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World War II Weekend is Back

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After a one year hiatus for 2020, The Mid-Atlantic Air Museum’s World War II Weekend celebrated a 30 year anniversary, June 4-6 at Reading Regional Airport.

I did not know what to expect as this was going to be my first event of 2021 with the restrictions of COVID-19 still a factor. Much to my surprise, everything felt perfectly normal. I have no idea if the crowd numbers were down but a large crowd was present, as were re-enactors, flea market sellers, airplanes and The Veterans, although not as many, which was not surprising due to the vulnerability of that age group. There was no drive-in format, no social distancing rules and no masks required.

I arrived in town on Friday afternoon and since the airspace was quiet and the sky cloudy, I did something I have never done before…entering the grounds on Friday. After walking around a few minutes, a thunderstorm approached so I recalled my wife from the flea market and we rode it out in the truck. I mention her because this is the only show she attends with me and we enjoy it for mostly different reasons. World War II Weekend is more than an airshow and it has something for everyone. After the storm, we resumed the walk around before ending up near the runway during late afternoon operations. The sun had reached the western sky, lighting aircraft nicely as they approached Runway 31. I have never been on this side at that time of day in my 10 years attending.

On Saturday, I went to the runway first for the morning operations in favorable light. Paying customer rides were being conducted by the open cockpit PT-19, the SBD Dauntless, TBM Avenger “Doris Mae”, P-51 Mustang “Red Nose”, C-47 “Hairless Joe”, B-25 “Panchito”, B-17 “Yankee Lady and B-29 “Fifi”. A surprise addition arrived in a three-ship formation with the A6M2 Zero, P-51 “Tiger’s Revenge” and FG-1 Corsair “Godspeed”. P-51 “Kwitcherbitchin” also arrived earlier making three Mustangs on the field and scheduled to fly in the airshow. Later that morning, B-25 “Panchito” landed with an engine out and a very exciting approach. She did not return to flying status the rest of the weekend. After some time with the re-enactors, vendors and food, we moved to “The Hill” on the other side for the airshow.

The show began with the L-Bird flight followed by the launch of the C-46 “The Tinker Belle” with paratroopers aboard. Primary trainers performed next prior to the return of the C-46 dropping the paratroopers. The T-6 Texans flew next with a 4-ship routine named “The Jersey Jerks” before Kevin Russo performed a solo display with his “Pensacola” Texan.

 

A solo routine from the Corsair led into the Pacific theatre performance by two Corsairs in top cover, the Dauntless and the Avenger in a western orbit while the Zero, Kate and Val were in an Eastern orbit, separated by the runway. Aircraft were passing from the right and the left simultaneously but de-conflicted. Mark Murphy stayed aloft and performed a solo routine in the Zero.

Wheels coming up as ifi takes off with eager passengers.

The Bomber Flight launched next featuring the B-17 “Yankee Lady”, B-25s “Takeoff Time” and “Rosie’s Reply”. “Panchito”, as mentioned earlier, was grounded with engine trouble. C-47 “Hairless Joe” also flew while “Luck of the Irish” was grounded with engine trouble. “Rosie’s Reply” was formerly “Yankee Warrior” in polished metal but now has a green scheme overall with classic Rosie and her power drill on the pilot’s side.
B-29 “Fifi” performs in a solo slot. Although we see her taking off, landing and turning to final throughout the day, the solo performance is high energy and high throttle featuring sweeping topside passes.

The final acts represented the fighters of the European Theatre. Representing Buffalo, New York, the Bell P-63 King Cobra performed a solo routine followed by P-51 “Red Nose”. After both aircraft went into a hold, the other P-51s and a Corsair launched for the Fighter Flight. After multiple passes, two Mustangs, the Corsair and the King Cobra joined up for the Missing Man formation. The Corsair trails smoke, pulls up and out of the number three position, concluding the show.

For the folks on the other side, there is no reason to leave. The “working” planes will continue to fly with paying passengers and preparations begin for the Hangar Dance later that evening.

I returned to the Museum for a prearranged night shoot with three aircraft. The shoot was open to anyone with professional equipment and a nominal donation to the museum. This was the first photo shoot of it’s kind at Reading and the brainchild of Media Coordinators, David and Christina Brown. Our subjects were B-25 “Rosie’s Reply”, the SBD Dauntless and P-51 “Red Nose”. Unfortunately, “Rosie’s Reply” suffered a hydraulic leak and could not be run. The Dauntless and Mustang did not disappoint with engine runs that lasted approximately 10 minutes. Lighting was provided by Pete Lerro and the Fire Department assisted with wetting down the ramp.

