Civilian F-5 To Join Heritage Flight Program, Pyro Approved For F-22 And F-35 Demos

posted in: Airshows, Military, Popular Posts | 1

US Air Force Heritage Flight - AirshowStuff

An easy to overlook update from Air Combat Command has yielded some exciting developments with the Air Force’s single-ship demonstration and Heritage Flight programs!

The update in question is the publishing of the 2019 version of the Demo Team Support Manual; a long document which spells out all of the requirements that airshows must meet in order to host the F-22 Raptor, F-35 Lightning II, F-16 Fighting Falcon, and A-10 Thunderbolt II demonstration teams during the season. These details are often mundane and invisible to spectators, like the number of required rental cars and mandated access to a 24/7 fitness center, but the manual does give a glimpse at the many factors that need to be carefully considered when planning an event. The 2019 version includes a couple of noteworthy mentions that will be very noticeable to spectators.

First, the Heritage Flight program is being expanded to include a Northrop F-5 fighter jet! The F-5 is an interesting addition because it was primarily exported to US allies and saw only limited USAF service. It will represent the Vietnam War era previously represented by USAF-operated F-4 Phantom IIs, which did not return to the Heritage Flight program after the 2013 sequestration year shut down all military demonstrations and left active service in 2016. This left the A-1 Skyraider as the only approved participant from that time period. F-5s did fly a couple thousand sorties in Vietnam, but certainly are not closely associated with the war.

The pilots in the program meet at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ every year for the Heritage Flight Conference, a weekend practice session to prepare for the upcoming airshow season. Civilian participation in the Heritage Flight is kept under tight control, and only a small group of specially approved pilots are allowed to fly in them, and only in certain aircraft types. Aside from the F-5, only P-51 Mustangs, P-38 Lightnings, P-40 Warhawks, P-47 Thunderbolts, F-86 Sabres, and A-1 Skyraiders are approved. There are several other privately owned fighter jets that could theoretically be included; an F-4 Phantom II flown by the Collings Foundation and a pair of F-100 Super Sabres are the most notable. Sadly, it seems likely that logistics and costs will prevent them from participating any time soon.

An interesting note is that while the F-5 is increasingly flown as a civilian warbird in the US, the US Navy and Marine Corps still actively use versions of the aircraft as aggressors during training and the T-38 Talon advanced trainer that was developed from the F-5 is a mainstay of the Air Force training fleet.

The other interesting takeaway from the support manual update is that pyrotechnics have been approved for use during the F-22 and F-35 demonstrations. The pyro is limited to a wall of fire on the high speed pass only, similar to the limitations already approved for the F-16 demo. The A-10 demo continues to be approved for additional pyro as it includes simulated strafing and bombing attacks in its routine. Most shows do not elect to use pyro with the demos, but it’s great that it will be more available in the future for those that do.

Find out where you can see the USAF single-ship demonstration teams in 2019 by visiting our airshow and aviation event calendar, and share your thoughts about the new F-5 on our forums!

GEICO Skytypers Pilot Ken Johansen Killed In Long Island Crash

posted in: Airshows | 5

Geico Skytypers Crash - Ken Johansen

Ken Johansen, a member of the the GEICO Skytypers airshow team, was killed earlier today when his SNJ-2 aircraft crashed in Melville, NY on Long Island.

Witnesses say the aircraft encountered an issue in flight, leading to the crash. The crash site was in a residential area not far from the team’s home airport, the Republic Airport in Farmingdale, NY. Video taken immediately before the crash shows the aircraft in a spin as it approaches the ground.

Nobody on the ground was injured. The fire was quickly extinguished by local and airport fire crews.

GEICO Skytypers

Ken is a second generation Skytyper. His father, Bob is also on the team. Ken first flew with the Skytypers at the age of eight. The team’s website says he caught the aviation bug early in life from his father. Ken graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1989 and earned his Navy wings in 1991.

He went on to fly P-3 Orions on both coasts with VP-23 and VP-46. His career also took him to the Netherlands, where he flew P-3s with the Royal Netherlands Navy from 1996 to 1998. Ken opted to transition from active duty with the Navy and was quickly hired by TWA, where he flew MD-80s, 757s, and 767s. After giving up his active duty status, Ken was also hired by VR-52 in Willow Grove, PA, as a Navy Reserve Instruction Pilot flying DC-9s around the world. Recently, he was the Commanding Officer of VR-58 in Jacksonville, FL, flying C-40s (737-700s) throughout the world. He leaves behind a wife and two children.

An investigation is underway involving the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

The GEICO Skytypers are well known for their skytyping and airshow demonstrations. Using their WWII-era SNJ trainers, they create words in the sky the size of the Empire State Building.

The team performed last weekend at the Bethpage Airshow at Jones Beach, very close to the crash site, and was scheduled to perform this weekend at the NAS Patuxent River airshow in Maryland.

AirshowStuff extends our condolences to the family, friends, and teammates of Ken.

GEICO Skytypers Ribbon

Trojan Horsemen Formation Team Announces Retirement

posted in: Warbirds | 1

Trojan Horsemen T-28 Formation Team

The Trojan Horsemen formation team has announced their retirement from airshows. In a post to the team’s Facebook page, they explained that the challenges had simply become too much to continue.

