Warbird Heritage Foundation Acquires P-51 Mustang “Moonbeam McSwine” To Honor Vlado Lenoch

posted in: Warbirds | 8

Vlado Lenoch and Moonbeam McSwine

Moonbeam McSwine is coming home!

The Warbird Heritage Foundation announced Wednesday that they’ve purchased the P-51 Mustang named “Moonbeam McSwine” from its most recent owner, Mr. Frederic Akary of France. The aircraft will reside under a new FAA registration number, N51VL, in honor of Vlado Lenoch.

Vlado and Moonbeam were synonymous; he flew the aircraft for over 20 years before he sold it to Akary in 2012 and began flying WHF’s P-51 Mustang “Baby Duck” at airshows instead. Vlado and passenger Bethany Root were flying in Baby Duck when they were killed in a crash last July. The aircraft was completely destroyed in the incident.

Moonbeam McSwine ReassemblyMoonbeam McSwine Reassembly

Rumors have been swirling for weeks now that Moonbeam was being brought home to the US to be flown as a tribute to Vlado, but until today nothing was confirmed publicly. The aircraft has arrived from overseas and is scheduled to be re-assembled at Tab-Air in East Troy, WI before joining the WHF fleet in Waukegan, IL. If all goes well, the aircraft should be up and flying in time for this summer’s airshow season!

Moonbeam McSwine Reassembly

Moonbeam’s history dates back to October of 1944, when it was manufactured in Inglewood, CA. In the 70s, 80s and 90s, Moonbeam raced in the Reno Air Races. Vlado flew it regularly in the United States Air Force Heritage Flight program (see the video below) before he sold it to Frederic Akary in 2012. Since then, it has been seen regularly at airshows across Europe.

We were fortunate to work with Vlado for many years, and continue to mourn his loss. This tribute is well deserved, and Moonbeam will certainly see many emotional reunions with Vlado’s friends as it returns to the airshow circuit. We look forward to bringing you plenty of photos and videos of this piece of history!

WATCH: Rare Joint Flight Of NASA T-38 And NACA P-63 Honors Legacy Of Flight Testing

posted in: Featured Videos, Warbirds | 0

The History of Aeronautical Exploration!

There’s no end to the types of aircraft that you can see at AirVenture. If you look in any direction, you can see everything from homebuilts to the latest military hardware. This year, a unique duo took to the skies of Oshkosh during Sunday’s airshow for a display that’s both rare, and a treat to watch. Representing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, a NASA T-38 Talon takes to the skies and shares the airspace with a National Advisory Committee of Aeronautics P-63 Kingcobra wearing special Test markings. Although the aircraft didn’t fly in close formation, their joint passes offered a special tribute to pioneers of science and technology both past and present. It’s a unique combination even for AirVenture!

The P-63 was also part of a different special flight during AirVenture; a formation of three P-63 Kingcobras, approximately half of the flyable examples in the world!

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

-Justin Miner

NASA T-38 Talon - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017NACA P-63 Kingcobra - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017

Colorado Highway Named In Honor Of Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, Blue Angel #6

posted in: Miscellaneous | 0
Colorado Highway Renamed Jeff Kuss Memorial Highway
Courtesy: CDOT/Navy

A new sign now stands as an honor to fallen Blue Angel #6. Colorado Highway 3 just outside of Durango has been renamed as the Capt. Jeff Kuss Memorial Highway in honor of the Marine pilot. The announcement comes nearly a year after the tragic accident in Smyrna, TN in which Kuss lost his life.

The resolution, brought forward by Rep. Barbara McLachlan who represents the district of Durango where Kuss resided, was formally read before the chambers of the Legislature of Colorado and passed in both the House and Senate with all members joining as co-sponsors. McLachlan said that she sees the resolution as “a tribute to Kuss, his family, and veterans across the state.”

Five members of Kuss’ family who live in Colorado were present in the House of Legislature for the announcement of the resolution.

The town of Smyrna, TN, where the accident occurred is also working to honor Kuss by building a memorial. They have raised half of the expected $1 million cost of the memorial but help is needed to complete the project. Click here for more information on how you can help.

Smyrna, Tennessee Announces Memorial For Fallen Blue Angel Capt. Jeff Kuss

posted in: Miscellaneous, Popular Posts | 2
Blue Angel Captain Jeff Kuss Memorial - Smyrna, TN
Photo courtesy of the town of Smyrna

The mayor of Smyrna, Tennessee announced plans today for a memorial to Blue Angels pilot Capt. Jeff “Kooch” Kuss, who was killed in a crash while preparing for the Great Tennessee Airshow in the city last June. The memorial will feature a retired F/A-18 Hornet in Blue Angel colors, on loan from the National Naval Aviation Museum in the Blue Angels’ home town of Pensacola, Florida.

Captain Jeff Kuss - Blue Angel 6

Kuss was a Captain in the US Marine Corps, and flew as Blue Angel #7 in 2015 and Blue Angel #6 in 2016. The team was flying a practice performance in Smyrna last June when Kuss attempted to perform a Split-S on takeoff. A Navy investigation into the crash found that he entered the maneuver too low and too fast, and impacted the ground near the airport. He left behind a wife and two kids. The report led to a mandatory rest period for the team every two months.

Mayor Mary Esther Reed outlined the memorial plans at a press conference that was streamed live online. She described Kuss as an American hero and explained that citizens wanted to see him honored. The city featured many impromptu tributes to him in the hours and days following the crash. Around half of the expected $1 million cost of the memorial has been raised already, but help is need to complete the project. You can donate to the memorial by visiting www.CaptJeffKussUSMCMemorial.com

Blue Angels Honor Capt. Kuss at First Public Display Since Crash

posted in: Jet Teams | 4

Blue Angels Honor Jeff Kuss

The United States Navy Blue Angels returned to flying public demonstrations over the July 4th holiday weekend when they took to the skies over Traverse City, Michigan. Instead of the typical six jets, the Blues flew with only five jets as a new #6 pilot is still in the works.

Capt. Kuss’ memory was still shining bright as the team flew in Michigan. Upon arriving in Traverse City, the Blue Angel’s Maintenance Crew marked a spot on the ramp with silver tape, in the spot where the #6 jet would typically be parked.

Blue Angels Honor Jeff Kuss

United States Coast Guard Base Traverse City is also honoring Kuss by flying his number on their MH-65s.

Coast Guard Honors Fallen Blue Angel Capt Jeff Kuss