WORLD January/February 2019
NAS Oceana &
World Airshow News 1 January/February 2019
World Airshow News 3 January/February 2019
Publisher: Sandra M. Parnau
Editor: Jim Froneberger
Senior Photographer: Scott Slocum
Canadian Editor: Kerry J. Newstead
Denise Decker, Michael J. Gallagher
A.C.E. Columnist: Greg Koontz
Air Racing: Brad Haskin
Editor at Large, etc.: Jeff Parnau
Graf, Norman A.
Lisk Jr., Grady
Rininger, Tyson V.
St. Pierre, Marc
Van Gilder, Eric
von Puttkammer, Ricardo
AIRSHOW NE WS
NAS Oceana & STEM
NAS Oceana teams up with teachers
to wow thousands of kids.
San Francisco’s annual military
The “big three” North American jet
teams in a 21-jet formation.
ICAS 2018: The Meeting
The International Council of Air Shows
meets in Las Vegas to wrap up 2018,
and plan for 2019
Our 34th Year Volume 34, No. 1
ICAS 2018: The Awards
Julie Clark, the Darnells, Sue Gardner,
Tampa Bay AirFest, Terry Grevious,
Axalp Airforce Firing Event
The Polish Air Force celebrates 100
years in the air.
Belgian Air Force Days
Belgium’s biennial airshow draws
Glenn Watson straps on a blue and
gold Hornet for the photo-shoot of a
U.S. One year (6 issues), $29.95
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All Other Countries: One year, $99.95
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Jim Froneberger, Editor PAGE 6
Greg Koontz, A.C.E. PAGE 8
Julie Vessigault PAGE 10
ON THE COVER
Airshow News PAGE 12
Airshow Highlights PAGES 44-48
Airshow Snapshots PAGE 50
Airshow Calendar PAGE 52
With the Canadian Snowbirds in the foreground, a member of
the USASOC Black Daggers parachute team lands with an extralarge
American flag during the National Anthem at the 2018
NAS Oceana Air Show. Read all about NAS Oceana’s history
of community involvement and their unique STEM education
program in our feature beginning on page 14 (photo by Ken
www.airshowmag.com 4 January/February 2019
World Airshow News 7 September/October 2018
JIM FRONEBERGER: EDITOR
During the 2018 ICAS Convention,
one of the hot topics of
discussion during the education
sessions was how to attract more
Millennials to airshows. The Pew
Research Center defines Millennials as
those born between 1981 and 1996, so
that generation represents people who
are approximately between the ages of
22 and 37 today.
The Millennial generation is
important for a number of reasons,
and most of these are not unique to the
airshow industry. First and foremost, according to projections by
the U.S. Census Bureau, Millennials are on the verge of surpassing
Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living adult generation.
Millennials are projected to overtake Boomers in population
during 2019, as their numbers swell to 73 million and Boomers
decline to 72 million. Generation X (ages 38 to 53) is projected to
also pass the Boomers in population by 2028.
As the Boomer generation continues to shrink, we can expect
Gen Xers and Millennials to continue to grow their influence on
our society. According to Pew, Millennials already make up more
than one-in-three American labor force participants, making
them the largest working generation. The Millennial generation is
also more ethnically and racially diverse, more progressive, more
technologically-savvy, and more affluent than their predecessor
generations were at the same age. Two bright and energetic
29-year-olds have even been elected to Congress - Alexandria
Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Iowa’s Abby Finkenauer.
For airshows, the importance of attracting the Millennial
generation was captured clearly in the ICAS 2018 Spectator
Survey. For 2018, the percentage of airshow spectators who were
over age 55 was just shy of 25%. But over the preceding 20 years,
the 55+ percentage had averaged closer to 18%. Our audience is
aging, so we must attract a younger audience to be successful in
the years ahead.
The Baby Boomer generation represents people like me
who were born between 1946 and 1964, so it’s easy to see why
airshows are so popular with our generation. We grew up during
the post-war aviation boom, saw the advent of the jet age, the
space age, and Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the Moon. When
we were growing up, our heroes were astronauts and test pilots,
and aviation captured our collective attention like nothing else.
For the more recent generations born from the late 1960s
through the turn of the century, the advances in aviation and space
technology were more evolutionary than revolutionary, and air
travel became a way of life, not something that was exciting, new,
and sexy. The revolutions for Millennials have been in computer
technology, communications, and an explosion in entertainment
alternatives. So, it’s easy to see why going to an airshow may not
be as appealing to a Millennial as it has been to us Boomers.
Baby Boomers also grew up in a post-war/cold-war era where
patriotism and celebration of our military-might were virtually
synonymous. Airshows are obviously one of the most visible
displays of that brand of patriotism. By contrast, Millennials
have grown up in a much more complex and diverse world order,
leading to a broader and more nuanced view of what it actually
means to be patriotic.
All of these trends point to the need for airshows to adapt to
attract a younger demographic, and ICAS 2018 was full of great
• Make your airshow a cool place for Millennials to go and be
seen with their peers.
• Learn how to market through social media.
• Enhance food and drink options with healthier, Millennialfriendly
choices, craft beer, and food trucks.
• Stay ahead of the game and embrace innovation.
• Seek sponsors that will attract Millennials.
• Add experiential, engagement activities.
• Embrace activities and events that work well with social
media to show Millennials having lots of fun.
• Shorten the flying portion of the show and add live music and
other things Millennials like to do.
• Do the unexpected to get more attention on social media.
• Make sure your marketing plan is mobile-friendly.
• Include Millennials on your airshow marketing team.
That last point – including Millennials on your team – may
be the best advice of all. But one thing I noticed at ICAS was
that ICAS has the same problem as airshows in general. We are
definitely an industry of Baby Boomers, and Millennials were
certainly in the minority at ICAS. We need to change that and
bring some new, younger faces into our business. We need our
established performers to mentor newcomers and bring them
along like Sean D. Tucker is doing with 27-year-old Johnny
DeGennaro, the wingman for his new two-ship formation team.
We need show producers and support service providers to do the
same to bring a fresh new perspective to our business.
Maybe we need to let our old Baby Boomer airshow die and
create a new type of airshow to attract the next generation of
www.airshowmag.com 6 January/February 2019
World Airshow News 33 September/October 2018
GREG KOONTZ: FROM THE ACE
Was It Good for You?
ow that the holidays are behind
us and the frenzy of December
has settled down to
our usual hustle and bustle,
it’s time to assess what happened in
those pre-Santa days in Las Vegas. It
might be a blurry memory, but stuff
happened there, at least to those of us
that made the annual pilgrimage to
the 2018 ICAS Convention.
Attending the ICAS Convention as
a performer, announcer, airboss, etc.
is a challenge. It would be great if we
could all group together, buy matching
shirts, and cruise the convention
floor choosing airshows we’d like to attend. We would love to say,
“There’s that Ashville Air Show booth, everyone walk fast and
look the other way!” When caught by a big airshow producer, I’d
like the chance to say, “I’ll be right back,” and then disappear forever!
And wouldn’t it be wonderful to skip the last couple of floor
sessions to nurse a hangover.
But that ain’t gonna happen. Nope, we do pre-show marketing,
and spend our profits on sponsorship or advertising to get
ready. We design booths, ship all kinds of stuff, and set it all up
like we think it’s going to be a big customer magnet. We stand in
the booth wearing big smiles handing out candy and business
cards until our cheeks hurt and our feet swell. In the end, there’s
so many business cards left over, yet the candy is long gone. The
last day on the convention floor is like a private party with a sign
that says, “Performers Only.”
But that’s what conventions are like. The point of crowded receptions
and the convention floor ritual is to bring us all together
in one big place. It’s our chance to mingle and meet. I don’t know
any other way to do it. If there was, I bet the staff at ICAS would
be the first to try it. Repeating the same old pattern year after year
must be driving them insane!
The hint from ICAS is, they are going to shake up the whole
plan next year. I’m intrigued by the notion, but I have no idea
how any significant changes could happen. Safety meetings need
to meet. Training sessions need to train. These are constantly
growing and evolving things – new blood entering as the old retire.
And nothing is more fun than putting two hundred pilots
in a room and watching ICAS Vice President of Safety and Operations
Dan Hollowell try to keep control. But those meetings
are really productive and educational in spite of us. I never miss
This year’s convention seemed to be the best in years. I know
I left with my calendar filled with new shows to do. I spent my
days with every meeting I could fit in. The evenings were filled
hanging out with friends, and I co-hosted a gathering along with
Skip Stewart and Gary Ward. It was packed with airshow people
of every persuasion, and all had a great time. I have to thank Cari
Miller for injecting some enthusiasm (and class) into this event.
We might need to continue this tradition!
For me the best guest speaker was Brian Shul, the SR-71 driver.
I’ve seen him before in Birmingham. That’s OK because he
has it fine-tuned to perfection. It was worth a second round. The
luncheon speaker Vital Germaine and the membership-meeting
speaker Nick Tasler were both very talented. But, the titles of
their presentations misled me. I was expecting people with closer
ties to our industry. It seemed to me all I got were motivational
speakers who tried to make their standard talk sound relevant
by changing a few words. I’m hoping we have run out of motivational
speakers for a while. If only Bob Hoover could come back.
He had the whole convention riveted to their seats. How about a
Steve Hinton or Corkey Fornof?
The ACE meeting wasn’t in the entertainment category, but
that wasn’t its purpose. It was a time to get the old stuff fixed and
the new stuff straight, and Dan did a great job of just that. The
format was different this year and that was good too. It’s good to
see it evolve.
As for the Performer Safety Stand Down, well, change is not
always progress. A lot of floor time was given to some cool fighter-jet
demo pilots, and the discussion of our current and relative
accidents were therefore rushed. A seriously relevant and technical
discussion on the effects of negative-to-positive Gs was cut
short and ruined. Let me just say that if I am ever going to be a
jet-fighter demo pilot in the Paris Air Show, I already have my
safety brief done!
That’s my honest take on the best convention we have had so
far. I’m looking forward to some surprises next year. I hope to see
Greg Koontz is a full-time airshow performer and teaches basic
aerobatics at his Flight School/Bed & Breakfast called Sky Country
Lodge. Greg is a former chairman of the ICAS ACE Committee,
holds an unlimited aerobatic waiver, and has been designated a
Master Certified Flight Instructor-Aerobatics by the National Association
of Flight Instructors. Please send your comments/questions
www.airshowmag.com 8 January/February 2019
JULIE VESSIGAULT: MY AIRSHOW WORLD
My ICAS Miracle
An astonishing thing happened to
me a week before the 2018 ICAS
Convention. This is that amazing
It all began, though, in 2011 when I
took on a lifetime role of airshow moral
support that has blessed me with
very unique airshow experiences and
connections. I wear my life purpose on
my sleeve, and that purpose is to make
a difference for good in aviation, especially
Back in 2012, I first met legendary
American Barnstormer, Walt Pierce. I visited him a few times
each year at his Avon Park, Florida hangar, eating up his stories
and abundance of airshow knowledge.
