Showcat wing walking), Patty Wagstaff (Extra 300LX), Warbirds of America show, Geico Skytypers, Matt Younkin (Twin Beech 18), Jim Peitz (Beech Bonanza), Mike Goulian (Extra 330SC), Patriot Parachute Team/Bill Stein/Rob Holland, Vertical Elite skydivers, KC-135, U.S Air Force Heritage Flight (F-16 and P-51)

8 p.m. (night air show): Patriot Parachute Team, Ford vehicle drifting, International Skydiving Museum Eagles mass jump, B-1B, Red Bull Air Force (Edge 540, MBB Bo 105 helicopter, wingsuits), Paradigm Aerobatic Team (powered paragliders), Aeroshell Aerobatic Team (T-6 Texans), Luca Bertossio (Swift S1 glider), Bob Carlton (SubSonex JSX-2), Vertical Elite skydivers, Gene Soucy (Firecat), Patriot Parachute Team, Matt Younkin (Twin Beech 18), Redline Airshows (RV-8s), fireworks and wall of fire

Thursday, July 26, 2018 – Early Jets

2:30-6 p.m.: Patriot Parachute Team, Falcon Flight (various RVs), Kyle Fowler (Rutan Long-EZ), Jeff Bourbon (Yak-110), Sean D. Tucker (Oracle Challenger III), Vintage Review, Kevin Coleman (Extra 300 SHP), David Martin (Beechcraft Baron), FLS Microjet and Cri Cri with Ford vehicle drifting, Philipp Steinbach (GameBird 1), Canadian Harvard Aerobatic Team, Red Bull Air Force (Edge 540, MBB Bo 105 helicopter, wingsuits), Early Jets, Warbirds of America show, U.S Air Force Heritage Flight (F-16 and P-51), U.S. Air Force. C-17 demo

8 p.m.: World War I – various WWI aircraft

8 p.m.: Twilight Flight Fest at the Fun Fly Zone – EAA STOL Invitational flying, Paradigm Aerobatic Team, Red Bull Air Force, Patriot Parachute Demo Team, 3D RC flying (fixed, helicopter)

Friday, July 27, 2018 –Salute to Veterans Day, World War I 100th Anniversary

2:30-6 p.m.: Patriot Parachute Team, KC-135 and F-16 Air National Guard flyover, Canadian Harvard Aerobatic Team, Geico Skytypers, Aeroshell Aerobatic Team (T-6 Texans), Trojan Thunder (T-28 Trojans), Warbirds of America show, Patty Wagstaff (Extra 300LX), Red Bull Air Force (Edge 540, MBB Bo 105 helicopter, wingsuits), FLS Microjet and Ford vehicle drifting, Skip Stewart (Prometheus 2), Gene Soucy (Grumman Showcat), Jim Peitz (Beech Bonanza), U.S. Air Force C-17 demo, U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight (F-16 and P-51)

6:05 p.m.: Old Glory Yellow Ribbon Honor Flight Arrival

8 p.m.: World War I – various WWI aircraft

8 p.m.: Twilight Flight Fest at the Fun Fly Zone – EAA STOL Invitational flying, Paradigm Aerobatic Team, Red Bull Air Force, Patriot Parachute Team, 3D RC flying (fixed-wing, helicopter)

Saturday, July 28, 2018 – Year of the Tanker, Air Force Reserve 70th Anniversary

6 a.m.: Hot Air Balloon Launch at the Ultralight Runway

2:30-6 p.m.: Patriot Parachute Team, Mike Goulian (Extra 330SC), Jim Peitz (Beech Bonanza), Yak-110 and Ford vehicle drifting, Red Bull Air Force (Edge 540, MBB Bo 105 helicopter, wingsuits), Geico Skytypers, Warbirds of America show, Class of ’45 with Jim Tobul and Scott Yoak (Corsair and Mustang), Air Force Reserve Command anniversary, U.S. Air Force C-17 demo, Sean D. Tucker (Oracle Challenger III)