C-47D 44-76716 “Hairless Joe”, Yankee Air Museum, painted in the markings of the 319th Troop Carrier Sq, 1st Air Commando, pilot Lt. Col Dick Cole, who was Jimmy Doolittle’s co-politilot on the famous Tokyo 1942 raid.

I did not return for Sunday’s show, as has been my routine all these years, but I understand it was even hotter and more humid than Saturday. Except for the thunderstorm delay on Friday, the weather was as close to ideal with blue skies and westerly winds. It felt great to be back in the saddle and the sense of normalcy returning to airshows and life in general.

I wish to thank Pete Lerro along with his lighting team and Dave and Christina Brown for their media coordination. I look forward to what next year will bring.

2021 EAA AirVenture Preview

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EAA’s AirVenture 2021 = EAA AirVenture 2020 (Plus One) And Then Some!

The AirVenture 2020 aviation celebration in Oshkosh, Wisconsin was forced to be cancelled over health concerns associated with the Covid 19 crisis. There were a number of milestones which would have been celebrated during last year’s gathering.

There will be a 2021 AirVenture, and many of the 2020 milestones will be brought forward and celebrated this year. In fact, many news releases for this year’s AirVenture include anniversaries with a “(Plus One)” distinction!

Here’s a quick look at some of the celebrations and anniversary themes that will be presented during the 2021 EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh. The (Plus One) indicates that 2020 is the real anniversary… either from the EAA’s media releases or by this editor.

Please note that these are planed events and performers, and nothing is guaranteed. The photos contained within may not be the exact performers either, but representative of those noted in media releases!

CIVILIAN AIRCRAFT MILESTONES and ANNIVERSARIES:
Taylorcraft 75th anniversary (Plus One)
Ercoupe 80th anniversary (Plus One)
Aeronca Chief 75th anniversary (Plus One)
Cessna 120/140 75th anniversary
Globe Swift 75th anniversary
Howard Aircraft
Cessna 195
Cessna 180/185
Twin Bonanzas
Comanche Aircraft
Beech Staggerwings
North American/Ryan Navion 75th anniversary
Stinsons, commemorating their 100th anniversary (Plus One)
70th anniversary of the Piper PA-22 Tri-Pacer family, to be joined by other Short Wing Pipers such as the iconic Vagabond, Clipper, Pacer, and Colt.

The Goodyear Blimp “Wingfoot Three” will appear fifty years after an initial visit by a Goodyear blimp… the Goodyear Blimp “America”… at Oshkosh in 1971

HOMEBUILT ANNIVERSARIES:
Pitts Special 75th (Plus One) anniversary
Bakeng Duce 50th (Plus One) anniversary
Skybolt 50th (Plus One) anniversary
Sonerai 50th anniversary
AirCam 25th (Plus One) anniversary
RV-8 25th (Plus One) anniversary
RV-7 20th anniversary

75 YEARS (PLUS ONE) SINCE THE END OF WORLD WAR II
With displays of various warbirds from the beginning of the conflict through the end of the war, seven years later

USAF SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND AIRCRAFT DISPLAY WITH PLANNED PARTICIPATION OF:
AC-130J Ghostrider
MC-130J Commando II
EC-130J Commando Solo
CV-22 Osprey
U-28A Draco
C-145A Combat Coyote
C-146A Wolfhound
MQ-9 Reaper
MC-12W Liberty

A HUGE ASSORTMENT OF CIVILIAN AEROBATIC PERFORMERS, INCLUDING:
Airythmia (Paramotors)
Melanie Astles (Extra 330SC)
Eric Tucker (Piper J-3 Cub)
Philipp Steinback (Gamebird GB1)
Jeff Shetterly (SNJ-6 Radial Rumble)
Joe Shetterly (RV-8)
Justin Lewis (FLS Microjet)
Jerry Kerby (T-28 Trojan)
Erik Edgren (T-Clips) (Taylorcraft)
AeroShell Aerobatic Team (T-6)
Vicky Benzing (Stearman)
Jeff Boerboon (Yak-110 jet-assisted twin)
Wild Blue Rodeo (SubSonex JSX-2)
Kirby Chambliss, Aaron Fitzgerald and the Red Bull Air Force
Kevin Coleman (Extra 300 SHP)
Kyle Fowler (Rutan Long-EZ)
Kyle Franklin Comedy Act (Piper Super Cub)
Mike Goulian (Extra 330C)
Nathan Hammond (Super Chipmunk)
Rob Holland (MX-2)
Dell Coller (RAD Aerosports Jet Waco)
David Martin (Beechcraft Baron)
Jim Peitz (Beechcraft 33C Bonanza)
Red Line Air Shows (RV-8)
Gene Soucy (Grumman Showcat)
Bill Stein (Zivko Edge 540)
Skip Stewart (Pitts S2S Prometheus)
Patty Wagstaff (Extra 330LX)
Geico Skytypers (SNJ)
Matt Younkin (Twin Beech 18)

The week-long AirVenture has many more activities besides these flying and static aircraft and performers. The huge gathering of all-things-aviation will be held from July 26th through August 1st, 2021. That’s just less than a month away, watch for our coverage in early August.