In due time, Walt’s well-deserved induction into the ICAS
Foundation Air Show Hall of Fame was announced. He would
receive his honor during the Chairman’s Banquet at the 2018
ICAS Convention at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada on December
Up until a week before ICAS, I had no role to justify the expense
of my participating. But then, almost randomly, I arranged
with a friend in Winter Haven to clean the grime off the bottom
of his Super Decathlon and T-34, what I call an airplane “belly
When that project was finished, I happened to stop by Steve
Alcorn’s hangar to wish him and JoAnne a Merry Christmas. His
enthusiastic greeting rolled right into Steve offering me a mission
and opportunity – give Walt a ride to the Orlando International
Airport so that he could attend his induction into the Air Show
Hall of Fame. This minor role excited my hope that perhaps I
could follow through as Walt’s escort all the way to Las Vegas and
back, while assisting his family during the convention. The catch
was I had to purchase my airfare on the same Southwest Airlines
flight as Walt’s ASAP.
When I returned home to Kissimmee, I composed a GoFund-
Me campaign, because for me to make this trip out-of-pocket
was impossible. I had confidence that with a little help from
many friends, I could produce an epic win-win experience that
would enable me to help make Walt Pierce’s ICAS experience extra
Sure enough, my friends came through and the necessary
funds were raised! While I waited for GoFundMe to release the
funds to me, Mark Sorenson of Tiger Airshows and Jacquie Warda
of Jacquie B Airshows graciously pitched in extra to book my
flight and hotel ASAP. I called Walt with the good news that he
would have me as his airline buddy. He was thrilled to hear it.
I also coordinated with ICAS and Walt’s daughters on their
logistics for Walt, to make sure everything I did was a welcome
bonus to their plans as they already stood. It all came together.
I picked up Walt the evening before our flight, and we reported
to our flight at Orlando International at 5:30 a.m. Just a few
hours later, Ginger and Chandelle, Walt’s daughters, met us at Las
Vegas/McCarren International Airport (LAS). I helped them get
the lay of the convention and Walt settled down to rest for the remainder
of the evening. My availability proved to be a great comfort
and benefit to the three of them.
Walt told me for days after I returned him home to Sebring
that he was still on Cloud Nine. I cannot thank the 26 friends and
members of my airshow family enough for making this “ICAS
Miracle” happen. I am blown away by your generous gestures and
for caring for both Walt and me.
My mission to provide moral support to my airshow family
will continue. Thank you for your boost of confidence. Wishing
you all a successful 2019 airshow season. May your wings be
strong and your flights fulfilling!
ICAS Foundation Air
Show Hall of Fame
inductee Walt Pierce
(center) is surrounded
(left to right) by his
daughters Chandelle and
Ginger Pierce, Jim Zazas,
and Julie Vessigault
(photo by Ricardo von
World Airshow News 11 January/February 2019
Red Bull Air Race:
Šonka Wins Championship
Martin Šonka of the Czech Republic came from five points
down entering the final Red Bull Air Race of the season to capture
the 2018 Red Bull Air Race World Championship title during
the season finale at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth,
After an exciting win in October at The Brickyard in Indianapolis,
America’s Michael Goulian came to Texas with the season
lead and hoped to finish strong and walk away with his first
Red Bull Air Race title. Unfortunately for Goulian, he struggled
with aircraft issues in practice and qualifying, only posting the
ninth fastest time behind the pace set by Germany’s Matthias
In the Round of 14, Goulian only managed a time of 54.883
seconds due to a fuel injector problem, but Chile’s Cristian
Bolton was assessed six seconds of penalties, allowing Goulian to
advance to the Round of Eight. But since Goulian’s time was the
slowest of the Round of 14 winners, his Round of Eight matchup
was with Šonka, who had posted the fastest time in the Round
of 14, 52.764 seconds. In the Round of Eight, two penalties at the
air gates cost Goulian four seconds, propelling Šonka into the Final
Four and eliminating Michael from the Championship chase.
Joining Šonka in the Final Four was American Kirby Chambliss,
who set a track record of 51.984 seconds in beating Japan’s
Yoshihide Muroya. Ben Murphy of Great Britain also advanced
to the Final Four, defeating Mika Brageot of France. Matt Hall of
Australia, defeated Juan Velarde of Spain to also advance. Hall
had entered the Fort Worth race in third place in the season
standings, so with Goulian out, the 2018 Championship would
be decided between Šonka and Hall in the Final Four.
Chambliss was first to fly in the Final Four and set a time to
beat of 54.064 seconds. Murphy flew second, but his time was
just over 0.1 second slower than Kirby, guaranteeing the American
a spot on the podium. Matt Hall then set a blistering time of
53.100 seconds, guaranteeing him no worse than second place
and setting the stage for Šonka’s run at the Championship. The
Czech champion then flew a perfect run, posting a time of 52.796
seconds, giving him the Fort Worth win and the 2018 Championship.
It was the first Championship for Šonka, who finished with
80 points on the season. Hall’s strong finish in the Final Four allowed
him to capture second place with 75 points, just beating
out Goulian’s 73.
“It’s a different story than last season, and it’s my biggest
sporting achievement. Unfortunately, the only thing that I missed
was having Mikey in the Final Four as well, but it was a beautiful
race and I think everyone, especially the Czech spectators, enjoyed
it,” smiled Šonka, who produced an incredible comeback
in 2018, after getting disqualification penalties at the season’s first
two races. “For the last flight I managed to have a clear head. I
heard that Matt flew a super time, and I knew I had to push harder
and definitely not do a penalty or mistake, and I managed. I
cannot be happier.”
“I was pretty disappointed in Texas,” Goulian said. “The little
engine problem that we had failed us in both Austria and Texas,
and I think that if we didn’t have those issues, we would have won
the whole thing. So, it’s a little bit hard to swallow, but the reality
of it is that we had an awesome year. There were three dominant
teams, and we were one of them. That’s a great place to be. I’m super
proud of our complete effort and our performance over the
In the Challenger Class competition, Luke Czepiela of Poland
defeated Florian Berger of Germany to take the Fort Worth
race and win the Challenger Cup for the season. Berger finished
the season tied with Czepiela with 36 points apiece, but the tiebreakers
handed the Cup to Czepiela. American Kevin Coleman
finished third in Fort Worth as well as third for the Challenger
Photo: Martin Šonka of the Czech Republic (center) celebrates with Matt Hall of
Australia (left) and Michael Goulian of the United States (right) during the World
Championship Award Ceremony at the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in Fort
Worth (Red Bull Content Pool photo by Predrag Vuckovic/Limex Images).
www.airshowmag.com 12 January/February 2019
Air Race 1 China Cup:
Steve Senegal Wins
Steve Senegal has become the first person to win a Formula
One air race in China after clinching the Air Race 1 China Cup in
Wuhan, November 16-18. Senegal, from San Bruno, California,
held off World Champion Tim Cone in the first air race in the
People’s Republic of China.
Cone, winner of the Air Race 1 World Cup event in Thailand
in 2017, initially led the Gold Final field in his fast-starting Cassutt
racer named What Airplane Honey, but after three laps had
to succumb to the superior pace of Steve Senegal’s super-sleek
Arnold AR-6 Endeavor, lapping the 3.07-mile course at over 240
mph. Third place was taken by Philip Goforth in his Cassutt Annie.
“I am very proud to be the first ever winner of the Air Race 1
China Cup,” said Senegal, who is a current United Airlines captain.
“China has certainly shown that it has aviation and air racing
in its heart, and we look forward to coming back again.”
Last Solo Performance:
Sean D. Tucker
Airshow great Sean D. Tucker performed his final performance
as a solo performer on October 21 at the Wings Over
Houston Airshow at Ellington Field outside of Houston, Texas.
After his final performance, he was greeted by members of his
family and the members of the United States Navy Blue Angels,
who were preparing to perform.
Sean has been flying airshows worldwide since the mid-1970s,
flying well over 1,275 performances at more than 525 airshows in
front of 135 million spectators. His bright red Oracle Challenger
III biplane is one of the most recognizable aircraft in America.
His sponsorship with Oracle is one of the longest and most successful
partnerships in the airshow business.
Sean is a member of the National Aviation Hall of Fame,
and he has won numerous awards and accolades including
the Bill Barber Award for Airshow Showmanship, the Art
Scholl Showmanship Award, and the ICAS Sword of Excellence.
Sean has been named as one of the Living Legends of
Flight, an elite group of aviators and astronauts that includes
General Jimmy Doolittle, General Chuck Yeager, and John
While Sean is completing his solo career, he’s not retiring
from airshows. He will be back in 2019 with a new formation
team performance that is currently under development.
The team is slated to debut as a two-ship act at the California
International Airshow in Sean’s hometown of Salinas, California
in late March, but he hopes to grow the team to four
or five planes in the future.
Sean’s famous red biplane is eventually destined to become
the center piece of the Smithsonian National Air and
Space Museum’s new “We All Fly” exhibit, but that will have
to wait until Sean can acquire new aircraft for his formation
team. Look for Sean and his new wingman, 27-year-old
Johnny DeGennaro, at an airshow near you in 2019.
Photo: Sunday, Oct 21 was the final solo performance for Sean D. Tucker. It was
an emotional day capped by a ceremony at show center and a greeting by the
Blue Angels (photo by Ken Cheung).
New USAF Tactical Demo:
The F-35A Lightning II
The USAF F-35 Heritage Flight Team is officially transitioning
to the F-35 Demonstration Team for the 2019 airshow
season. The Air Force announced a fourteen-show
2019 schedule for the new team at the 2019 ICAS Convention
in Las Vegas.
