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Planes of Fame Airshow 2016

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Planes of Fame Air Museum is proud to present Planes of Fame Airshow 2016, April 29 – May 1: commemorating the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. This year’s airshow will feature nearly 50 historic aircraft, performing for your enjoyment as well as a salute to our veterans. We invite you to the airshow to celebrate the history, contributions, and sacrifices of our veterans.

Performers include USAF F-16 Viper Demo Team and Heritage Flight, Sean D. Tucker-Team Oracle Aerobatics, Sea Fury Aerobatics by Sanders Aeronautics, Rob Harrison and the Tumbling Bear, Gregory Colyer’s T-33, Kent Pietsch and the Jelly Belly Airplane, Erickson Aircraft Collection, Texas Flying Legends, John Collver SNJ-AT6 Aerobatics, Granley Airshows Yak Aerobatic Team and over 40 WWII aircraft including Zeros, B-25, P-47, and P-51s, and there is more to announce later! In addition to many other fantastic airplanes that will be performing and on static display, there will be a special panel discussion with some of our honored veterans. Stay tuned for future announcements of some of our special guests. Also, be sure to catch the Twilight Show on April 29! If you are interested in helping to sponsor the airshow, click here to learn about the opportunities!

FRIDAY, APRIL 29 – Twilight Show! – 12:00pm to 8:00pm

Show Dates & Times

Friday, April 29, 2016; 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Saturday and Sunday, April 30 – May 1, 2016; 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Gates open at 8am
Flying Show from 11am – 4pm
Gates close at 5pm
Static displays and vendors will be open 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM


Luke Days, 2016


In 1941, Luke Field opened with the mission of training the finest fighter pilots in the world. Now called the “Home of the Fighter Pilot”, Luke continues to instill upon the next generation of Air Force Airman the required skills to “Fly, Fight and Win”. Seventy-five years later, at Luke Air Force Base, in Glendale, Arizona, over 100,000 people gathered to honor the last three quarters of a century of tradition, strength and excellence. Luke Days, 2016


Every two years, Luke Air Force Base gathers exceptional static and aerial displays and performers, and then packages them into one of the best airshows in the country. This year was no different. Featuring such acts as Kirby Chambliss, Greg Colyer, The Golden Knights, Tora! Tora! Tora! and the United States Air Force Thunderbirds, as well as a great static group, this year had it all.


Included in this year’s static displays were the CAF B-25, B-17, P-40 and AT-6 Texan. Draken International provided a “Heinemann’s Hot Rod” otherwise known as an A-4 Skyhawk. Also present on the ramp, and providing ample amounts of shade, was a C-17 Globemaster III, a C-130J and a KC-135. Rounding out the static displays included several F-16s from Luke, a couple L-39s, F-15s, a B-1 bomber and an A-10. Popular with anyone who likes a big gun stuffed into a mean looking airplane, America’s favorite ground-pounder, and the gold standard for providing close air support migraines to the enemy, it constantly had more than a few supporters grinning with admiration. The B-1 provided more shade, but its sleek, supersonic design never did yield as much shelter as the larger wings of the C-17 and KC-135. Nonetheless, the aircrew seemed to have a great time answering questions about the massive, four-engined, Mach-busting bomber.


Across the tarmac, one of the best parts about Luke Days is the access to the pilots and crews based here, providing the next generation of American Airman the chance to be inspired once more. It was difficult to fully ascertain who was having more fun; the kids eagerly looking into cockpits and asking questions with grins, giggles and dreams… or the pilots and crews, just as eagerly answering the questions and fueling those dreams. The Golden Knights are the United States Army Parachute Demonstration Team, and to open the show, a Golden Knight unfurled an American Flag after deploying his parachute canopy. The Stars and Stripes waving bright behind him, the National Anthem playing as he descended. The Golden Knights would fly a different show a bit later, too. Kirby Chambliss followed, flying his Edge 540 aerobatic aircraft. Kirby performed lunch-launching, mind bending maneuvers that shouldn’t really be possible in an airplane with deft precision. Shortly after that, Greg Colyer took Ace Maker II to the sky. Once the premier jet trainer of the 1950’s, Greg made it clear this is a fighter-derived design. His maneuvers are precise, fast, and gorgeous. Ace Maker II might be a little over half a century old, but in Greg’s expert hands, she hasn’t lost a bit of performance.