The team performed at airshows and other events with up to six North American T-28 Trojans in formation. Although the team will be missed, it seems likely that most team members will continue performing in some capacity.

Read the full statement posted by the team below:

After 14 years of traveling the country and Performing for millions of Aviation fans we sadly announce our retirement.

The mounting challenges of reliably fielding a six-ship Team of T-28’s in a professional manner while maintaining proficiency, safety and our brand , have forced the premature retirement of the team.

We would like to thank all the airshow producers who honored us by allowing us to perform at your show, as well as our fans and friends in the air show community.

We sincerely hope that our patriotic message successfully touched your lives and made a positive difference. We have enjoyed every minute of sharing our historic aircraft with you.

Bavarian OV-10 Bronco Demo Team Looking Ahead To 2018 North American Airshow Tour

posted in: Warbirds | 0
OV-10 Bronco Deam Team
Photo source: Bronco Demo Team

The Bavarian OV-10 Bronco Demo Team, a well known performer on the European airshow circuit, is looking to arrange a North American airshow tour in 2018. The team is announcing the tour now as they work to book dates at the ICAS convention this week. They will need to book approximately 30 airshows in order to make the trip feasible. Another European performer, the Breitling Jet Team, recently wrapped up their North American tour after performing in the US and Canada over the last two years.

The Bronco Demo Team operates a pair of North American OV-10 Broncos, a twin-turboprop light attack and observation aircraft. The type served with the US Air Force, Navy, and Marines during the Vietnam War and was exported to other countries as well. The Marine Corps operated the Bronco until the 1990s, and deployed them during the Gulf War. Recently, several OV-10s were re-purposed and deployed the Middle East to support special operations forces in the fight against ISIS. The OV-10Bs operated by the team served as target tugs with the German military.

If the team’s efforts prove successful, we may see an influx of European performers in the coming years. Make sure you contact your local airshow organizer and request to see the Bronco Demo Team in 2018!

OV-10 Bronco Demo Team - North American Tour Info

Bob Hoover Remembered With Celebration Of Life Ceremony, Triple Flyover

posted in: Miscellaneous, Popular Posts | 1
R. A. "Bob" Hoover
Source: AOPA

Aviation lost one of its greats one month ago, when R.A. “Bob” Hoover passed away at the age of 94. Bob was without a doubt one of the most legendary pilots to have graced the skies. His exploits in World War II would have been enough for most pilots, but his real fame was gained following the war when he flew as a test pilot and airshow demonstration pilot. He was also an incredible human being who was renowned for his story-telling, energy, and kindness.

True to his form, the aviation community came together a few weeks after his death to celebrate his life, which a star-studded event at Van Nuys airport. Numerous speakers, many aviation legends themselves, took to the stage to share their stories of Bob and his accomplishments. The event eventually moved outside, where a military honor guard fired a gun salute and played taps as three formation of aircraft roared overhead. The first formation was led by a T-39 Sabreliner, one of the many aircraft types that will forever be linked to Hoover. It was joined by two F-16s from the US Air Force Thunderbirds and a CT-114 Tutor from the Canadian Forces Snowbirds. The second formation saw an F-22 Raptor lead a pair of F-86 Sabres, a type that Bob test flew during his career. The final formation had four warbirds; a P-40 Warhawk, an F6F Hellcat, a Spitfire, and perhaps Bob’s most famous airplane, his P-51 Mustang “Ole Yeller”. In a fitting tribute, “Ole Yeller” performed the missing man pull out of the formation as the last notes of taps faded away.

Fortunately, Bob was the subject of many documentaries and interviews during his time with us, and generations to come will have many recordings to hear his wisdom through. Although Bob is gone, he will continue to touch the lives of aviators for a long, long time.

F-100 Super Sabre Added To 2016 Thunder Over Michigan Lineup

posted in: Airshows | 2

F-100 Super Sabre

The Thunder Over Michigan airshow, which will take place next weekend, has added the rare F-100 Super Sabre to the flying lineup. The jet, owned and flown by Dean “Cutter” Cutshall, is based out of Fort Wayne, IN and has been seen at several Midwest airshows in the last year, including Thunder Over Michigan and EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh. It joins a lineup featuring far more jets than usual for TOM, including the USAF F-22 Raptor and US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet demonstration teams. The Breitling Jet Team will also perform. Aside from the jets, the theme of the show is “Helotown USA”, a celebration of various helicopters including a Russian Mi-24 “Hind” gunship.

Follow AirshowStuff on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and here on our blog for coverage of this year’s show!

Fan Submissions: Theme Week 17 – P-51 Mustang

posted in: Community, Warbirds | 1

Thank you to all of our fans for submitting to our P-51 Mustang theme week! Another week with over 100 submissions and some of the best pictures we’ve seen from our fans yet! We posted some of our favorite P-51 Mustang photos throughout the week, and asked you to share some of your own shots to be featured right here on our blog. Check out just a sampling of the submissions in the slideshow below!

Do you have some photos you’d like to share? This week’s theme is Harriers! Got a great shot of an AV-8B or a Sea Harrier? If you would like to contribute to our next theme week, go to our Facebook page, like the page, and upload your photos to our wall!

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