According to Capt. Andrew “Dojo” Olson, F-35 Demonstration
Team pilot and commander, the new thirteen-minute-long
flight profile will highlight the F-35A Lightning II’s
numerous capabilities to
include speed, agility, and
“What makes the fifthgeneration
fighter so special
in general is the slowspeed,
high angle of attack
maneuvering it can do,”
Olson said. “We’re also going
to be performing controlled
flat spins while falling
out of the sky as well
as high-speed passes and
Along with the new single-jet profile, the team plans to
continue the Heritage Flight display alongside older warbirds
representing the past, present, and future of Air Force
During the off season, Olson is scheduled to fly a minimum
of sixteen training sorties before receiving his demo
certification at the Heritage Flight Certification and Training
World Airshow News 13 January/February 2019
NAVAL AIR STATION OCEANA by Denise Decker
75 Years of Naval Aviation
and Community Involvement
Since their first airshow in 1953, Naval Air Station Oceana
in Virginia Beach, Virginia has opened its gates to the
public each year, hosting one of the premier airshows in
the country. Last September was no different. The show
was once again loaded with top talent, showcasing some
of the best military and civilian performers in North
The NAS Oceana team, led by the Commanding
Officer, Capt. Chad “Vinny” Vincelette, Executive
Officer, Capt. John “SPEW” Hewitt, and
Airshow Director, Rich “Corky” Erie, is comprised
of representatives from most every department
on base, MRW (Morale, Recreation,
and Welfare), sponsors, and volunteers. Corky
acknowledges he has a “great team!”
The airboss, Cmdr. Ed “Stalker” Chandler, was
new to the airshow world, but definitely not a novice
at keeping aircraft on schedule. With six hours
of flying each day, he and his mini bosses kept the 2018
show running like clockwork. Veteran airshow announcer Rob
Reider filled in the few gaps with historical facts and trivia.
Gates opened early, so patrons were able to visit static aircraft
and other displays before the flying started mid-morning. The
airshow started with the USASOC Black Daggers bringing in the
POW/MIA and American flags. Jumpers from Skydive Suffolk
followed the National Anthem. Both teams jumped again later
in the show. As soon as the jumpers were safely on the ground, it
was time to light the burners as F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets
took to the skies for NAS Oceana’s signature air power demo.
The Hornets got some help on their bombing runs with
pyro by Firewalkers International.
After the air power demo, the show continued
with a good mix of civilian and military performances.
Flying each day was Greg Shelton in
his FM-2 Wildcat, Bob Carlton in the Super
Salto Jet Sailplane, Maj. Paul “Loco” Lopez in
the USAF F-22 Raptor, Kent Pietsch in the Jelly
Belly Interstate Cadet, the GEICO Skytypers
in their SNJ formation performance, Jim “Tork”
Tobul in the F4U Corsair, the U.S. Navy F/A-18
Super Hornet demo, the U.S. Navy Tailhook Legacy
Flight with the F4U and F/A-18, Michael Goulian
in his Extra 330SC, Mark Smith driving Darnell Racing’s
Aftershock Jet Firetruck, Mark “Crunchy” Burgess and Bill “Pirate”
Mills in the Warrior Flight Team Aero L-39s, Bill Leff in
the T-6 Texan (his final performance after more than forty years
of airshows), the Canadian Forces Snowbirds in their nine CT-
114 Tutors, and ending the show each day, the U.S. Navy Blue
www.airshowmag.com 14 January/February 2019
Opposite page: The Blue
Angels demonstrate the
symmetry and precision of
their Echelon Parade during
the 2018 NAS Oceana
airshow (photo by Shawn
Below: A Grumman
F6F-5-Hellcat and an SNJ
at Oceana in 1951(NAS
Bottom: Made iconic by
the movie “Top Gun”, the
Grumman F-14 Tomcat was
a NAS Oceana resident for
many years. This photo is
from the 2005 NAS Oceana
airshow (photo by Jim
Angels in six blue and gold F/A-18 Hornets.
The Virginia Patriot Guard escorted
distinguished visitors to show center for
the opening ceremonies, and Steve Myott,
in his Uncle Sam (on stilts) uniform,
walked through the crowd greeting kids
and adults in attendance.
After the show ended on Saturday, the
party moved to the beach for the annual
Beach Blast. The Navy Band was playing,
and a huge statue of King Neptune welcomed
visitors arriving at the venue. As
the sun set, a lone Super Hornet launched
from Oceana and headed to the beach,
catching everyone’s attention as it made
numerous passes along the waterfront in
full afterburner. A Skyvan full of jumpers
from Skydive Suffolk and the U.S. Navy
Leap Frogs circled over the beach, waiting
for darkness. Soon, it was “jumpers away”
and the skydivers left the aircraft, visible
in the darkness because of the glowsticks
and smoke canisters attached to each
jumper. Once they were all safely on the
ground, the Blue Angels were introduced,
and the three teams made their way into
the crowd to sign autographs.
Each year the airshow has a theme,
commemorating different causes or
events in history. The theme for the 2018
airshow celebrated the 75th anniversary
of NAS Oceana.
NAS Oceana had very humble beginnings.
Originally just an auxiliary landing
field for the Norfolk military installations,
Oceana is now the only Master Jet Base
on the East Coast of the United States.
In late 1940, the U.S. Government purchased
328 acres of swampland near Virginia
Beach that would support Navy operations
on the Atlantic Ocean. Initially,
there were 32 officers and 172 enlisted
personnel assigned to the small field as
they constructed runways and buildings
over the next year.
By 1943 the number of personnel had
tripled, and the importance of this small
airfield was recognized. Congress approved
expansion of the station and it
was commissioned a Naval Auxiliary Air
Station later that year. Navy aviation grew
considerably after the end of World War
II, and in 1952, the Secretary of the Navy
changed the designation of the base to
Naval Air Station.
As jets became part of the Navy fleet,
the long runways and isolated location
made Oceana an ideal place for a jet base.
World Airshow News 15 January/February 2019
...NAVAL AIR STATION OCEANA...
The 59 Virginia Beach school busses arrive for
the first STEM Field Trip in September 2016
(NAS Oceana photo).
More of the surrounding land was acquired, and by 1953 plans
were in the works for a Master Jet Base. In honor of Vice Admiral
Apollo Soucek, Chief of the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics, the
airfield was named Soucek Field in 1957.
NAS Oceana has been home to most every aircraft in Navy
history since the 1940s, including the PB4Y Privateer, SB2C Helldiver,
F6F Hellcat, TBF Avenger, F4U Corsair, A-4 Skyhawk, F-4
Phantom, A-6 Intruder, F-14 Tomcat, and F/A-18 Hornet/Super
NAS Oceana has grown to 5,916 acres and is now home to
more than 250 aircraft. The base employs approximately 17,000
military personnel, civilians, and contractors, making it the largest
employer in Virginia Beach, which happens to be the largest
city in Virginia.
The swampy wasteland around the base is gone now. With the
growth of the base came the growth of civilization, and there is
now development surrounding most of the base. Unfortunately,
not everyone living near NAS Oceana enjoys the jet noise, but for
others, it’s reassuring as “the Sound of Freedom.”
When the base was commissioned in 1943, Lt. Jesse Fairley
was the first Officer-In-Charge. Today, Capt. Chad “Vinny”
Vincelette is the Commanding Officer, or Skipper. He is the 45th
Commanding Officer of the base, but his history with Virginia
Beach, and the base, goes back much further. His father was an
A-6 Intruder pilot, based at NAS Oceana when Chad was born,
and the youngster knew at an early age that he too wanted to be
a Navy pilot.
Vincelette stayed in Virginia for college, graduating from University
of Virginia with a degree in Aerospace Engineering. He
earned his commission through the ROTC program, and soon
after, earned his Wings of Gold. After flight school he returned
to NAS Oceana, this time as a pilot, flying the mighty F-14 Tomcat.
When the Tomcat was retired, he transitioned to the F/A-18
Super Hornet. He has accumulated more than 3,000 flight hours
and 600 carrier traps, flown in combat, commanded fighter
squadrons, served as the base XO (Executive Officer), and since
March 2018 as the Skipper.
THE AIRSHOW DIRECTOR
It’s amazing that so many pilots have similar stories of how
their love of aviation began. Cmdr. Rich “Corky” Erie (USN Retired)
is no exception. He is also a second-generation Naval aviator,
deciding he wanted to fly when he was eight. Corky grew
up on the west coast where his dad, an A-7 Corsair II pilot, was
stationed at NAS Miramar. He completed ROTC while attending
San Diego State. College wasn’t his strong suit, but he “pressed
After commissioning, he was selected for flight school and,
after proving he had a talent for instrument flying, was selected
for jets. He elected to fly the A-7 Corsair like his dad, but instead
was picked up for the F-14 Tomcat. Corky earned his Wings of
Gold in 1990.
His first assignment brought him back to NAS Miramar. Visits
with his dad would include drinking martinis and talking flying.
His dad would often joke that he had “more time in tension
than Corky had flight hours.” (A reference to when a jet is connected
to the catapult for the shot off of an aircraft carrier.)
In 1996 Corky was assigned to NAS Oceana and, other than
two years in Atsugi, Japan, he’s been there ever since. He transitioned
to Assistant Air Operations Officer in 2000, and after
the previous Airshow Director left in 2004, the airshow became
part of his job. His proficiency with large-scale planning and the
ability to work a timeline backwards were assets. Corky admits
the first few years were “OK,” but each year got better with experience.
When he retired from the Navy in 2008, the Skipper
suggested he go the contractor route, and the Airshow Director
position would go with him. After 14 years managing one
of the largest airshows in the country, the running joke for the
past four years has been Corky’s annual announcement that it’s
his last year.
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World Airshow News 17 January/February 2019
...NAVAL AIR STATION OCEANA...
Left: The STEM education/lab stations provide for
one-on-one engagement and learning.
Below: The kids were captivated by the airshow
action (NAS Oceana photos).
STEM…THE IDEA AND THE PLAN
Community involvement is important to NAS Oceana. Opening
the gates and inviting in the people who live and work around
the base can be a great way to promote that relationship. But
there was always of question of could they do more?
While attending Fleet Week in New York City in 2015, Corky
attended a gala at the Intrepid Museum. They were fundraising
for education outreach and showed a film “Yoshi’s Story” (not
the Nintendo game). The museum has a huge STEM (Science,
Technology, Engineering, Math) program that
the video highlighted. Corky was captivated,
and his mind raced ahead, thinking of all the
possibilities of doing something similar for his
community. When he returned home, he spoke
with the then-base Skipper, Capt. Lou “Blue”
Schager, about conceivably opening the base to
school kids in the Virginia Beach area. He had
the Skipper’s attention.
Corky got to work on a proposal. Together
with the XO, Capt. Rich “Phin” Meadows,
they put together an eight-page brief with their
ideas. In February 2016 he presented his idea
to Dr. Aaron Spence, Superintendent of Schools
for the Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VB-
CPS). He caught Dr. Spence’s attention, too. The
program was presented as an opportunity, not
a mandate. The next hurdle would be to convince
executive leadership that this event would
be possible, then mid-level management, principals,
and then teachers. Dr. Spence decided he
would send the 5th graders in Virginia Beach
City schools…all 5,500 of them! The event, the
STEM Field Trip, would take place on Friday,
September 9, 2016, the rehearsal day of the airshow,
and it was just six months away.
