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Atlanta’s Warhawk Weekend

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Photos by Gerhard Frenz Photography

 The Commemorative Air Force’s Dixie Wing offered its’ Atlanta Warbird Weekend over the last weekend in September, 2016. Splashed through their advertisements, the Wing was quite specific that the “Atlanta Warbird Weekend is NOT an air show. It is a warbird display, aircraft rides, and history education event.” Sure, warbirds alighted from time to time, but emphasis was on ground displays.

This year, a special salute to the 75th anniversary of the American Volunteer Group (AVG – nicknamed the Flying Tigers) brought five Curtiss P-40 Warhawk/Kittyhawk World War II fighter planes together on the grounds of the DeKalb-Peachtree Airport. Several original members of the AVG were even present at the event too. The AVG operated in the China/Burma/India (CBI) Theatre of the war, the same geographical area where the famous “Hump”, with its tall Himalayan mountain peaks made resupply operations both difficult and costly. Discussions of operations over the Hump were also part of this year’s weekend. Examples of the Curtiss C-46 and Douglas C-47 transports that carried critical supplies intra-Theatre were present for the weekend too.

Here’s some information that the CAF Dixie Wing’s web site offered ahead of the weekend: “The Atlanta Warbird Weekend (AWW) is an annual event dedicated to the remembrance and celebration of the men, women and machines of The Greatest Generation. In metro Atlanta, there are significant historical resources and AWW is the catalyst to bring together the organizations, aircraft and people that keep this history alive and engage families and businesses that want to keep this spirit alive.

Our goal is to elevate awareness of historical organizations in Metro Atlanta, raise funds to “Keep ‘em Flying”, promote the sponsors and the DeKalb-Peachtree Airport – who make the event possible.

The Commemorative Air Force’s mission as a 501c3 non-profit organization is to restore and fly World War II aircraft in tribute to America’s veterans. The Dixie Wing, based in Peachtree City, GA, is the local chapter of the CAF. Our members come from all walks of life but have the common goal to keep history alive. …Along with air shows, rides days, events and festivals, we work with area schools, civic organizations and youth groups to teach the inspiring history of the Second World War and honoring The Greatest Generation. All local members are volunteers and receive no pay for flying, maintaining and restoring these rare, historic aircraft.”

The DeKalb-Peachtree Airport sits on part of what was once a World War I Army facility, known as Camp Gordon. After that conflict, the Army moved on and sold the land to private owners. Part of the land was sought for an airport, and in 1935, the DeKalb County purchased 300 acres for that purpose. By 1940, and with the help of a WPA Project, the first dirt runway became operational. Just prior to the start of the U.S.’s involvement in World War II, the federal government approved the construction of Naval Air Station Atlanta. The Navy operated the airport through 1959, when it was turned over to DeKalb County (again). Today it has become the second busiest airport in the state, after Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport.

Here are some photographic details of the five P-40s, and a few of some other planes on display:

Texas Flying Legends Museum P-40K Aleutian Tiger

Texas Flying Legends Museum P-40E Texas Warhawk

Fagen Fighters WWII Museum P-40E Desert Shark

American Airpower Museum’s P-40M “The Jacky C II”


Commemorative Air Force’s P-40N “Flying Tiger Tex Hill”

Other activities at the Atlanta Warbird Weekend, besides the static display of the P-40s, transports, and other warbirds, included opportunities for DC-3 and warbird rides, a dinner program with AVG veterans, and living history displays. Presentations on flying the Hump, the founding of the AVG, and more about the various aircraft on display occurred throughout each day. Finally, the five P-40s did fly once together each day, which was a highlight for many. A photography workshop and special sessions were offered too. At the time of this writing, next year’s program hasn’t been announced yet. 2014, the first Weekend, was full of warbird flying activity. 2015’s event was “A Gathering of Mustangs”, and this year’s event focused on the AVG and CBI. You can watch for the 2017 Atlanta Warbird Weekend’s theme at the CAF Dixie Wing’s homepage:

AirShow London’s Arrival Day Spectacular


Every once in a while, the moon and the stars are aligned just right, and things fall together on an air show arrival day that maxes out the “Fun Meter”. Close to ten hours of aviation excitement unfolded on Friday for those who had purchased an AirShow London Photo Pass option. London, Ontario saw a series of large air shows, with great military participation, in the 1980s through the early 2000s. There was a hiatus for a dozen years, until this year’s show was fielded.

Packages for air show attendance included a third and even a fourth day of excitement – a full package included a full day of the Friday Photo Tour day, full air shows on Saturday and Sunday, and a day full of aircraft departures on Monday. The two-day pass includes Friday and either Saturday or Sunday… and both Photo Tour options include early access to the grounds on the weekend (for more static photos) too. Here’s how the Friday Photo Tour unfolded, and why this option was a winner in 2016…

Arrival day is a great opportunity for show enthusiasts, especially those with a camera. Offering no crowds, best available spots from which to photograph, and like-minded aviation and photography aficionados to converse with, it is a huge bonus if the weather cooperates. On the Friday prior to the 2016 air show, the weather cooperated in spectacular fashion, with blue skies for most of the day, and a sneaky sunset and moonrise to play with. With better than three dozen aircraft expected, and scheduled airline service added to the mix, there were plenty of subjects to photograph.

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The 36th Annual Wings Over Camarillo Air Ahow

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The 36th annual ‘Wings Over Camarillo’ air show was held August 20th and 21st at the Camarillo Airport in Southern California. Once known as Oxnard Air Force Base, it is now home to the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), the Ventura County 99’s, the Ventura County Sheriff Department, and the Commemorative Air Force’s Southern California Wing. The airport also houses several general aviation businesses such as Orbitz Helicopters.

Bob Eubanks

The show’s Grand Marshall this year was none other than Mr. Bob Eubanks, who helped open the show along with Ron Fleishman. Together they kept the crowd informed and entertained, sharing stories of Bob’s illustrious career in between aerial acts.

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The Other Side of Thunder 2016

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Scott talks about warbirds and classic freightliners at Willow Run, MI present during the 2016’s Thunder Over Michigan

The Skies over Detroit’s Willow Run International Airport (KYIP) are devoid once again of High Performance Fighters of today and yesterday once again. Thunder Over Michigan 2016 is in the rear view mirror and in the History Books. Thunder 2016 had it all, Mustangs to Migs, Hueys to Hornets, and A10’s to Avenger’s. The highlights were many from High Performance Fighters such as the FA-18E/F Super Hornet to the F-22A Raptor flying maneuvers that are hard to believe possible. The Breitling Jet Team put on a dazzling display of aerial artistry flying the highly maneuverable L-39 Albatross. If these were not enough add in the F-100 Super Sabre, Mig-17 Fresco, and the TA-4J Skyhawk kept the intensity and noise level very high. Not to be forgotten were the Yankee Air Museum B-25 Mitchell and B-17 Flying Fortress Bombers that graced the skies on a daily basis.

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Many a story will be written, many a photo posted, and many a video watched but there is also a different type of Thunder that goes relatively unnoticed. It is this type of Thunder that draws me to Willow Run year after year. In between the all of the Warbird and Fast Jet action several other Classic Aircraft also come and go. They were once the Workhorses that flew Passengers around the world in their heyday. Their Passenger flying days now over they fulfill an even greater need today. They keep American Production lines and Factories running. I am referring to the Freighters and the Airlines that fly them. These are not your common household Airline names such as American, Delta, and United.

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