This year’s airshow season, and beginning at Luke Days, will feature the first ever Lockheed F-35 Lightning II Heritage Flight Demonstration. The Heritage Flight was conceived, and is flown with a vintage aircraft and a modern aircraft in tight formation, as a tribute to all who have worn United States Air Force and Army Air Force Aviator wings in the defense of the United States. The F-35 gets its name from the legendary, unmistakable P-38 Lightning from World War 2. While there are only about seven or eight airworthy P-38’s, Steve Hinton from the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino, California brought one of them, “Skidoo”, for this year’s performance. There’s definitely a little bit of magic when two aircraft, generations apart in design and technology, come together to cross the sky in formation with reverence to the history they represent. There might be almost eight decades between them, but the language they speak is the same. Along with the Heritage Flight, a massive demonstration of American firepower from the Luke-based 56th Fighter Wing left no doubt whose side you want to be on in a time of conflict. Flying the actual maneuvers they train for, combined with an excellent pyrotechnic display, the pilots yanked and banked their venerable F-16 Vipers with copious amounts of ground-shaking afterburner through a simulated close air support mission. The ability of the F-16 to put the hurt on the enemy, while getting our soldiers out of danger was on full display. Sure glad they’re on our side.


Speaking of pyrotechnic displays, the Commemorative Air Force’s Tora! Tora! Tora! reenactment of the attack on Pearl Harbor provided a stoic, sobering reminder of the often terrible price which must be paid to protect the freedoms we hold most cherished. This display features Japanese aircraft flown in a simulated attack with a stirring narration and a hellacious, fiery display of explosions and smoke. While it is doubtful any reenactment could fully capture the hell on earth that was December 7th, 1941, after witnessing Tora! Tora! Tora!, those in attendance were moved, some to tears, and all to reverence.


For the finale, it was the Thunderbirds’ turn to show us the definition of perfection from the ground to the sky. Every aspect of a Thunderbirds demonstration is coordinated, rehearsed, checked and double checked. The ground crew and pilots approach their aircraft, salutes snap like lighting. Every step, every movement is on point. As the pilots start and warm up their F-16’s anticipation is high. It doesn’t take long before all six aircraft have thundered into the Arizona sky. Needless to say, once again, there is little doubt the United States possesses some of the best fighter pilots in the world. All of the trademark maneuvers are there. The Calypso Pass, Reflection Pass, Four Abreast Loop, High Bomb Burst… and of course a few thrilling, full afterburner sneak passes. Flying inches apart in perfect unison, the finest pilots in the Air Force sweep through the sky with grace, power and absolutely unyielding precision. In what is always too short a time, the airshow comes to a close, and we look forward to Luke Days, 2018. Photorecon and the Author give our most ardent thanks to Luke Air Force Base, the 56th Fighter Wing, Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, Commander of the 56th Fighter Wing, Major West, the Luke AFB Public Affairs Office, the U.S. Army Parachute Demonstration Team “Golden Knights”, the Performers, Static displays and everyone who put in the efforts required to conduct such an excellent airshow.

The 2016 Tyabb, Australia Air Show – Les Neistat’s View


The biennial Tyabb Airshow took place this year and while always well attended, this year saw it exceed expectations with a crowd of approximately 15,000.  A clear highlight of the show was Graham Hosking’s Chance Vought F4U-5N (VH-III) Honduran Air Force Corsair’s display, closely followed by a four ship flypast of 4 Ryans. Paul Bennet Airshows brought its Grumman TBM-3 Avenger (VH-MML) and Sky Aces Aerobatic team Wolf Pitts Pro and Pitts Special S1S and the The Southern Knights, with their T6 Harvards gave their usual, polished display.

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Reading, PA World War II Weekend

Scottish Rite Troops

We tend to denote our lives by significant dates and memorable events. 2015 provided such an occasion, marking the 70th anniversary to the end of World War II and the 25th year for the annual Reading, Pa World War II Weekend. No other show in the country, with air and ground displays, better depicts the times. Throughout the day at Reading, hundreds of re-enactors with period firearms, tents stocked with voluminous military objects and meticulously attired in appropriate uniforms, portrayed the following historic events.


Although the unemployment rate had dropped from its 1933 high of twenty-five percent, 1941 still saw the nation gripped by the great depression. While many Americans were able to gain meaningful employment through government programs like the Works Projects, initiated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), most had grown accustomed to making sacrifices- doing with less or completely without some of life’s simplest pleasures. They were a moral, honest, God fearing generation that even in the height of the depression never felt the need to lock their doors. They would later earn the deserved title of the nation’s “Greatest Generation.”

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Coast Guard Aviation at 100 Years: A Century In Harm’s Way, Part 1


This is the first of a two part series on the centennial of Coast Guard Aviation.  To see the other article, which covers the years later than this article, click here.

The First Five Decades…

The U.S. Coast Guard’s history with aviation spans less than half its existence, but the impact of heavier-than-air vehicles on Coast Guard missions over the past century bears at least a mention here. While not a full history, here are some of the actions and anecdotes that have shaped today’s Coast Guard flying missions.

In the Beginning… In 1903, more than a decade before the start aviation activities by what became the Coast Guard, a trio of Surfmen from their nearby U.S. Life-Saving Service facility helped carry supplies from the Wright Brother’s camp to the hill near Kitty Hawk NC, where the Wright Flyer acheived their first heavier-than-air flight. Surfman J.T. Daniels even pushed the shutter button on the camera that captured the now-iconic photograph that proved the Wright Flyer succeeded in becoming airborne.

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