Where to start? Corky put together a
team to begin working on the rough plan of
what they hoped to accomplish. Their goal
was to “inspire and educate kids.” The team
identified what they called “four pillars,” key
areas that were essential for a successful execution
of the event:
• Curriculum Tie-In
• Interactive Displays
The school system provided 25 volunteers
to be part of the STEM team.
At their first STEM meeting Corky hung
the four (huge) pillars on the walls around
the room. As he explained the concept of
the pillars, he asked the team to look at
them and determine where they could do
the most good. He then passed out yellow
stickies and Sharpies and asked everyone to
write down two questions pertaining to their pillar. Once they
had their questions, everyone headed to their pillar and posted
their questions. They remained at the pillars, discussing the questions.
The goal was not to have all the answers that first day, but
to know what the questions were so they could work on them.
The next month the Skipper attended a principal’s meeting.
During the meeting, he was told that there was a ground swell
among the teachers, and the excitement was building. It was a
very positive response.
www.airshowmag.com 18 January/February 2019
World Airshow News 19 January/February 2019
...NAVAL AIR STATION OCEANA.
NAS Oceana Airshow Director Corky
Erie (center), airboss Cmdr. Ed
Chandler (left), and Executive Officer
Capt. John Hewitt (right) accepted
the 2018 ICAS Pinnacle Award
(photo by Larry Grace).
Over the next few months the team answered all of their questions.
They determined which areas fell under the Oceana team’s
expertise, and which would be best handled by VBCPS’s team.
Transportation was definitely best left with VBCPS. There were
more than 50 schools participating, so they were divided into four
color-coded groups. Each group would have 25-30 access points,
or education/lab stations. The kids would move from station to
station within their color group, spending an average of five minutes
The SmartPack was another product of the collaboration. Each
teacher received a two-sided knee-board, or information card,
that included all the data and information they should need during
the field trip. The color assignments by school were listed,
each of the labs for each color group, all point of contacts and
emergency information, a list of base prohibited items, a layout
of the flight line, lost child and emergency procedures, the STEM
timeline, and the flying timeline were all on the SmartPack. The
intent was to answer all questions before they were asked and
eliminate any confusion.
STEM…EXECUTION AND LESSONS LEARNED
Friday, September 9 finally arrived. It happened to be the hottest
day on record, but high cloud cover helped keep the heat from
being unbearable. Medical personnel were on standby just in case.
The buses started showing up just after noon. More than 5,000
students and 1,200 teachers and chaperones unloaded and headed
to the flight line, eager to get started. Over the next several hours
the airfield was a sea of kids in bright green, yellow, red, and blue
t-shirts. Each of the education stations had a colored banner to
identify it, and the kids moved from station to station. After several
hours of hands-on learning, everyone headed to the bleachers
to watch the Blue Angels fly.
That first STEM Field Trip event in 2016 went well, and it has
since become an annual event. The team evaluates what works
best, which labs were of most interest, and strives to improve each
year. In 2018 Astronaut Scott Tyndall participated in the event,
complete with spacesuit. Apparently, his presence “blew up 5th
After three years of experience with the STEM Field Trip,
Corky’s team has learned some key lessons:
• Let the school system do what they do best…move and handle
• Make the displays/labs easier, with a good mix of military
and civilian participants. Work with state and local governments
who have expressed interest in participating.
• If possible, add other school systems. In 2018 there were
close to 6,000 participating students, including 600 from
neighboring Chesapeake Public Schools. Unfortunately,
there are physical space limitations, so it may not be possible
to grow the program much more.
Feedback from students and teachers after Oceana’s first STEM
year were very positive, with some saying, “best thing ever!” The
schools have now begun incorporating the Oceana STEM program
into their curriculum, bringing back lessons learned at the
airshow and working on them in class. The buzz at school is positive…all
the 4th graders know about the STEM field trip and look
forward to their turn next year.
The team at NAS Oceana will no doubt continue to work hard
to keep their community involvement and participation strong.
They’ve been recognized for their efforts many times. In 2014 the
team received the Dick Schram Memorial Community Relations
Award at the annual ICAS Convention, the fourth time the base
had received the award in its 27-year history.
This past July, the Virginia Beach City Public Schools,
along with NAS Oceana, were presented with the Pete Taylor
Partnership of Excellence by the Military Child Education
Coalition. This national recognition is “awarded annually to
acknowledge outstanding partnerships between school districts
and military installations that work together to meet the unique
challenges facing the nation’s military children and provide them
with quality educational opportunities.”
At the ICAS convention last December, NAS Oceana also
won a Pinnacle Award in the Military Airshow category for their
innovative STEM program.
Dr. Spence and his team have pledged to keep the NAS Oceana
STEM program going, and Corky and the NAS Oceana team not
only want to keep it going, but keep it growing. When asked if he
had any grand plans for 2019 Corky replied, “It can always get
Other bases have started asking questions so that they may offer
similar programs in their communities. Corky is willing to answer
their questions to help get them started. He’s also been a speaker
at a few of the education sessions at the ICAS convention, sharing
information and lessons learned during his STEM initiative.
Regardless of how you look at it, the NAS Oceana STEM Field
Trip is a great thing, for the base, the community, and especially
all those 5th graders.
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BBB SSSSS NNNNN
DDDDDDDD AND TTTTTTTT SSSSS!
CCCCCCC: MMMM HHHHHH
(205) 601-9215 - ..................
World Airshow News 21 January/February 2019
FLEET WEEK by Norman A. Graf
aking place over three consecutive days in the skies above
San Francisco’s waterfront, the San Francisco Fleet Week
Air Show attracts over 1.5 million people around the Bay.
But Fleet week is more than just an airshow, it is a weeklong,
multi-faceted event designed to celebrate the men and
women who serve in our armed forces.
San Francisco’s annual Fleet Week was started in 1981 by then-
Mayor Dianne Feinstein, and in the 37 years since has grown to
become the largest and most significant event of its kind in the
nation. Fleet Week celebrates the rich naval tradition in the Bay
Area, honors the nation’s service members, and facilitates annual
disaster preparedness training between the Navy, Marine Corps,
Coast Guard, and local first responders. But from the beginning,
the airshow has been an integral part of the week’s activities.
FLEET WEEK HISTORY
The U.S. Navy, and naval aviation in particular, has a long and
storied history in San Francisco. President Theodore Roosevelt’s
“Great White Fleet” stopped off in 1908 during its trip around the
world. Parades, balls, and other festivities welcomed the Sailors,
and the waterfront was jammed with the largest crowd of Californians
ever assembled at that time.
Three years later, naval aviation was born when Eugene Ely
made the first successful landing and take-off from a naval vessel.
On January 18, 1911, thousands of spectators watched as Ely
landed his Curtiss Pusher aircraft on the deck of the armored
cruiser USS Pennsylvania which was anchored in San Francisco
Bay. After lunching with the ship’s captain, Ely took off and flew
past the cheering crowd before landing.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt inaugurated the first official
Navy Fleet Week in 1935 during the California Pacific International
Exposition in San Diego, California. More than 100 warships
docked in the port and 400 military aircraft arrived to put
on airshows. Tens of thousands of Sailors and Marines descended
on the city. Since then, Fleet Week celebrations have spread
around the country.
The modern San Francisco Fleet Week was established in 1981
by Mayor Feinstein as the city’s celebration of the nation’s sea services.
An airshow featuring the Blue Angels was included in that
first Fleet Week, and the airshow and the Blue Angels have been
almost synonymous ever since.
Today, San Francisco Fleet Week’s mission continues to be as
“an annual public event that honors the contributions of the men
and women of the United States Armed Forces while advancing
www.airshowmag.com 22 January/February 2019
Left: The “USS Bonhomme Richard” (LHD-6) leads the 2018 Parade of Ships under the Golden Gate Bridge.
Below: Greg “Wired” Colyer shows off his T-33 “Ace Maker II” with the Golden Gate Bridge as a photogenic
backdrop. Bottom: Sean D. Tucker and Johnny DeGennaro gave the huge 2018 Fleet Week crowds a teaser preview
of their 2019 two-ship formation act (photos by Norman A. Graf).
cooperation and knowledge among civilian and military-based
humanitarian assistance personnel.” Senator Dianne Feinstein
is an honorary co-chair, along with former Secretary of State
George P. Shultz and former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
When Fleet Week first started, San Francisco was home to
a substantial number of military personnel stationed at bases
throughout the Bay Area, but those bases have now been closed.
So, while Fleet Week remains a celebration of our nation’s military,
in 2010, Fleet Week introduced its Center for Humanitarian
Assistance. The Center added to the Fleet Week mission by creating
training and education programs on joint civilian/military
disaster response missions. These programs increased Fleet Week
participation to include all military branches, including the California
The Center’s signature event is the annual Senior Leader Seminar
(SLS). The SLS brings together government, military, and private
sector leaders from around the world for two days of sharing
best practices, exercise reviews, and presentations. In addition to
the SLS, the Center convenes emergency responders and military
leaders for tabletop and live joint civilian/military exercises, urban
search and rescue training, public education, and veterans’
The performers often overfly the Golden Gate
Bridge during their run-in to the airshow box
(photo by Norman A. Graf).
The not-for-profit San Francisco Fleet
Week Association is the central coordinating
body, and the Association’s team
works year-round to prepare for over 40
events. Fleet Week activities have been
designed to entertain and educate the
people of San Francisco. In recent years,
Fleet Week has brought military band
performances off of the waterfront and
into the city’s neighborhoods. Community
relations events are also held around
the city, exposing Fleet Week to an everbroader
range of the city’s demographics.
Fleet Week generates over $100 million
for the local San Francisco economy
through hotel occupancy, restaurants,
and other tourist attractions. Fleet Week
also relies on the hard work of over 100
volunteers every year to assist in the management
of the wide variety of events.
THE PARADE OF SHIPS
In tribute to its naval heritage, the Fleet
Week celebrations include a parade of
ships, which enters the bay by sailing under
the Golden Gate Bridge. Although the
days of aircraft carriers catapulting fighter
jets off their decks as they entered are
long past, it is impressive to see the array
of military ships arrive. This year’s attendees
included the USS Bonhomme Richard
Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD-6) amphibious
assault ship, which was opened
to the public. Displays included the MV-
22 Osprey and MH-60S Seahawk.
Fleet Week has taken place every year
since 1981, with the exception of 2001
when it was cancelled in the wake of the
September 11 terrorist attacks, and 2013
when the federal budget cuts imposed as
part of the Congressional Sequestration
process eliminated military participation
in airshows around the nation. The Blue
Angels have been an integral part of the
Fleet Week airshows, appearing at every
event except for 2004.
