Remembering the Manchester, New Hampshire Air Shows…


Geneseo, New York based B-127 and London, Ontario based P-51D on the ramp at Manchester, New Hampshire in the 1990s.

Manchester, New Hampshire is located in the southern tier of state. It’s a fifty-minute drive to the Seacoast area and into the Atlantic Ocean, and about the same amount of driving south, to the big city of Boston, Massachusetts. During the last two decades of the 20th Century, a number of air shows were held at the medium-sized airport. The main attraction at these shows were warbirds, as the New England Escadrille was based at nearby Bedford, Massachusetts and operated a C-47.

Ed Stead (right) in his DeHavilland Vampire getting ready to go flying.

One member, Ed Stead, owned an FBO at Manchester, and was instrumental in fielding the ground support at the shows. Oh, he flew a DeHavilland Vampire jet too!

A pair of Thunderbolts… a Republic P–47D Thunderbolt and a Fairchild Republic A-10A Thunderbolt II.

There were numerous warbirds based within a three hour flight, including those from Ontario, Canada and Long Island and Upstate New York. Ranging from L-birds to B-17 bombers and PBY patrol planes, warbirds flocked to the ramps and taxiways. Many times, performers were invited from Museums and from states further away, too.

The world’s only DC-3 on floats… this was originally a C-53 troop transport during World War II.

One year, the Escadrille’s C-47 was joined by a former C-53 (paratroop transport version of the C-47) from Folsam’s Air Service of Greenville, Maine… the latter plane was unique then as it was fitted onto giant Edo floats. The aircraft was taken of those floats a bit later in time… and has just been fitted to them again in August of 2020!

A United Airlines Boeing B-737-300 arrives during an air show afternoon.

Manchester had scheduled airline service back then too (more recently the airport has been greatly expanded, modernized and is served with more commercial operators), these flights were worked into the shows’ schedules as an attraction.

A Massachusetts-based F-15A Eagle about to depart for some loud and low passes at the Manchester airport.

Active military aircraft could be handled too, as the main runway could handle medium-sized airliners such as the Boeing B-727. Many modern (back then) military aircraft were invited, such as an Air Force T-37, SAC FB-111A, Marine Corps Reserve A-4M, MAC C-141B, and Navy P-3… all types that were based around the Northeastern U.S. and are now retired from service! The Canadian Skyhawks parachute team performed one year from their DHC-5 Buffalo, and Otis ANGB-based F-15A Eagles made loud, low passes before returning to Cape Cod. Here’s a scrapbook of photos taken mainly during the early 1990s, enjoy!

T-28 Trojans.

Another P-47 Thunderbolt. Republic Aircraft was based in Long Island New York, an easy flight from New Hampshire.

A former German Air Force FW-149.

A North American P-51D on a runway closed for the show.

T-28s roar off the main runway at Manchester.

Curtiss P-40 Warhawk.

P-51D Mustang.

Boeing PT-17 Stearman.

Fairchild PT-23.

North American L- 17 Navion.

CT-115 Buffalo with the Canadian Skyhawks parachute team aboard.

Two thirds of the Six of Diamonds aerobatic team.

Plunkett’s Passion, the New England Escadrille’s C-47.

Another air show arrival in Manchester!

DHC-2 Beaver at a Manchester air show.

U.S. Navy A-6E TRAM Intruder.

U.S. Navy P-3C from nearby NAS Brunswick Maine.

Cessna Birdog arriving for the show.

Army OH-58 Kiowas at one of the Manchester air shows.

North American B-25 Mitchell at Manchester.

The TP-51 Crazy Horse performed Mustang aerobatics at one Manchester air show. 

Grumman F9F Panther.

Grumman C-1A Trader.

Dan McCue in his modified YAK-11 aerobatic plane.

A MiG-17 in front of an F-15 Eagle at Manchester.

Still in active Navy service during the 1990s, this T-34B piston trainer was used for liaison work by the U.S. Navy.

French-built Fouga CM-170 Magister.

PBY Catalina awakens at sunrise in Manchester, New Hampshire.

The NA-50 was an attempt to make the T-6 Texan trainer into a fighter, with a larger engine and refined lines.

A single-seat Hawker Hunter.

A Grumman TBM Avenger follows a B-17 and B-25 to the runway.

Friends from far away gather for a photo in Manchester.

Surplus  USAF T-28A Trojans were rebuilt by Sud Aviation for the French Air Force, this is a rare T-28S-1 Fennec was used as an attack aircraft in the 1960s and later.

DeHavilland Tiger Moth.

Canadian Car and Foundry Harvard Mk. IV owned and flown by Tom Rudder, who was a regular performer at many New England air shows.


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