George H. W. Bush To Be Buried In Blue Angel Socks As Eternal Tribute To Navy Service

posted in: Jet Teams, Miscellaneous, Popular Posts | 0

TBM Avenger "George Bush" - AirshowStuff

When former President George H. W. Bush is buried this week, the US Navy Blue Angels will be with him. On his socks.

The 41st President was well known for his love of colorful socks, often using them to make a statement or support a cause. Bush’s spokesman Jim McGrath shared this image on Twitter of the final pair of socks, which feature the iconic Blue Angel delta formation, with smoke on, against a blue sky. Also featured are the Wings of Gold that signify a naval aviator.


It’s entirely fitting that Bush will represent the Navy in his grave. After all, he flew 58 combat missions in TBM Avenger torpedo bombers for the US Navy in World War II. He was shot down during an attack mission in 1944 and rescued by a submarine. The final Nimitz-class aircraft carrier to enter Navy service, CVN-77, is named for him.

He was made an Honorary Blue Angel in 2014.


Aviation continued to play a part in Bush’s life until the very end. The code-word used by family and friends to privately share news of his death was “CAVU”, an aviation acronym for ‘ceiling and visibility unlimited’ that signifies weather that presents no restrictions on flying.

Bush’s legacy as a naval aviator will live on; at least two civilian-owned TBM Avengers bear his name as part of their paint schemes.

Historic “Memphis Belle” B-17 Moved Into US Air Force Museum Hangar

posted in: Museums, Warbirds | 0

B-17 Flying Fortress "Memphis Belle" and "Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby" - National Museum of the United States Air Force

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.

B-17 Flying Fortress "Memphis Belle" - National Museum of the United States Air Force

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.

B-17 Flying Fortress "Memphis Belle" - National Museum of the United States Air ForceB-17 Flying Fortress "Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby" - National Museum of the United States Air Force

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

B-17 Flying Fortress "Memphis Belle" - National Museum of the United States Air ForceB-17 Flying Fortress "Memphis Belle" - National Museum of the United States Air Force

Rare USAF Heritage Flight Formation To Perform Super Bowl LII Flyover

posted in: Flyovers | 1

P-51 Mustang and A-10 Warthogs - USAF Heritage Flight

Keep your eyes to the sky (or more likely, your TV screen) before the kickoff of Super Bowl LII on February 4th – there will be a special US Air Force Heritage Flight flyover for the national anthem! The formation will feature the World War II-era P-51 Mustang “Sierra Sue II” leading two A-10 Warthogs and an F-16 Fighting Falcon.

It’s interesting that any flyover is planned, because the game is being played inside the fully enclosed U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN. Nevertheless, there will hopefully be sufficient coverage for everyone outside of the stadium to enjoy the flight. The game, between the Patriots and the Eagles, is scheduled to start at 6:30 pm eastern time and will be broadcast on NBC.

Sierra Sue II is a combat veteran P-51 that is owned by the Wings of the North museum, located just outside of Minneapolis in Eden Prairie. Heritage Flight-approved pilot Steve Hinton will be at the controls during the flyover.

WATCH: This Rare Super Hornet/Corsair Formation Showcases Decades Of Naval Aviation History

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!

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

TBM Avenger Gathering Promises To Be Even Bigger In 2017

posted in: Airshows, Warbirds | 2

TBM Avenger Gathering 2016

The Gathering of TBM Avengers will return for the second year in a row and promises to be even bigger and better! This year a whopping sixteen TBMs (and TBFs) have verbally committed to the event, which will be held on Saturday, May 20th in Peru, IL. Numerous other warbird crews have expressed interest in flying in as well, including B-25 Mitchells, A-1 Skyraiders, and P-51 Mustangs, as well as an F4U Corsair, F8F Bearcat, F4F Wildcat, F-86 Sabre, MiG-17 Fresco, and T-33 Shooting Star.

TBM Avenger Gathering 2016TBM Avenger Gathering 2016

Over 250 aircraft (including 10 Avengers) and 10,000 people turned out for the first event last April, taking advantage of the beautiful weather to kick off the summer flying season. It was undoubtedly one of the best early-season events in the Midwest, and we are excited that it will be continuing.