The Air Show Network produces the
San Francisco Fleet Week Air Show and
starts their planning in December for a
show that typically takes place in October.
Airbosses Donna Flynn and Ray Firkus
have been with Fleet Week for 18 years.
They work tirelessly with the FAA, including
Oakland (OAK) and San Francisco
(SFO) towers, to plan the airshow. Signature
Aviation at OAK and United Airlines
at SFO also provide ramp space for the civilian
and military performers.
The Blue Angels arrive mid-week and
spend at least two days in familiarization
flights to establish landmarks and timein
their routines. These flights over the
densely-populated Bay Area also serve
as aerial advertisement for the weekend’s
airshow. The week ends with a full rehearsal
on Friday and shows on Saturday
and Sunday. The team typically stages out
of Oakland International Airport, so the
ground portion of the Blue Angels’ performance
is missing. However, the team
members do come out to Pier 39 after Saturday’s
performance for a meet-and-greet
where they sign autographs and answer
questions from their many fans.
The Blue Angels are often not the only
aerobatic jet team to perform at Fleet
Week. The locally-based Patriots Jet Team
is also a regular performer. The Patriots
are the largest civilian-owned jet demonstration
team and include two former
Thunderbirds, a former Blue Angel solo
pilot and a former Snowbirds outer leftwing
pilot. Over the years, the Breitling
Jet Team and the Canadian Snowbirds
have also appeared.
Because Fleet Week is dedicated to
the men and women of the United States
Armed Forces, military performers are
always a highlight of the airshow. Individual
tactical demonstrations, from the
Air Force as well as Navy, Marines, and
Coast Guard, often combined with USAF
Heritage Flights and U.S. Navy Legacy
Flights, are common. Flybys, such as this
year’s combined flight of the Navy P-3C
Orion and its replacement P-8 Poseidon,
are another highlight of the show’s military
Sean D. Tucker, based in nearby Salinas,
is second only to the Blue Angels as
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World Airshow News 25 January/February 2019
an iconic part of the Fleet Week airshow. This year was his last
as a solo performer and once again he amazed the crowd with
his high-octane, jaw-dropping aerobatic routine. The only thing
missing from his astounding repertoire was the triple-ribbon cut,
due to the over-water location. In a preview of coming attractions,
Johnny DeGennaro also joined Sean in a Team Oracle formation
Michael Wiskus, who also performs aerobatics in a bright red/
orange biplane, returned again this year in the Lucas Oil Pitts. He
put on a stunning display.
Warbirds are another staple of the show, changing every year,
but almost always featuring a Heritage Flight pairing if one of the
Air Force demo teams is performing. Locally-based Greg “Wired”
Colyer is also becoming a regular, flying his Korean War-era T-33
Shooting Star Ace Maker II.
U.S. Coast Guard aircraft are a common sight in the Bay Area,
constantly in the air training or engaging in rescue operations.
Their demonstration of search and rescue capabilities is a definite
crowd-pleaser, with spectators gasping in amazement as the
rescue swimmers jump from the hovering helicopters. Flybys of
Coast Guard C-130 Hercules or C-27 Spartans are also a regular
part of the show.
United Airlines has participated in the airshow for several
years, sending a variety of passenger aircraft including the Boeing
747, 757, 767, and this year the 777. With three international
airports in the area and hundreds of takeoffs and landings every
day, it’s common to see passenger jets of all types in the air around
the Bay. So, you wouldn’t think the masses of spectators would
be very impressed to see a wide-body passenger plane perform.
But the United pilots really put on a great show, banking sharply,
climbing steeply, and flying low and slow with flaps and gear extended.
It’s impressive to see these large jets fly low over the Bay,
especially during their dirty passes that seem to defy the laws of
physics by flying that slowly. For 2018, United also became the
Presenting Sponsor of the airshow.
Whether you’re interested in jet teams, military tactical demos,
warbirds, or aerobatic performers, the San Francisco Fleet Week
Air Show has something for you.
The San Francisco Bay area affords several good locations to
see the event. Including Friday’s practice, there are three days of
flying to watch, allowing spectators to go to different locations
each day. Almost any place in the area offers a beautiful venue
from which to watch the show and photograph the action.
The weather in October is generally mild, with clear skies, but
the ubiquitous San Francisco fog can roll in unexpectedly at any
moment, interrupting or even cancelling the flying. On the other
hand, the moisture in the air over the bay can often make for some
fantastic vapor during high-g maneuvers.
Watching the airshow from the iconic Golden Gate Bridge gets
you up close to some of the participating aircraft as they maneuver
to enter the airshow box over San Francisco Bay. Fort Mason
provides the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz as a background.
Being on the water in a boat during the airshow provides unique
views as well.
From Fisherman’s Wharf, past Crissy Field, to standing on the
Golden Gate Bridge itself, the sun is behind you making photography
a joy. From Angel Island, Alcatraz or out on the water
aboard the D-Day veteran Liberty ship SS Jeremiah O’Brien you
have beautiful views of the city skyline as a backdrop. Show center
at Marina Green has the usual food booths, vendors, and kid’s
zones, as well as bleachers, pavilions with chairs, shade, and catered
food and drinks. There are no bad seats!
“San Francisco Fleet Week enjoys the opportunity every year
to host the wealth of people who come out to enjoy this world
class airshow, and to greet the fine women and men who make up
our armed forces,” said Louis Loeven, San Francisco Fleet Week
Executive Director and Board Member. “We all, as a team, are
privileged to be a part of this game-changing event that both affects
the safety and preparedness of our city and the state of California,
while providing community-enriching events, educational
opportunities for youth, and days of crowd-pleasing aerial excitement.”
Fleet Week 2019 is scheduled for October 12-13.
The Blue Angels delta over
Alcatraz during the 2018 San
Francisco Fleet Week Air Show
(photo by Mark Loper).
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World Airshow News 27 January/February 2019
Jet Team x 3 = 21+ 7
In the skies over Lake Erie in early September, photographer Glenn Watson captured all
three North American military jet teams in the sky at one time, shooting from the back
seat of Blue Angel #7. The Snowbirds led the 21-plane formation, with the Blue Angels and
Thunderbirds in trail. Read Glenn’s Stick Time report elsewhere in this issue to learn how this
unique formation came together.
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World Airshow News 29 January/February 2019
THE 2018 ICAS CONVENTION by Jim Froneberger photos by the author except as noted
Getting Down to Business
When most people think of airshows, they think of warm
summer weekend days, blue skies, the roar of jets, and
the rumble of big radial engines from vintage warbirds.
But all of that wouldn’t be possible without the business
side of the airshow industry.
While airshows are a lot of fun for both spectators and participants,
a lot has to happen to make for a successful airshow –
sponsors and funding must be secured, performers hired, vendors
booked, and a myriad of logistical details must be attended to.
That is the “business” of airshows, and every December, the industry
comes together at the International Council of Air Shows
(ICAS) Convention to celebrate the season just completed and
plan for the season ahead.
The 2018 ICAS Convention was held December 3-6 at the Paris
Las Vegas Hotel.
AN (ALMOST) RECORD YEAR
The 2018 convention continued the pattern of increasing attendance
that has been the norm for the last few years. Attendance
was up by 12.1% from 2017 to just shy of 1,600 delegates,
the sixth consecutive year that the number of registrations has
increased over the prior year.
“Total attendance was 1,583, which got us very close to the record
of 1,605 set in 2002,” said ICAS President John Cudahy. “But,
even more than the increase in attendance, we were pleased by the
activity on the exhibit hall floor and a sharp increase in the number
of event organizers attending our event.”
Compared to 2017, ICAS welcomed an additional 110 event
organizers, a 16.9% increase among those generally recognized
to be the “buyers” at the convention. The 2018 delegate count also
included a meaningful increase in the number of military representatives,
an indication that the problems generated by Sequestration
in 2013 have been just about completely reversed.
The Opening General Session on the first official day of the
convention is when the military announces their demonstration
team schedules. The Blue Angels and Thunderbirds reconfirmed
their 2019 schedules that were first released at the 2017
ICAS Convention and announced their preliminary 2020 schedules.
The U.S. Army Golden Knights, the Canadian Snowbirds,
the Canadian CF-18 demo, and the USAF and USMC single-ship
tactical demonstration teams also announced their 2019 show locations.
The Opening General Session was highlighted by an inspiring
presentation from former USAF SR-71 pilot Brian Shul. During
the final days of the Vietnam war, Shul was shot down and was
severely burned in the ensuing crash landing. He was rescued,
and after one year in hospitals and 15 surgeries, Shul miraculously
returned to flying jet aircraft. He culminated his Air Force career
www.airshowmag.com 30 January/February 2019
Opposite page: The AeroShell Team
was busy talking to event producers to
fill out their 2019 airshow schedule.
Right: The 2018 Opening General
Session was highlighted by an inspiring
presentation from former USAF SR-71
pilot Brain Shul.
Below: 2018 ICAS Sword of Excellence
recipient Julie Clark with her favorite
airshow magazine in her booth on the
exhibit hall floor.
World Airshow News 31 January/February 2019
...THE 2018 ICAS CONVENTION...
Above: The Class of 45 team in their exhibit hall booth – (left to right) Cathy
Evans, Jim Tobul, Madalyn Wickham, and Scott Yoak. Right: Scott Farnsworth
was promoting his new aerobatic act in the Dash AeroSports L-39. Thanks to his
innovative virtual-reality experience, airshow fans can “ride along” through his
airshow routine. Below: Johnny DeGennaro (left) will be flying on Sean D. Tucker’s
right wing in a new formation act for the 2019 season. Look for the new team at 12
to 15 show sites during the season.
by flying the top-secret Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird spy plane at
speeds of 2,200 mph at altitudes exceeding 85,000 feet.
NEW AND NOTEWORTHY
If you’re planning a new offering for the upcoming airshow
season, the ICAS Convention is an ideal place to make a big
splash. While there seemed to be overall fewer brand new offerings
than in some past years, here are some we took note of:
Sean D. and Johnny D. Airshow legend Sean D. Tucker has
retired his solo aerobatic performance that has thrilled airshow
crowds for over 42 years (see Airshow News in this issue). But
Sean isn’t retiring, and he will be teaming up with 27-year-old
Johnny DeGennaro to offer a two-ship formation act to airshows
“My goal is to have a four or five ship, but we’re starting with
a two-ship, and I’m having an absolutely wonderful time learning
how to be an excellent lead,” Sean told us at ICAS. “We’re looking
for sponsorship and can grow the team once we’re successful
“I grew up watching Sean fly, so it’s quite surreal to be flying on
his wing,” admits DeGennaro. “I’ve been watching him fly since
I was about four-years-old, and that’s sort of what got me into
For now, Sean will fly lead in his famous Oracle Challenger
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World Airshow News 51 33 September/October January/February 2019 2018
...THE 2018 ICAS CONVENTION
Judy Scholl (center) with incoming USAF
F-16 Demonstration Pilot Capt. Zoe Kotnik
(left) and the outgoing F-16 pilot, Maj. John
Waters (photo by Larry Grace).