8 p.m. (night air show): Patriot Parachute Demo Team, E-4B, U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight (F-16 and P-51), Cri Cri and Ford vehicle drifting, Paradigm Aerobatic Team (powered paragliding), Aeroshell Aerobatic Team (T-6 Texans), Luca Bertossio (Swift S1 glider), Jerry Kerby (RV-8A Wild Blue), Bob Carlton (SubSonex JSX-2), Twin Tigers (Yak-55), Gene Soucy (Firecat), Nate Hammond (de Havilland Chipmunk), Redline Airshows (RV-8), fireworks and wall of fire

Sunday, July 29, 2018

1-4:30 p.m.: Patriot Parachute Team, U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight (F-16 and P-51), Kyle Franklin (Kitfox S7 Speedster), Mike Goulian (Extra 330SC), Kyle Fowler (Rutan Long-EZ), Skip Stewart (Prometheus 2), Trojan Thunder (T-28 Trojans), Rob Holland (MX2), David Martin (Beechcraft Baron), Kevin Coleman (Extra 300 SHP), E-4B, Redline Airshows, Chapman (Extra 330LX), Luca Bertossio (Swift S1 glider), Vicky Benzing (Extra 300L), Canadian Harvard Aerobatic Team, Bill Stein (Edge 540), U.S. Air Force C-17 demo, Scott Yoak (P-51 Mustang Quicksilver)

Celebrate The 4th Of July With These Photos Of Fireworks And Airplanes!

posted in: Miscellaneous | 0

B-29 Superfortress "Fifi" Fireworks

Happy 4th of July! Over the years, AirshowStuff’s photographers have had the opportunity to capture many fantastic fireworks displays at airshows and special events around the country.

Here are just a few of our favorite photos!

B-24 Liberator FireworksC-17 Globemaster III Fireworks

Canadian Snowbirds Fireworks

F-4 Phantom FireworksB-29 Superfortress "Fifi" Fireworks

F-22, F-35, and P-38 Fireworks

If you’re interested in a behind the scenes look at how the crew at DTG Pyrotechnics sets up their EAA AirVenture Oshkosh fireworks display, check out our blog post from 2015.

F-22 Raptor Fireworks

P-51 Mustang FireworksF-22 Raptor Fireworks

Of course, at airshows, fireworks aren’t just shot from the ground! They’re shot off of airplanes too!

Fireworks

Gene Soucy FireworksGene Soucy Fireworks

P-51 Mustang Fireworks

Otto the Helicopter Fireworks

V-22 Osprey and B-17 Flying Fortress Fireworks

Haven’t had enough fireworks? Search for fireworks on our photo gallery! There’s plenty more pictures over there!

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

Behind The Scenes At EAA AirVenture With DTG Pyrotechnics

posted in: Airshows, Event Recap, Miscellaneous | 1

USMC AV-8B Harrier II Twilight Demonstration - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

Some air shows around the country feature a night show in their lineup. We all go for the afterburners and lit-up aircraft streaking across the dark sky, but what show would be complete without a fireworks closer? Those beautiful works of fiery aerial artistry make for a nightly spectacle worth waiting for (and some awesome photo opportunities too!). For this year’s EAA AirVenture, the cool crew of DTG Pyrotechnics were in charge of the firework shows throughout the event and they invited us out with them for a peek at how they pull off their dazzling displays.

For the Saturday night show, I met up with the team at their staging area on the east side of the airport. Inside the hangar, the team was busy making final preparations for the show ahead. There the leader of this cool outfit, Dion Diehl, huddled everyone together to go over last minute checks and planning. Afterwards, Jason Strazishar gave me a tour of the multiple semis in their convoy, and what an impressive sight it was. Each truck towed a flatbed rigged with dozens of batteries all containing carefully placed and organized mortars, cakes, and other aerials.

DTG Fireworks - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 DTG Fireworks - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

Now, there’s a certain way to execute a stellar fireworks display. At the base of it all, each firework consists of a shell, or an aerial item that is fired into the sky. However, not all fireworks are designed the same; certain types produce certain effects. For example, a mortar is a paper or plastic tube containing a shell with a long fuse. The shell has a lift charge on the bottom that helps propel it into the air. Cakes are an item that has a single fuse which is used to light several tubes in sequence. The set piece is a ground item consisting of many colored lances that is used to draw a picture.

