Also be sure to check out our video playlist from the event!
On March 14th, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force marked completion of the B-17F “Memphis Belle” restoration project. In view of invited media and 300 Air Force Museum Foundation members, the “Memphis Belle” was towed from the Museum’s restoration hangar to the WWII Gallery where it replaced “Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby”, a B-17G which had been on display there since 1988. The B-17G was removed from the hangar and placed into storage, where it awaits transfer to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum at a later date.
The “Memphis Belle” bears a paint scheme representative of the aircraft’s appearance on May 17, 1943, when the aircraft’s crew completed their 25th combat mission, thereby completing their tours of duty. They became the first Air Force bomber crew from Europe to return to the United States after reaching that milestone. This achievement earned the aircraft and crew national recognition, a war bond tour, and enduring historical significance.
The Museum’s “Memphis Belle” exhibit officially opens on May 17th, the 75th anniversary of the aircraft’s historic combat mission. Until then, the aircraft remains obscured from view by a large partition. Plans for the exhibit debut include a static display of B-17 bombers, a gathering of WWII reenactors, and a big band concert, among other events.
– Article and photos by Ryan Grantonic
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:
US Air Force officials stated that “excess speed and insufficient stopping distance” on a soaked runway resulted in the crash of a two seat F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the USAF Thunderbirds in Dayton, Ohio this past June.
Capt. Erik “Speedy” Gonsalves, Thunderbird #8, was in command of the jet at the time of the incident. Sgt. Kenneth Cordova, a maintenance crew member, was also on board at the time. The two were on a “familiarization flight” over Dayton while the team was in town to perform at the 2017 Vectren Dayton Airshow.
Upon landing, the jet slid off the runway and into the grass, causing the aircraft to flip.
The report mentions that Gonsalves missed his first landing approach and that water had restricted the view of his head-up display or HUD. This forced him to rely solely on cockpit instruments. On the second approach, the report claims that Gonsalves focused more on the runway than his airspeed, contributing to the crash. The Thunderbird F-16 touched down with only 6,130 feet of runway left. Seven to eight thousand feet of runway is required to land safely on wet pavement. The aircraft exited the runway and came to rest upside down in the grass nearby. It was destroyed in the incident.
An audio recording between Air Traffic Control and Thunderbird 8, obtained by the Dayton Daily News last month, revealed that the pilot was warned of “extreme precipitation” in the area and that ATC told him he was “flying at your own risk.”
In a statement, Air Combat Command spokeswoman Maj. Malinda Singleton said “Capt. Gonsalves is traveling with the team and narrating shows, but he is not medically cleared to fly at this time.”
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!
The US Air Force Thunderbirds announced today that they are returning to flying operations this week, and it sounds like they have every intention of performing as scheduled this weekend in Traverse City, MI. The remaining aircraft departed Dayton today to return to their home base of Nellis AFB, and they will fly a practice show there tomorrow. After Traverse City, the team has a weekend off followed by a trip to the UK where they will perform at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford.
The team canceled their scheduled performances at the 2017 Vectren Dayton Airshow this past weekend after one of their two-seat F-16Ds flipped over onto its back next to the runway on Friday. The pilot, Thunderbird #8 Capt. Erik Gonsalves and passenger Technical Sgt. Kenneth Cordova were trapped in the overturned cockpit for more than an hour as emergency crews carefully attempted to extract them without triggering the powerful ejection seats.
— Dayton Daily News (@daytondailynews) June 23, 2017
The jet was returning from a familiarization flight nearby when the weather deteriorated. Reportedly, a gust of wind caught the aircraft after it was on the ground and flipped it onto its back in the muddy grass. The incident is still under investigation.
Once freed, both of the crew were taken to a nearby hospital in good condition. Cordova was released but Gonsalves remains in the hospital with reported cuts to his legs. He is expected to fully recover.
We are glad to hear that both of the Thunderbird team members are safe, and that the team will not observe a lengthy stand down. They must feel that the incident was a freak occurrence and that it is safe to continue performing.