III biplane, and “Johnny D” will fly on Sean’s
right wing in Team Oracle’s Extra 300.
The Oracle Challenger is slated to become
the center piece of the Smithsonian National
Air and Space Museum’s new “We
All Fly” exhibit, but that will have to wait
until a sponsorship allows the new team
to transition to new aircraft.
Sean says the team is training with
the expert coaching of Bill Stein, and
they plan to have as many as 250 training
flights under their belt by the time they
launch their 2019 season in late March at
the California International Airshow in
Dash AeroSports. Scott Farnsworth
has spent seven years racing at Reno, but
two years ago he took his highly-modified
L-39 and began displaying it at airshows
under the sponsorship of and Dash Digital
Cash. Now Dash AeroSports is launching
a new L-39 aerobatic act, complete
with a full virtual reality experience for
“Our L-39 is about 120 mph faster
than stock and has been modified for a
faster roll rate,” says Farnsworth. “With
the modifications and our reduced weight,
we are able to have much better vertical
penetration, including aileron rolls. The
speeds that we attain while maintaining a
7 to 7.5 g repositioning turn, far exceed
anything else on the market, so we are
The United Airshow Grunts, 2018
At the annual meeting of the somewhat irreverent United Airshow Grunts (UAG),
2017 Grunt of the Year Fred Masterson (left) was admonished by UAG President
Devan Norris for riding in the hero car at Oshkosh with performer (boo) Greg Koontz
– as photographic evidence from this magazine proved. In addition, former gruntturned-performer
(boo) Nate Hammond (below) was forced to read an apology for
buying and wearing a UAG sweatshirt, despite his current ineligibility as a performer
* The much-oppressed members of the UAG traditionally “boo” in unison when the word “performer” is spoken at their meetings.
www.airshowmag.com 34 January/February 2019
World Airshow News 35 January/February 2019
...THE 2018 ICAS CONVENTION
With many years under his belt announcing for Sean D. Tucker and Matt
Chapman, Brian Norris (in the booth with his wife, Devan) is now offering
his announcing services to airshow promoters.
able to provide a more dynamic high-speed airshow.”
The virtual reality experience travels between show sites in
a 45-foot motor coach towing a 28-foot air-conditioned trailer
where the team has installed two aircraft ejection-style seats. Using
a virtual reality headset, Dash will offer spectators the opportunity
to “ride along” with Scott as he races at 500 mph at 50 feet
at Reno, or through his airshow routine, using actual video footage
recorded at each venue.
“Instead of just entertaining somebody, we’re engaging them,”
adds Farnsworth. “We’re trying to lock onto our youth’s desire for
experiences and bring them into aviation, while also promoting
the local airshow.”
Southeast Council of Airshows. Thanks to the efforts of former
Marine Robert Carlson, the Southeast Council of Air Shows
(SECAS) is being resurrected after a 22-year hiatus. Like the other
regional councils around the country, the SECAS mission will
be to promote the safe and professional production of airshows
in their region, in this case, the southeastern United States. SE-
CAS is targeting their first regional convention for early 2020.
…AND MUCH MORE
As per usual, ICAS 2018 featured numerous educational sessions
and seminars. Airshow-related groups such as the regional
councils of airshows and the somewhat irreverent United Airshow
Grunts (UAG) also held meetings during the convention.
In addition, a live auction to benefit the ICAS Foundation Family
Fund generated more than $70,000 during the Chairman’s Banquet.
During the annual membership meeting on December 6, results
of the recently completed Board of Directors election were
announced. Darcy Brewer from the California Capital Airshow
was elected to a three-year term on the ICAS Board. Christina
Carey from the Bell Fort Worth Alliance Air Show and Bill
Braack from the Oregon International Air Show were both reelected
to their second three-year terms.
The new Board of Directors also selected its officers for 2019.
Airshow performer John Klatt will serve as chairman of the
Board of Directors, Kevin Walsh from the Thunder Over Michigan
Air Show will serve as vice chairman, and Bill Braack was
selected as ICAS secretary/treasurer.
ICAS will reconvene back at Paris Las Vegas in 2019, December
The ICAS Pinnacle Awards program recognizes performer,
support services and airshow organizer programs
that demonstrate ingenuity, achievement and
professionalism. The award presentation seeks to make
these ideas available to the greater airshow community to
advance the industry and stimulate positive change.
The following industry professionals received the 2018
awards during the Pinnacle Awards luncheon:
The ICAS Pinnacle Awards
• Platinum: NAS Oceana Air Show for their STEM
education field trip initiative.
Small Civilian Airshows:
• Gold: Truckee-Tahoe Air Show for its emergency response
• Platinum: Santa Maria Airport (California) for the
Central Coast AirFest’s legacy film.
• Gold: Canadian Forces Snowbirds for their real-time
itinerant aircraft safety triage system.
• Platinum: USAF F-16 Viper Demo Team for their social
• Gold: The Immortal Red Baron for its World War I
dogfighting airshow experience.
• Platinum: Twin Tigers Aerobatic Team for its LED strips
on aerobatic aircraft initiative.
• Gold: MCAS Yuma Airshow for their “In the Cockpit”
Social media series.
Mid-Sized Civilian Airshows:
• Gold: Eastern Townships Air Show for its job & science
• Platinum: Duluth Airshow for their weather balloon
educational outreach initiative.
Large Civilian Airshows:
• Gold: Alliance Air Productions for its veteran’s village.
• Platinum: Sun ‘n Fun for “Missionizing” Sun ‘n Fun
programming with STEM.
Support Services Providers:
• Gold: WOW Airshow, LLC for its airshow safety website.
• Platinum: FROST (Fast Response Safety Team) for
www.airshowmag.com 36 January/February 2019
Contact Trisha Keeler or Susan Amey
World Airshow News 37 January/February 2019
ICAS 2018 AWARDS report by Jim Froneberger, photos by Larry Grace
Julie Clark The Darnell Family Sue Gardner
The annual ICAS Chairman’s Banquet always
concludes the annual convention.
Held this year on the evening of December
6, the black-tie optional event is when
ICAS hands out the industry’s most-coveted
awards for the past season.
Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 ICAS
ICAS SWORD OF EXCELLENCE
Given each year since 1981 to recognize outstanding
service and personal contributions to the
airshow industry, the Sword is widely considered to
be the single highest honor an individual airshow
professional can receive. For 2018, there were two
Airshow performer Julie Clark’s patriotic performances
in her T-34 Mentor have been featured
at airshows both large and small throughout North
America. Julie’s career has spanned four decades,
but she says the 2019 season will be her last.
European Airshow Council Board Chairman
Gilbert Buekenberghs helped to form and build the
European Airshow Council. That organization has
forever changed the trajectory of the European airshow
ART SCHOLL MEMORIAL
Each year, ICAS presents the Art Scholl Memorial
Showmanship Award to the airshow act or
performer which best exemplifies the qualities of
showmanship demonstrated by airshow great Art
The 2018 award went to the Darnell family for
their work building and operating their stable of
jet-powered vehicles that includes Shockwave,
Flash Fire, and Aftershock.
Top: Julie Clark (with Sword, left) and Gilbert Buekenberghs (with Sword,
right) surrounded by past Sword of Excellence recipients.
Middle: The Darnell family – (left to right) Chris, Brooke, Marilyn, and Neal –
with Judy Scholl (right).
Above: ICAS President John Cudahy (left) with the FAA’s Sue Gardner.
www.airshowmag.com 38 January/February 2019
Tampa Bay AirFest Terry Grevious Walt Pierce
THE BOB HOOVER WINGMAN AWARD
The Bob Hoover Wingman Award is presented
each year to an individual from within or outside
the airshow industry who has been a reliable supporter
or advocate of the airshow business.
The 2018 recipient was Sue Gardner, the FAA’s
national aviation events specialist and principal
policy liaison with the U.S. airshow community.
Gardner was cited for her commitment to establish
a partnership between the FAA and the airshow
community that has focused on improving airshow
safety without imposing undue regulatory burdens.
DICK SCHRAM MEMORIAL
COMMUNITY RELATIONS AWARD
The Dick Schram Memorial Community Relations
Award is presented each year to the military
base that does the best job of putting the considerable
power of its open house to work in improving
its relations in the community where the base
The 2018 award went to MacDill AFB and its
Tampa Bay AirFest for its work to combine a STEM
fair with the annual airshow.
AIR SHOW HALL OF FAME INDUCTIONS
The International Council of Air Shows Foundation’s
Air Show Hall of Fame was created in 1995 to
honor those who have made a significant contribution
to the airshow industry.
This year’s inductees were event organizer Terry
Grevious and airshow performer Walt Pierce.
Grevious helped launch the Muskegon Air Fair
in 1984 and turned it into one of the most successful
airshows in North America before assuming
leadership for the Dayton Air Show in Ohio. Grevious
was cited for his innovation, strong management
skills, and professionalism.
For nearly a half century, Pierce was a well-respected
aerobatic and wing-walking pilot who performed
all over the U.S. and Canada in his Stearman
Ol’ Smokey. He was recognized for his skills
as an aviator and his professionalism during a career
that began in the 1960s.
Top: The MacDill AFB/Tampa Bay AirFest team accepts the Dick Schram
Middle: Terry Grevious accepts his Hall of Fame induction from Danny
Clisham (left) and Foundation Chair Judy Willey.
Bottom: Walt Pierce accepts his Hall of Fame induction from Danny
Clisham (left) and Foundation Chair Judy Willey.
World Airshow News 39 January/February 2019
AIRSHOW REPORT: Photos by Tommaso Munforti
Axalp Air Force Firing Event, Switzerland
On October 10, Swiss Air Force pilots
demonstrated their aircraft using
live fire for spectators positioned
along the side of an Alpine mountain at
2,200 meters above sea level. Axalp is the
highest-altitude air force firing range in
Europe, with a magnificent panoramic
view of the Swiss Alps.