This year’s event will be set up very similar to the last one. Attendees should plan to arrive at Illinois Valley Regional Airport (KVYS in Peru) in the mid-morning. Both parking and admission are free this year, thanks to the sponsorship of Marquis Energy! Food and drinks will be available on the airport, and several warbirds will be offering rides.

TBM Avenger Gathering 2016TBM Avenger Gathering 2016

One important difference is that the airspace around the area will be “waivered” from 12 to 4pm. This will allow the warbirds to perform more than they could last year – it should feel a bit more like an airshow. Pilots that plan to fly in will need to be aware of the change.

With a little good weather, this event should again prove to be the grand opening of airshow season in these parts. Our own Anthony Richards designed this flyer for the event, which is being passed around as an open invitation to pilots and enthusiasts alike. We hope you will help us spread the word, and that you will join us there!

Be sure to check in on our forums for future updates, to share your thoughts, and to post your own photos from the event!

TBM Avenger Gathering 2017

Airplane that Led the D-Day Invasion Appears at Oshkosh

posted in: Warbirds | 0

IMG_6720webish

If you’re heading to Oshkosh, look for a part of history on the airfield! Aircraft number 42-92847, nicknamed “That’s All, Brother,” will be on display all week in Boeing PLaza. The aircraft is the C-47 that led Mission Albany. The aircraft group that it flew with was a formation of 432 aircraft which launched just after midnight on D-Day will be on site for the public to view.

The aircraft was acquired by Basler Turbo Conversions LLC of Oshkosh,WI in 2008. Not knowing the history of the aircraft, Basler had planned to convert it into a modern BT-67 turboprop, changing the appearance of the aircraft by lengthening its fuselage, replacing the original engines with modern engines and gutting the cockpit, replacing it with new equipment.

In it’s current state, “That’s All Brother” looks like an AC-47 Gunship, a role it never served.

“At 2233 hours, our first airplane, with the name “That’s All, Brother” begins its roll down the runway. It is thus America’s lead plane of the spearhead of the greatest military invasion in the history of man.” W.L. George Collins, “Into Fields of Fire”
“At 2233 hours, our first airplane, with the name “That’s All, Brother” begins its roll down the runway. It is thus America’s lead plane of the spearhead of the greatest military invasion in the history of man.” W.L. George Collins, “Into Fields of Fire”

The Commemorative Air Force and Basler Turbo Conversions are searching for funding to help restore the aircraft through a Kickstarter campaign. Reward levels are available for those who donate.

The CAF plans to fly it in the future, even overseas in Europe to participate in the 75th anniversary of D-Day if they raise enough money. Their full plan states:

-Faithfully restore the aircraft to represent its exact configuration on D-Day. This will include exterior paint and the installation of original seats, avionics, radio and radar equipment.
Maintain the aircraft in airworthy condition as a piece of living history, attending major national commemoration events, airshows, flyovers and the like.
-Develop a touring educational program that emphasizes the values of the Greatest Generation: courage, self-sacrifice, perseverance, initiative, and the price of freedom. The program will be influenced by the success of the CAF’s Red Tail Squadron program RISE ABOVE. Using a P-51C Mustang and traveling movie theater, this takes the inspirational story of the Tuskegee Airmen to 40 cities each year, reaching about 50,000 people annually.
-Fly to Europe in the summer of 2019 to participate in the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the last opportunity for living veterans to attend a major commemoration event.

As of July 20th, the Kickstarter campaign has raised more than $328,736 for the cause as of July 20th. CAF and Basler Turbo Conversions have until August 31, 2015 to raise the money necessary to rescue the airplane.

#MustangMonday P-51 Fan Photos – June 15th, 2015

posted in: Community, Warbirds | 0

We asked our Facebook fans to share their best P-51 #MustangMonday picture and they delivered! Scroll through the pictures below to see the best fan submissions today on our Facebook page. Just because #MustangMonday is almost over, doesn’t mean the Mustang love has to stop! Feel free to post pictures of the P-51 or any airshow photo you have on our Facebook fan page anytime!

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