DTG Fireworks - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 DTG Fireworks - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

Regardless of the type, each item needs a source of ignition for their fuses before they can be launched into the sky. Enter the “squib”, or electric match. The 1-in long, 1/4-in wide device consists of a small nickel-chromium wire with a pyrogen coating. An electrical current causes the nickel-chromium wire to heat up, igniting the pyrogen and starting the fuse. Each squib is hooked up to a very thin and very long wire that runs to a hub that is then connected to the control terminal. It is there that the real magic is worked.

DTG Fireworks - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

Dion had spent dozens of hours coding the show to flow exactly how he wanted it. From his program, he could set certain shots to launch together and independently with incredible precision. This also allows for each shell to be monitored for connection to the control terminal to ensure all are ready to go and no wires or connections are cut. Each squib carries an ID that can be controlled and organized within DTG’s performance timeline. So imagine, if you will, the amount of shells one can fit to a single battery aboard a large flatbed trailer and multiply that a few times. That’s a lot to setup and organize in coding alone. But when it’s all said and done, and done properly, the display is truly a spectacle to behold.

With a final look-over and check by the team, the convoy was ready to roll out. There was a gap in the AirVenture performance schedule to allow the team to set up for the night show. The team moved out and began setting up their trailers in the grass on either side of taxiway A2 along runway 18-36. They shared the field with the Tora! Tora! Tora! pyro team who were in charge of the wall of fire that would conclude the night show. At show center on A2 was the trailer carrying the set piece. Once everything was in place, the team began to quickly run the thousands of feet of wire between each trailer together, and prepared to run it all across the runway to the control terminal once the flying had concluded.

USMC AV-8B Harrier II Twilight Demonstration - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 F-100 Super Sabre Air Force Warbird Jet AirVenture Oshkosh
USAF F-4 Phantom II Twilight Demonstration - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015F-100 Super Sabre Twilight Performance - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

Once the flying resumed, it was again time to wait. Luckily, it is not hard to wait when you have the best seat in the house for twilight demonstrations of the USMC AV-8B Harrier, F-100 Super Sabre, and USAF F-4 Phantom II along with the various night time aerobatic performances. But after the sun had set and the last aircraft was safely on the ground, it was back to work with only a little time to get it ready.

USMC AV-8B Harrier II Twilight Demonstration - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015USMC AV-8B Harrier II Twilight Demonstration - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

It was a rush to get everything organized, people in place, the terminal connected, and to start the show. Though, when it kicked off, it kicked off with a bang. Particularly with a series of what are referred to as “pants-fillers,” or explosives that are meant to create a loud, attention-getting bang. And for those not prepared for their detonation, well, the name implies the result. When things started up, I booked it from the trailer on A2 down the taxiway to the semis and caught the show from the other side as best I could. There’s something to be said for the factor of proximity and its affect on the entertainment of the show. Being further back for Wednesday night’s show allowed me to capture nearly the whole arc of the aerial display, while being closer in made photos far more challenging but sent the enjoyment factor through the roof.

DTG Fireworks - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 DTG Fireworks - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

When the wall of fire finale went off, I packed up my equipment and went back out onto the taxiway. There were small fires where pyrotechnics and once been that were being tended to, debris of every kind littered along the whole length of the taxiway, and plenty of smiles after another successful show. While my work had ended for the night, the crew of DTG still had plenty left to do as far as cleaning and packing up.

With a nice farewell, a lonely stroll across the runway back to the crowd line, and a moment of silent sentiment shared with a solitary F-4, I concluded my AirVenture experience and my time with DTG Pyrotechnics. The DTG team are a proficient and professional team with plenty of skill and chum to share. I look forward to crossing paths with them again and hope to see their dazzling displays again at future AirVentures.

P-38 Lightning and Fireworks - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

Thank you to Jason Strazishar for contacting us with this grand opportunity, and to Dion and the rest of the DTG crew allowing me to come experience how a professional pyrotechnic show is done. You can connect with the DTG team by liking their Facebook page.