Right: Four F-5 fighters of the
Swiss Air Force Patrouille Swiss
Below: Two Swiss Air Force F/A-18s
against the snowy Alps.
www.airshowmag.com 40 January/February 2019
Mia Langford, Mint Hill, NC
Austin Hancock*, West New York, NJ
*referred by Dan Reeves
World Airshow News 41 January/February 2019
WORLD AIRSHOW NEWS 17 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017
AIRSHOW REPORT: Photos by Benoit Denet
Belgian Air Force Days Airshow
Every two years, the Belgian Air Force organizes Belgian Air
Force Days, the largest airshow in Belgium. Aircraft arrive
from all over Europe for this event. The 2018 show was
held September 8-9 at Kleine-Brogel Air Base and attracted over
Left: A Saab Gripen from Czech Republic.
Above: The F-16 Dark Falcon from the Belgian Air Force performs.
Below: A Ukrainian Ilyushin IL-76 and two Ukrainian Sukhoi Su-27 Flankers
arrive for the BAF Days Airshow.
www.airshowmag.com 42 January/February 2019
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World Airshow News 43 January/February 2019 World Airshow News 7755
AIRSHOW HIGHLIGHTS: October & November 2018...
The 2018 airshow season
wrapped up in October and
November, but these late
season shows are always some
of the best of the year. From San
Francisco Fleet Week (see feature
article elsewhere in this issue) to
the Blue Angels Homecoming
Air Show in Pensacola, Florida,
spectators were thoroughly
entertained, and another successful
airshow season came to an end.
All year we’ve presented some
of their best photos capturing the
excitement of these great events,
and this issue is no exception.
Unfortunately, many shots get left
out of each issue because there is
simply not enough room. So, to
check out the hundreds of superb
pictures we couldn’t fit into print,
visit our online galleries at www.
In our next issue, we will follow
the tradition we started last year
and will present “The Best of the
Rest” – some of the best photos
from the 2018 season that we just
didn’t have room for during the
season. Stay tuned!
Top: On Sunday Oct 21, Sean D. Tucker flew his final solo performance at Wings Over Houston, and
completed the final ribbon cut of his solo career in his Oracle Challenger III.
Above: Flying four Extras, the Phillips 66 Aerostars thrilled the crowds at Wings Over Houston (photos by
www.airshowmag.com 44 January/February 2019
Left:The Blue Angels diamond
formation overflies the NAS
Pensacola Lighthouse during
the Blue Angels Homecoming
Air Show at NAS Pensacola
(photo by Craig Scaling).
Below: During their Tinstix dual
performance, Skip Stewart and
Gary Ward raced Shockwave
at NAS Pensacola, with the jet
truck popping his ‘chute just as
he passed Skip and Gary (photo
by Chris Buff).
World Airshow News 45 January/February 2019
...AIRSHOW HIGHLIGHTS: October & November 2018...
Right: After stealing a Piper
Cub, Clem Cleaver (Greg
Koontz) chases Grandpa (Fred
Masterson) at the South
Alabama Airshow in Andalusia.
Below: Skip Stewart flies his
Pitts in knife edge between two
hangars at the South Alabama
Airshow in Andalusia (photos by
www.airshowmag.com 46 January/February 2019
...AIRSHOW HIGHLIGHTS: October & November 2018...
Above:The “Dawn Patrol”
launches at the Albuquerque
International Balloon Fiesta
(photo by Greg Meland).
Right: Buck Roetman flies
inverted in his Pitts at Wings
Over North Georgia in Rome
(photo by Chris Buff).
World Airshow News 47 January/February 2019
...AIRSHOW HIGHLIGHTS: October & November 2018.
Miles Daisher does a backflip off the
skid of the Red Bull Helicopter at the
Aviation Roundup in Minden-Tahoe,
Nevada (photo by Mark Loper).
Thanks to the following contributors for providing coverage here and at www.airshowmag.com:
Date Airshow City Contributors
October 5-7 San Francisco Fleet Week San Francisco, California Norman A. Graf, Mark Loper
October 6-14 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Albuquerque, New Mexico Greg Meland
October 10-11 Axalp Swiss Air Force Live Fire Demo Axalp, Switzerland Tommaso Munforti
October 13-14 Wings Over North Georgia Rome, Georgia Chris Buff
October 13-14 Minden-Tahoe Aviation Roundup Minden-Tahoe, Nevada Mark Loper
October 13-14 Bell Helicopter Fort Worth Alliance Air Show Fort Worth, Texas Gary Daniels, Eric Renth
October 20-21 Wings Over Houston Airshow Houston, Texas Ken Cheung
November 2-3 Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show NAS Pensacola, Florida Chris Buff,
November 10-11 Warbirds Over Monroe Monroe, North Carolina Jim Froneberger
November 17 South Alabama Airshow Andalusia, Alabama Sheldon Heatherington
www.airshowmag.com 48 January/February 2019
World Airshow News 49 January/February 2019
honored with a
front row seat at the
Aviation Roundup in
Far right: Blue Angel
#1, Capt Eric Doyle,
signing autographs at
the Aviation Roundup
in Minden, Nevada
(photos by Mark
Left: Greg “Wired” Colyer saying hello after his performance at the Aviation
Roundup in Minden, Nevada (photo by Mark Loper).
Above: Airboss George Cline with his grandson Drew after the conclusion of
the Warbirds Over Monroe Air Show in Monroe, North Carolina (photo by Jim
www.airshowmag.com 50 January/February 2019
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World Airshow News 51 January/February 2019
AIRSHOW CALENDAR by World Airshow News Canadian Editor Kerry J. Newstead
This listing contains U.S.A. and International airshows beginning in January, 2019 through mid-May 2019.
Go to www.airshowmag.com for complete U.S. and international listings.
BA = Blue Angels • CF = Canadian CF-18 • SB = Snowbirds • TB = Thunderbirds
1/10-1/13: Havasu Balloon Festival &
Fair, Havasu City, AZ, (877) 505-2440,
1/12-1/13: Great Eastern Fly-In, Evans
Head NSW, Australia, email@example.com,
1/19-1/19: Imperial Aviation Day, Imperial,
CA, (683) 655-6444, firstname.lastname@example.org
1/23-1/26: US Sport Aviation Expo,
Sebring, FL, sport-aviation-expo.com
1/25-1/27: Festival Aéreo de Villarrica,
Villarrica, Chile, festivalaereovillarrica@
1/26-1/27: Show Aéreo Ilopango 2019,
San Salvador, El Salvador, email@example.com
2/15-2/27: Montebello Winter Fly In,
Montebello, QC, Canada, (613) 236-4901,
2/17-2/17: 19th Annual Stars and Stripes
Air Show Spectacular, Laredo, TX, Jet:a10,
(956) 722-0589, firstname.lastname@example.org,
2/19-2/10: Buckeye Air Fair, Buckeye, AZ,
2/20-2/22: AeroExpo 2019, Toluca,
2/20-2/24: Aero India 2019, Bengaluru,
2/22-2/24: Wings over Wairarapa,
Masterton, New Zealand, email@example.com.
2/23-2/13: Planes, Trains & Automobiles,
Plant City, FL, (813) 754-3707, info@
2/23-2/23: Los Angeles Air Raid, San
2/26-3/3: Avalon 2019 - Australian
International Airshow, Geelong VIC, Australia,
3/2-3/2: JASDF Komaki Open Base Air
Festival, Aicihi, Japan, mod.go.jp
3/7-3/10: Aero Club Airweek, Middleburg,
South Africa, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Lowveld Kishuga AirshowLowveld Kishuga
3/9-3/10: Yuma Airshow, MCAS Yuma, AZ,
Jet:a10, (928) 269-3109, email@example.com,
3/9-3/10: Swellendam Fly In and Sport
Aerobatic Championship, Swellendam,
South Africa, firstname.lastname@example.org, vgv.
3/15-3/17: Space Coast Warbird AirShow,
Titusville, FL, (321) 268-1941, warbirds@
3/16-3/16: NAF El Centro Air Show, NAF
El Centro, CA, Jet: BA, (760) 339-2673,
3/16-3/17: Lake Boga Airshow & Splash
In, Lake Boga VIC, Australia, museum@
3/22-3/24: AAAA National Fly-in, Echura
VIC, Australia, email@example.com
3/23-3/23: FASHKOSH - Stellenbosch,
Stellenbosch, South Africa, gm@stelfly.
3/23-3/24: Thunder and Lighting Over
Arizona, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, Jet:TB/
f22/a10, (520) 228-3406, 355wgpa@
3/23-3/24: California International
Air Show, Salinas, CA, Jet: BA, (844)
3/26-3/30: LIMA ‘19 - Langkawi International
Maritime & Aerospace Exhibition,
Langkawi, Malaysia, norliza.manap@
3/30-3/31: Melbourne Air and Space
show, Melbourne, FL, Jet:F35, (321) 395-
3/30-3/31: NAS Key West Southern most
Air Show, NAS Key West, FL, Jet: BA/f16,
(305) 293-2503, firstname.lastname@example.org,
3/30-3/31: Thunder Over the Bay, Travis
AFB, CA, Jet:TB/f22
4/6-4/6: Shaw AFB Wing Event, Shaw AFB,
4/6-4/7: Hunter Valley Airshow 2019,
Cessnock NSW, Australia, contact@
4/6-4/7: Sun-N-fun Fly-in Expo, Lakeland,
FL, Jet: BA, (863) 904-6833, fly-info@
4/6-4/7: Heart of Texas Air Show, Waco,
TX, Jet:TB, info@heartoftexasairshow.
4/10-4/13: Aero Friedrichshafen, Friedrichshafen,
4/12-4/13: Festival d’Avion, Pinehurst,
NJ, (910) 215-0861, info@festivaldavion.
4/13-4/13: Marvel of Flight Fly-in & Expo,
DeFuniak Springs, FL, (850) 892-2000,
4/13-4/13: Valley View Air Display, Geraldton
4/13-4/13: Thunder Over Louisville,
Louisville, KY, (502) 584-3378, KDFPressOffice@kdf.org
4/13-4/13: Uitenhage Festival, Uitenhage,
4/13-4/14: Wings over Southern Texas
Air Show, NAS Corpus Christi, TX, Jet: BA/
4/16-4/18: ABACE2019 Asian Business
Aviation Conference & Exhibition, Shanghai,
4/17-4/20: Qatar Airshow, Doha, Qatar,
4/19-4/21: Omaka Classic Fighters
Airshow 2019, Blenheim, New Zealand,
4/20-4/20: Rand Airport Easter Fly In,
Rand, South Africa, events@randairport.
4/24-4/27: FAMEX 2019, Santa Lucia,
Mexico, Jet:a10, f-airmexico.com.mx
4/27-4/27: Cross City Airport Fly In, Cross
City, FL, (352) 498-1403, email@example.com,
4/27-4/28: MCAS Beaufort Air Show,
MCAS Beaufort, SC, Jet: BA/f22, (854)
4/27-4/28: CAF Dixie Wing WWII Heritage
Days, Peachtree City, GA, (770) 655-3315,
4/27-4/28: Den ve vzduchu Plasy, Plasy,
Czech Republic, firstname.lastname@example.org
4/27-4/28: Wings over Wayne Open
House, Seymour-Johnson AFB, NC, Jet:TB,
4/28-4/28: Pacific Coast Dream
Machines Show, Half Moon Bay, CA,
(650) 726-2328, tim@miramarevents.
