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!
Also be sure to check out our video playlist from the event!
Check out this rare and awesome video of one of the only flying examples left of an F-100 Super Sabre! This video was taken at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh back in 2015 and showcases the power and beauty of the F-100 with a stunning twilight backdrop. Be sure to pay particular attention to the afterburner as this powerful fighter-bomber of the 50’s and 60’s streaks by in pass after pass of polished metal glory. Pilot Dean “Cutter” Cutshall will put the F-100 through its paces, and you have a front-row seat to it all. And for a little bit of background on the F-100, read on about how this iconic aircraft cemented itself in aviation history.
In May of 1953, an unusual looking aircraft took to the skies for the first time. Sporting a gaping air intake where the nose would traditionally be located, along with a unique 45 degree swept-back wing design, the prototype F-100 Super Sabre took flight.
Building on the success of the F-86 Sabre jet, the North American Aviation F-100 Super Sabre was designed to be an air superiority fighter, and the first production fighter to be able to break the sound barrier while in level flight. The first of the so-called Century Series fighters, the Super Sabre carried four 20mm cannons on the bottom of the fuselage and a Pratt and Whitney J57 engine that propelled it to a maximum speed of about 850 mph. Later versions would receive an updated version of the J57 engine that would propel the “Hun”, as it was called, to a maximum speed of approximately 880 mph. With the exception of a handful of shows flown in the F-105 Thunderchief in 1964, the Super Sabre was the aircraft of choice for the USAF Thunderbirds from 1956 to 1969.
Though the Super Sabre was designed as an air superiority fighter, its ability as a tactical bomber became apparent, especially during the Vietnam war. Trading in the colorful and high-visibility silver lacquer paint schemes of the 1950’s, the Super Sabre began wearing the green and brown paint of the Southeast Asian conflict in its new role. The F-100D, the most produced variant of the Hun, became an adept ground attack aircraft platform and saved many friendly troops in direct action sorties by dropping a variety of ordnance from general purpose bombs, to rockets, to napalm. By the end of the Vietnam war, the F-100 had become the longest-serving fighter of any type, serving from 1961 to 1971. The Super Sabre was also the first aircraft to carry out the dangerous “Wild Weasel” surface-to-air missile suppression missions. Due to the heightened tensions of the Cold War, the F-100 could even pack a wallop with the capability of carrying five different types of tactical nuclear bombs.
With aircraft technology advancing rapidly in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the F-100 Super Sabres eventually became obsolete and were retired or transferred off to Air National Guard units. Some were even exported to other nations. The Hun was officially retired in 1979, but continued to serve proudly into the 1980’s as QF-100 drones. Despite being replaced by more technologically advanced aircraft in the 1970’s, you can see why the North American Aviation F-100 Super Sabre was one of the most powerful and capable fighter-bombers in history.
Once again, be sure to check out the video, turn up the volume, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the F-100 Super Sabre. You won’t be disappointed!
– Justin Miner
The world’s oldest flyable jet, and one of the last remaining F-86A Sabres, S/N 48-178, took to the skies once again today in Rockford, IL. This is a major milestone in the recent acquisition of the Sabre by Heritage Aero Inc, which is based in Rockford, on behalf of a US collector. Paul Wood was at the controls for the two flights made by the Sabre, which was accompanied by a T-33 chase plane. The first flight was originally expected to occur before this year’s EAA AirVenture earlier in July, but was delayed by mechanical issues.
Sabre 48-178 has been through numerous private owners and restorations throughout it’s life, originating in Everett, WA in 1970 to Golden Apple Operations in the UK (1992)and finally to Heritage Aero late last year. These flights are a promising sign that we should see her on the airshow circuit next year!
All images courtesy of David Charles Lindberg
Five Things is our regular feature to review the airshows that we attend. You already know that the performers were great, so instead of recapping who flew what, we want to jump straight to the most notable moments or stories; things that would remain in your head on the drive home and for a long time afterward.
Airshow: Wings Over Waukegan
Location: Waukegan, IL
Small Show Atmosphere
While airshows with jet teams and major gatherings get a lot of press, small shows are almost an entirely separate world. The layout is more intimate, the people are generally friendlier, and the gate rules are often relaxed. There is not an ‘ego’ to the event. Wings Over Waukegan is one of these small shows, and it provides a wonderful change of pace from larger blockbuster events. The entire show layout is smaller, and there are no chalet tents. The only tent, set up for performers and other VIPs, is at one end of the show line. The performer aircraft were parked directly in front of the main crowd area with just enough room to taxi out. Before the show, this section of the ramp was open to the public to get up close with the performing aircraft and pilots, something rarely seen at large shows.
One Day Only
In fitting with the small show atmosphere, the event is only held for one day. This is not unheard of with smaller shows, but it certainly feels different to know that you cannot come back and see the same thing the next day. Photos must be taken with cautious settings as there is no second opportunity. This also makes the show organization much more vulnerable to bad weather since the crowd cannot alter their plans if rain or storms are forecast. Last year’s show dealt with large storms throughout the afternoon, but thankfully was successful enough to continue this year. However, the single day schedule is nice because it affords a chance to relax afterward without fear of an early morning to come.
Luckily for the show the weather this year was very nearly perfect. Cloudless blue skies helped the photographers use the show’s sun-at-your-back orientation to its full potential and temperatures in the low 70s kept everyone comfortable. The one factor that wasn’t favorable was the decently strong on-crowd wind, and it led to some interesting moments during the show. Only a few performers used smoke during their routine, but those that did quickly smothered the crowd with it. During the jet warbird segment it got so bad that the aircraft could not be seen until they were past. A T-33 making a high speed pass and suddenly appearing in front of you is a pretty cool sight!
Warbirds Front and Center
The core of the Wings Over Waukegan show is undoubtedly the warbirds. The Warbird Heritage Foundation, a major player in Midwest shows, is based on the field across from the crowd area and puts most of their aircraft on display each year. The WHF A-4 Skyhawk served as the show finale this year, but their P-51 Mustang, T-2 Buckeye, A-1 Skyraider, F-86 Sabre, and L-39 Albatros also either flew or sat on static display. Other warbirds came in for the show, including a T-37 Tweet that put on an impressively nimble aerobatic demo, and an F4U Corsair that performed aerobatics and a US Navy Legacy Flight with the A-4.
An Army of Cadets
One of the most stunning aspects of the Waukegan show was the massive number of cadets present. Be they Civil Air Patrol, Young Marines, or other groups with a similar purpose, the cadets and their handlers almost outnumbered the actual spectators at the show. Every static aircraft had a minimum of 3 to 5 cadets stationed around it on guard duty, making photos difficult or impossible to come by. Once the hot ramp closed, a line of cadets marched out to form a human wall in front of the spectators rather than simply setting up some sort of fence. Luckily some areas of the crowd line had normal snow fencing, but anyone with the misfortune of sitting behind the cadets surely had to feel angry at seeing a bunch of uniformed butts where aircraft should have been. Hopefully the show can look at this and come up with an alternate method of creating a crowd line. Dragging some stands out and running rope between them would not be difficult. On a positive note, the cadets were relatively relaxed and the power trips that have become all too familiar to airshow fans were not a problem. And when the only complaint about the show is a bunch of well behaved cadets, you know there isn’t much to complain about at all!
– Ryan Sundheimer