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

Contributing Editors:

Denise Decker, Michael J. Gallagher

A.C.E. Columnist: Greg Koontz

Air Racing: Brad Haskin

Editor at Large, etc.: Jeff Parnau

Aro, Charlene

Barbor, Alan

Bell, Robert

Black, Brandon

Bradshaw, Brion

Buff, Chris

Byrne, Evan

Charlot, Keith

Cheung, Ken

Cook, Clark

Cromer, Lynn

Daniels, Gary

Denet, Benoit

Finch, Steve

Freedman, John

Gibson, Greg

Gonzalez, Manny

Grace, Larry

Graf, Norman A.

Grantonic, Ryan

Greenwell, Arnold

Haskin, Randy

Head, Mike

Heatherington, Sheldon

Hedlund, Tom

Henriques, Dudley

Hong, Kevin

Holzinger, Steven

Houghtaling, Jon

Hrutkay, Mark


Lisk Jr., Grady

Recent Contributors

Loper, Mark

Lynaugh, Mike

Mainiero, Michael

Meland, Greg

Monohan, Cindy

Munforti, Tommaso

Koontz, Greg

Pawlesh, Tom

Porter, Chris

Renth, Eric

Rininger, Tyson V.

Rower, Gwen

Rower, Gary

Scaling, Craig

Serdikoff, Steve

Shabec, Fred

Shore, Mike

Snorteland, Scott

Steckel, Olga

St. Pierre, Marc

Streit, Mark

Thiel, Roger

Thun, Don

VanderMeulen, Richard

Van Gilder, Eric

Vessigault, Julie

von Puttkammer, Ricardo

Walton, Vance

Watson, Glenn

Willhoff, John

Wingard, Dean

Yost, Shawn



January/February 2019

Cover Story:

NAS Oceana & STEM

NAS Oceana teams up with teachers

to wow thousands of kids.


Fleet Week

San Francisco’s annual military



Center Spread:

Triple Teams

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,

Walt Pierce.


Axalp Airforce Firing Event

The Polish Air Force celebrates 100

years in the air.


Belgian Air Force Days

Belgium’s biennial airshow draws

75,000 spectators


Stick Time

Glenn Watson straps on a blue and

gold Hornet for the photo-shoot of a

photographer’s lifetime.



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Jim Froneberger, Editor PAGE 6

Greg Koontz, A.C.E. PAGE 8

Julie Vessigault PAGE 10


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



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

airshow fans.

www.airshowmag.com 6 January/February 2019

World Airshow News 33 September/October 2018


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

you there.

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

to Greg@GKairshows.com

www.airshowmag.com 8 January/February 2019

Now also




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,

November 17-18.

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

whole year.”

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

Class season.

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

high-g turning.

“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

vertical climbs.”

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


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

Oceana photo).

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


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.


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.


www.airshowmag.com 16 January/February 2019

World Airshow News 17 January/February 2019


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).


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:

• Transportation/Security/Logistics

• Curriculum Tie-In

• Interactive Displays

• Media/Engagement.

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


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

at each.

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.


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

grade Twitter!”

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

the kids

• 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.

www.airshowmag.com 20 January/February 2019







(205) 601-9215 - ..................

World Airshow News 21 January/February 2019

FLEET WEEK by Norman A. Graf

San Francisco’s




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.


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

National Guard.

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.


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

www.airshowmag.com 24 January/February 2019



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

“teaser” performance.

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).

www.airshowmag.com 26 January/February 2019

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.

www.airshowmag.com 28 January/February 2019

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.


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


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.


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

in 2019.

“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

with that.”

“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

www.airshowmag.com 32 January/February 2019

World Airshow News 51 33 September/October January/February 2019 2018


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

Salinas, California.

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

airshow fans.

“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


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.


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.

Military Performers:

• Gold: Canadian Forces Snowbirds for their real-time

itinerant aircraft safety triage system.

• Platinum: USAF F-16 Viper Demo Team for their social

media strategy.

Civilian Performers:

• 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.

Military Airshows:

• 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

FROST safety.

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



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

Sword recipients.

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




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 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.



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

is located.

The 2018 award went to MacDill AFB and its

Tampa Bay AirFest for its work to combine a STEM

fair with the annual airshow.



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

demonstration team.

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


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

75,000 spectators.

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

Ken Cheung).

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

Sheldon Heatherington).

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,

Sheldon Heatherington,

Craig Scaling

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


Right: Dan

Buchanan was

honored with a

front row seat at the

Aviation Roundup in

Minden, Nevada.