4/28-4/28: Old Buckenham Wings &
Wheels, Old Buckenham, England, email@example.com,
5/4-5/4: SAAF Museum Airshow, AFB
Swartkop, South Africa
5/4-5/4: 2019 Manassas Airshow, Manassas,
5/4-5/5: Planes of Fame Air Show, Chino,
CA, Jet:F16, (909) 597-3722, harry.geier@
5/4-5/5: Fort Lauderdale Air Show, Fort
Lauderdale, FL, Jet: BA/f22, (321) 395-
3110, firstname.lastname@example.org, fortlauderdaleairshow.
5/4-5/5: Thunder over the sound:The
Keesler and Biloxi Air and Space Show,
www.airshowmag.com 52 January/February 2019
Keesler AFB, MS, Jet:TB
5/4-5/5: Festival letectva Piestany,
5/4-5/5: Wings over Illawarra, Wollongong
NSW, Australia, email@example.com
5/5-5/5: Abingdon Air & Country Show,
5/5-5/5: Shuttleworth Season Premiere
Airshow, Old Warden, England, enquiries@
5/6-5/6: 2019 Aero-Auto Jumble, Classic
Car Rally, & Vintage Fly-in, Popham
Airfield, England, pophamairfield@
5/9-5/9: Victory Day Parade, Moscow,
5/10-5/11: Battlefields Fly In, Battlefields,
South Africa, firstname.lastname@example.org, battlefields.co.zabattlefields.co.za
5/11-5/11: Corsicana Airsho, Corsicana, TX,
5/11-5/11: Lowveld Kishuga Airshow,
Lowveld, South Africa, monica.fourie@
5/11-5/11: AirExpo 2019, Muret - Lherm,
France, email@example.com, airexpo.
5/11-5/11: Estrella Warbirds, Wings &
Wheels, Paso Robles, CA, (805) 238-9317,
5/11-5/12: JB Andrews Airshow, JB
Andrews, MD, Jet: BA/tb/a10, (240) 612-
5/11-5/12: Chennault Interrnational
Airshow, Lake Charles, LA, Jet:F16, info@
5/16-5/17: Heli Russia 2019, Moscow,
Russia, firstname.lastname@example.org, helirussia.
5/17-5/17: Spottersday NATO Tiger Meet,
Mont de Marsan, France, spottersday.
5/17-5/18: Helicopter Show 2019, Hradec
Kraliove, Czech Republic, helicoptershow@
5/17-5/19: Warbirds Over the Beach,
Virginia Beach, VA, (757) 721-7767
5/18-5/18: Kirtland AFB Air Snow, Kirtland
AFB, NM, Jet:TB, kirtland.af.mil
5/18-5/18: May Evening Airshow, Old Warden,
5/18-5/18: Stow Maries Wings and
Wheels, Stow Maries, England, info@
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Index to Advertisers
Index to Advertisers
AeroShell Aerobatic Team . ............57
AeroShell Air Show Network Aerobatic (Jim Team........... Breen) ........65
21 Greg Hugh Shelton Oldham Airshows Announcing ..............7 ....63
Air Air Show Network Vendors (Patrick (Jim Breen) O’Grady) ...... ....65
53 Insurance Index to Advertisers. Technologies . . .&. . Programs. . . . . . . . . . .. .65 39
Alabama Boys (Greg Koontz) ..........49
Insurance Technologies & Programs ..... 5
Air Show Vendors (Patrick O’Grady) .. 53 Jaymatt Aviation, LLC.............. 51
American Aerobatics (Julie Clark) ....... 2 Jessy Panzer ........................65
Alabama Boys (Greg Koontz)........ 27 Jim Tobul Airshows Class of ‘45 . ..... 25
Batcopter and Batmobile (Nock Air) ....65
Jim Tobul Airshows (Korean War Hero) . .21
American Bean Quiet Aerobatics Sound Amplifier. (Julie Clark)......2
. . . . . . . . . .59 Manfred Keith Davis Radius................... Airshows .................63
Batcopter Bill Adams & Foundation Batmobile Legacy (Nock Air).... Prize ....27
53 National Manfred Event Radius Services............. .....................37
Bean Bill Stein Quiet Airshows Sound . Amplifier. ..................67
. . . . . . . . 43 Parachute Matt Chapman Shop Airshows (Don Meyer). .............31
Billy Werth Airshows .................61
Pure White Smoke Oil ................. 3
Bill Adams Memorial Foundation Scott Francis Airshows ............. 49
CAF Dixie Wing ...................... 9 Redline Airshows ....................41
Legacy Prize.................... 41 Shannon & Luchs Insurance. ........ 51
Continental Air Show Productions ......63
Rick Volker Airshows .................61
CAF Dacy Dixie Airshows Wing (Dave Air Shows Dacy) ............5
Skip Scott Stewart Francis Airshows............. ...............51
Dacy De Havilland Airshows Vampire (Dave Airshows Dacy)...........9 . 7
Extreme Faux Shizzle AeroSports Motor Skilz (Jim. .............65
Figure 1 Foundation (Rumble Bee) .....17
Faux Shizzle Motor Skilz............ 53
Firewalkers International Pyrotechnics . .65
Free Gary Man Rower Airshows (Bob ................59
Gary Rower Ward Airshows.............. .................61
Greg Shelton Air Shows ..............13
Herb & Ditto . .......................29
Trojan Shannon Thunder.................... & Luchs Insurance ...........63 17
US Shockwave Navy Legacy Jet Truck Flight.............. (Neal Darnell) .....23 33
Skip Stewart Airshows ...............68
Vertigo Airshows (Bob Carlton). ..... 55
. ...... 49
World Vertigo Airshows News (Bob promo. Carlton) ........15 51
Younkin Wild Blue Airshows...................3
Rodeo (Jerry“Jive” Kerby) ....51
Younkin Airshows .................... 4
WORLD World AIRSHOW Airshow NEWS News 65 53
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER January/February 2019
STICK TIME: Glenn Watson with...
Blue Angel #7: The Photo Shoot
“ How would you like to shoot the
Blue Angels, Thunderbirds, and
Snowbirds from the back seat of
Blue Angel #7?” asked the voice
on the other end of my phone. “It’s
still waiting on approvals, so please don’t
That’s how Blue Angels Lead Solo Lt.
Tyler Davies first told me about what
would become one of the most incredible
photo shoots I’ve ever had the privilege to
do. I had shot the individual teams in various
formations, but ALL of them together
at once? How could this happen? I felt
confident I could hack my way through
the photo shoot – but an F/A-18 Hornet
ride? I’ve been a pilot most of my life, but
never did I think I would ever get to ride
in a Hornet, especially one painted blue
Having been through the “military approval”
process for photo shoots in the
past, I knew that the shoot isn’t happening
until it’s actually happening, so I tried
not to get too excited as the weeks clicked
off. About a week out, I got the official
thumbs up and a briefing slide deck outlining
a safe and efficient plan to get 23
jets that start out 150 miles apart into the
same piece of sky at the same time (21 jets
in the photo, my photo jet, and a safety
We would be staging out of the Cleveland
National Air Show, and the Thunderbirds
and Snowbirds would be coming
over from their weekend show site in Toronto.
The military demo teams have always
been much larger than life to me, so the
opportunity to be a small part of the Blue
Angels team that day was incredible. I’ll
never forget Blue Angel #7, Lt Andre
Webb, shaking my hand and motioning
out the window to “my jet.” We briefed
with the crew chief about the cockpit, the
ejection seat, and what things NOT to
touch. I got fitted for the flight suit and
discussed life in the back seat of a Hornet.
At “go time,” I arrived at the briefing
room and was so honored to be there
with the team. I was in awe of each person
at the table doing what they do on a
Once complete, we all stepped out to
the jets, and it all got real. “I’m climbing
up the ladder and strapping into a blue
and gold Hornet!” I thought to myself.
“WOW!” I got all ratcheted down in ten
different places, got the helmet on, and
my cameras situated, as Andre did the
same in the front.
Once the pre-flight checklists started,
things went really fast. All seven jets
share a discrete comm frequency, and as
they started to taxi, I was still in disbelief.
Their radio banter offered me a small
window into the tight-knit bond on the
team, something the rest of us can’t truly
The four-ship diamond took off first,
and we lined up in between and aft of solos
#5 and #6. Their burners blazing, the
solos started rolling, and we went off right
behind them. The takeoff performance
really blew my mind, and I was surprised
how quiet it was. We were at 350 knots
before I knew what was happening, and
quickly joined up with the other six jets
and started the 90-mile transit to the rendezvous
point over the middle of Lake
The Snowbirds were already there
when we arrived, so the Blues formed up
on their wing. The Thunderbirds arrived
shortly thereafter, joined on the Blue Angels’
wing, and I started shooting. We
probably had 10 minutes on station, but
it felt like 30 seconds. It’s very difficult
to move 21 jets around, so we set up the
shots by moving our jet around. All the
yanking and banking was a blast!
The Snowbirds were first to get low on
fuel, so they cleared off and we did a few
more minutes with the Blues and Tbirds
before heading back to Cleveland. Another
90-mile ride as a seven-ship with all the
Blue Angels, no big deal!
Upon arrival back at Cleveland, we followed
the Delta into the break and pulled
about 6-g. It was AWESOME! Wheels
down, land, and taxi back to parking in
classic Blue Angel style – all seven jets
perfectly lined up. We shut down, canopies
came up in unison, and the pilots
stepped out like they always do. The crew
chief came up and unstrapped me and I
climbed down the ladder. All six pilots
were waiting and did the walk down, each
shaking my hand in order. That hand
shake was the highlight of my flight.
And just like that, it was over. I had a
few hours before my commercial fight
home, so I stayed for the Blue Angels
practice. I was sitting alone in my rental
car on the ramp, parked next to Fat Albert,
Top Gun soundtrack on the radio,
and the Hornets were ripping up the sky
above. It actually brought a tear to my eye.
It had been one of the best experiences of
My grandest thanks to Lt Tyler Davies
for his support and recommendation for
the shoot, and to the rest of the Blue Angels,
Thunderbirds, and Snowbirds for
their trust in me getting the shots.
www.airshowmag.com 54 January/February 2019
World Airshow News 55 January/February 2019
www.airshowmag.com 56 January/February 2019