Mid-Term Report For the Year 2021

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Hope is there for a number of air shows to operate, featuring warbirds, in 2021

We, the combined groups of writers, reporters and photographers here at Photorecon.net, ClassicWarbirds.net and CivilAviationWorld.com, are coming to grips with another subdued North American air show season… but with a renewed enthusiasm as a number of venues return to present aviation to the masses.

As the Covid-19 crisis exploded in 2020, wholesale cancellations of aviation shows, conventions and – in general – flying occurred, much to our chagrin. Commercial flying, specifically the airline sector, reduced operations by half or more, depending upon your geographical focus.

Waves of layoffs and furloughs leaned out large companies for long-term, low intensity survival operations. Grounded were fleets of older McDonnell Douglas, Airbus and Boeing airliners, while newer ones were parked in storage until it was sound to activate them again as passengers declined to travel in droves. It didn’t take long for airlines to ground their MD-80 families, Boeing “Classic” families of B-737s and their larger jets like the Queen of the Skies B-747s and Airbus A-380s – many of whom didn’t make economic sense to operate.

Large events, whether outdoors or indoors, were either outlawed or cancelled due to the possibility of them becoming “mass spreader events”. Air shows became a major casualty, as only a handful of them modified their venues, becoming bravely-held fly-by events.

As unfortunate as these events were, some good did shine through the chaos of 2020. General Aviation and Business Aviation became more critical to those business and leisure travelers who did find a reason to travel. In fact, business and shared-ownership flying reached new heights according to flight tracking providers like Flightaware. Air cargo resources were stretched thin due to the sudden demand of priority freight, including precious and fragile vaccine supplies.

Air shows did continue, with the fledgling “in-the-air-only” format with pre-assigned parking and spectator spaces marked out. Military aviation assets were used for critical supply flights too.

As the year 2021 dawned, another round of event cancellations were announced throughout the continent, and the world. However, through the advent of vaccinations and other deterrents, the 2021 season will contain a fair amount of air shows and conventions, plus a return to commercial flying. A pent-up demand for travel, mainly in the leisure market, is promising a busy summer season in the Northern Hemisphere, even with numerous international travel restrictions still in place.

Older versions of airliners remain grounded and retired, but new generation transports like the Airbus A-220, A-350 and A-320/321Neo, and the Boeing B-787 and B-737 Max continue to replace these less efficient jets worldwide. Passenger airlines are recalling crews to begin an almost-pre-Covid schedule around the world. Some of the jumbo-sized A-380s are being used again for combined passenger/freight flights too.

The air cargo marketplace has grown substantially, even calling for idle passenger jets to be used as modified freighters in the short term until additional freighters can be procured (either new builds or converted from retired passenger jets).

While our pages presented very few aviation “current events” in 2020, our 2021 season is beginning to pencil in air shows that will be held live throughout the year… like Reading, PA’s Mid-Atlantic Air Museum’s recently held World War II Weekend, and upcoming shows like the 2021 EAA AirVenture, and upcoming flying displays like the late-summer New York International Air Show, Airshow London (Ontario), Portsmouth NH’s Thunder Over New Hampshire and Brunswick ME’s Great Stater of Maine Air Show.

We’ll continue to present legendary planes, people and events of the past in our “Photo Scrapbooks” and “Looking Back…” features while we begin to display up-to-the-minute reporting of current events too.

As always, thank you for your continued support by reading and sharing our views of aviation, while we climb out of this crisis!

Ken Kula

MASDC, AMARC and AMARG, Better Known as the “Boneyard”

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Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona is home to the United States military’s storage and regeneration center for warplanes. I was privileged to have the opportunity to visit the facility on multiple occasions during the 1980s, 1990s, and the early 2000s and have seen many relics and historic aircraft that don’t exist today.

Many aircraft are scrapped and melted down into metal ingots to be used again in the construction of aircraft. Others donate parts to keep newer aircraft in the air, or are regenerated themselves for continued U.S. military use. Still others are sold and/or sent to different countries to continue their service in the hands of non-U.S. pilots.

Here is a short scrapbook of photos that stretches across those three decades, you can hover over each photo to see what the aircraft type is.