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!

WATCH: Blue Angels Soar Over Pensacola Beach With F-35s At Sunset

posted in: Jet Teams | 1

One of the traditions of the US Navy Blue Angels is the “beach buzz”; each time the team returns from an airshow trip to their home base of NAS Pensacola, they fly down Pensacola Beach in formation as a salute to the community that supports them.

As the team returned home from the NAS Jacksonville airshow tonight, they did just that. However, on an unusual second pass over the beach, they were accompanied by two extra aircraft!

Two F-35 Lightning IIs took formation on the left and right sides of the Delta formation to make an 8-ship formation! Check out the video below:

WATCH: Classic Warbird Sunset Flight – Ride Along With Six TBM Avengers!

Turkeys CAN Fly!

We here at AirshowStuff.com think you’ll agree that few things sound better than the radial engine of a classic warbird. Unless, of course, it’s SIX radial engines! In 2016, the Illinois Regional Valley airport in Peru, IL hosted their first TBM Avenger Gathering where ten TBM Avengers (along with many other classic warbirds) met for an unforgettable weekend showcasing this legend of World War II. Affectionately nicknamed “The Turkey” for its large size, the Avenger was designed as a torpedo bomber and saw action in the Pacific theater. Avengers were even piloted by such famous people as former President George H. W. Bush and movie star Paul Newman!

From taxi to landing, you get a cockpit view from one of the immaculately-restored Avengers taking part in a formation flight at dusk. The golden glow of the sunset, along with the six other Avengers, makes for some spectacular scenery. You’ll see various formations being flown, and even get a glimpse of a T-6 Texan photo ship capturing the action as well. The sound of the radial engine’s throaty roar takes you back to when these large aircraft patrolled the skies, looking for Japanese ships. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this thrilling video and all it has to offer, you won’t be disappointed!

Be sure to browse the AirshowStuffVideos channel on YouTube for more great videos.

-Justin Miner

TBM AvengerTBM Avenger Star Trail

RARE SIGHT: Blue Angels and Patrouille de France Fly Together

posted in: Jet Teams, Popular Posts | 1

Blue Angels and Patrouille de France Fly Together

The world’s two oldest military flight demonstration teams flew together Sunday night as the US Navy Blue Angels returned to Pensacola from Sun ‘n Fun with the Patrouille de France in tow to spend a few days with the team.

The eight Alpha Jets of the Patrouille teamed up with the Blue’s six F/A-18 Hornets at sunset, flying down the coastline and creating a fantastic photo opportunity for Blue Angel #7 to snap a few pictures, like the one above.

Check out this video posted by a boater off the coast of Pensacola!

The French team’s visit is part of a nationwide tour that takes them from coast to coast. The team just wrapped up the central Florida portion of the visit with airshow performances in Melbourne, FL and Lakeland, FL.

Below are some photos provided by the Blue Angels Association!

Blue Angels and Patrouille de France Fly TogetherBlue Angels and Patrouille de France Fly Together

Have a photo or video you took? Post it on our Facebook wall or our forums! We’d love to see it.

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.