AirshowStuff has learned that an F-16 belonging to the USAF Thunderbirds has been involved in an incident at the Dayton Air Show in Dayton, OH.
According to eyewitnesses, the incident occurred after the F-16 landed and was taxiing. The plane went off the runway and is currently in the grass. Law enforcement in the Dayton area are confirming than a Thunderbird jet is “on its top.”
This picture, posted by Dayton Daily News shows emergency crews responding to the incident scene.
— Dayton Daily News (@daytondailynews) June 23, 2017
The pilot of the jet at the time was Thunderbird #8, Capt. Erik “Speedy” Gonsalves. Tech Sargent Kenneth Cordova was the backseater. The mission was on a familiarization flight for Tech Sargent Cordova.
Both occupants of the plane were transported to the hospital. Thunderbird #1 says that injuries are non-life threatening. Tech Sargent Cordova had no visible injuries and is doing “just fine.” Thunderbird #8 had lacerations and injuries to his leg but is in stable to good condition and doing well.
There was heavy rain and wind in the area at the time of the incident. We’ll post more details on our forums as they become available.
The plane took off around 10:30 am this morning. Weather at the time met the criteria for the flight. He flew an instrument procedure approach to recover to the base. Mishap happened after landing on Runway 6L.
An accident safety board will investigate and the results will be made public at a later time. The Thunderbirds will NOT perform on Saturday at the Dayton Airshow. Sunday’s performance is to be determined.
USAF Thunderbirds were conducting a familiarization flight June 23. There was a mishap upon landing at 12:20 p.m. More info to come.
— Thunderbirds (@AFThunderbirds) June 23, 2017
Eleven B-25 Mitchells roared over the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, OH on Tuesday in an incredible tribute to the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders. The flyover came 75 years to the day after the 16 B-25s and 80 airmen took off from the USS Hornet to bomb Japan. Although it inflicted little damage, the psychological effects of the raid forced a change in Japanese strategy that altered the course of the war.
The rare warbirds are all privately owned and operated, and had gathered in nearby Urbana, OH before landing at the museum for public display. They performed a mass formation and missing man flyovers during a memorial service for the Raiders this afternoon. The only surviving member of the Raiders, Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” Cole, was in attendance.
Later in the ceremony, two B-1B Lancer bombers also performed a flyover. Both aircraft are from squadrons that participated in the original raid in 1942, and one of them was recently rechristened “Ruptured Duck” in tribute to one of the raid aircraft.
The NMUSAF has hosted several of the annual Doolittle Raider reunions in the past, including in 2010 and 2012.
Thank you to forum user DanODell for the photos! For more photos and videos from the event, be sure to check out the Doolittle Raider 75th Anniversary thread on our forums!
A new album is now available in our photo gallery! Check it out here: Cleveland National Airshow 2016 – Ryan Sundheimer
The 2016 Cleveland National Airshow, featured the US Navy Blue Angels, USAF F-22 Raptor, USAF F-35 Lightning II, Redline Airshows, the Shockwave jet truck, vintage warbirds, and more.
When the US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet demonstration teams perform in place of the Blue Angels over the next two weekends, their performances will be dedicated to the memory of Capt. Jeff Kuss, the Blue Angel pilot who was killed in a crash last week.
The teams from VFA-106 and VFA-122 were tasked to fill in for the Blues when the team officially canceled its performances in Syracuse, NY and Dayton, OH over the next two weekends. The VFA-106 team will perform in Syracuse on June 11-12, and the VFA-122 team will perform in Dayton on June 18-19. The VFA-106 Super Hornet and Legacy Hornet aircraft, which was already scheduled to perform in Rhode Island this weekend, will even sport special ‘6’ decals to honor Capt Kuss, who flew as Blue Angel 6. Photos from the US Navy Tac Demo Facebook Page.
The addition of the Super Hornet demonstrations will help bolster the lineups of the shows and maintain the Navy’s presence at them. Each show has added other acts to their lineup since the cancellation as well. No announcements have been made as to future Blue Angel shows that may be impacted by their stand down, or possible appearances by the Hornet and Super Hornets to fill in for them.