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, info@greateasternflyin.com,


1/19-1/19: Imperial Aviation Day, Imperial,

CA, (683) 655-6444, expo@sebringairport.com

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@

gmail.com, festivalaereovillarrica.cl

1/26-1/27: Show Aéreo Ilopango 2019,

San Salvador, El Salvador, info@ilopangoairshow.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, wbca@wbcalaredo.org,


2/19-2/10: Buckeye Air Fair, Buckeye, AZ,

(623) 349-6000

2/20-2/22: AeroExpo 2019, Toluca,


2/20-2/24: Aero India 2019, Bengaluru,

India, mediaregn.dpr-mod@gov.in,


2/22-2/24: Wings over Wairarapa,

Masterton, New Zealand, info@wings.org.

nz, wings.org.nz

2/23-2/13: Planes, Trains & Automobiles,

Plant City, FL, (813) 754-3707, info@


2/23-2/23: Los Angeles Air Raid, San

Pedro, CA

2/26-3/3: Avalon 2019 - Australian

International Airshow, Geelong VIC, Australia,

airshow@amda.com.au, airshow.


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, alan@aeroclub.org.za,

Lowveld Kishuga AirshowLowveld Kishuga


3/9-3/10: Yuma Airshow, MCAS Yuma, AZ,

Jet:a10, (928) 269-3109, mcasyuma_media@usmc.mil,


3/9-3/10: Swellendam Fly In and Sport

Aerobatic Championship, Swellendam,

South Africa, pventer@vgv.co.za, 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, president@antique-aeroplane.com.au

3/23-3/23: FASHKOSH - Stellenbosch,

Stellenbosch, South Africa, gm@stelfly.

co.za, stelfly.co.za

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)

647-7499, info@salinasairshow.com,


3/26-3/30: LIMA ‘19 - Langkawi International

Maritime & Aerospace Exhibition,

Langkawi, Malaysia, norliza.manap@

limaexhibition.com, limaexhibition.


3/30-3/31: Melbourne Air and Space

show, Melbourne, FL, Jet:F35, (321) 395-

3110, pr@air.show

3/30-3/31: NAS Key West Southern most

Air Show, NAS Key West, FL, Jet: BA/f16,

(305) 293-2503, mwrnaskw@gmail.com,


3/30-3/31: Thunder Over the Bay, Travis

AFB, CA, Jet:TB/f22

4/6-4/6: Shaw AFB Wing Event, Shaw AFB,

SC, Jet:F16

4/6-4/7: Hunter Valley Airshow 2019,

Cessnock NSW, Australia, contact@

aerohunter.com.au, huntervalleyairshow.


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.

com, heartoftexasairshow.com

4/10-4/13: Aero Friedrichshafen, Friedrichshafen,

Germany, aero-expo.com

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,

airport@defuniaksprings.net, marvelofflight.com

4/13-4/13: Valley View Air Display, Geraldton

WA, Australia

4/13-4/13: Thunder Over Louisville,

Louisville, KY, (502) 584-3378, KDFPressOffice@kdf.org

4/13-4/13: Uitenhage Festival, Uitenhage,

South Africa

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,

China, info@abace.aero

4/17-4/20: Qatar Airshow, Doha, Qatar,


4/19-4/21: Omaka Classic Fighters

Airshow 2019, Blenheim, New Zealand,

info@omaka.org.nz, classicfighters.org.


4/20-4/20: Rand Airport Easter Fly In,

Rand, South Africa, events@randairport.

co.za, randairport.co.zarandairport

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, cheyenne.stemple@dixie.fl.gov,


4/27-4/28: MCAS Beaufort Air Show,

MCAS Beaufort, SC, Jet: BA/f22, (854)

322-8767, scmccs@usmc-mccs.org,


4/27-4/28: CAF Dixie Wing WWII Heritage

Days, Peachtree City, GA, (770) 655-3315,

marketing@dixiewing.org, wwiidays.


4/27-4/28: Den ve vzduchu Plasy, Plasy,

Czech Republic, jpoor@4pro.cz

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, airfield@oldbuck.com,


5/4-5/4: SAAF Museum Airshow, AFB

Swartkop, South Africa

5/4-5/4: 2019 Manassas Airshow, Manassas,

VA, Jet:a10

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, pr@air.show, 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,

Piestany, Slovakia

5/4-5/5: Wings over Illawarra, Wollongong

NSW, Australia, admin@wingsoverillawarra.com.au

5/5-5/5: Abingdon Air & Country Show,

Abingdon, England

5/5-5/5: Shuttleworth Season Premiere

Airshow, Old Warden, England, enquiries@

shuttleworth.org, shuttleworth.org

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,

Russia, info@mil.ru

5/10-5/11: Battlefields Fly In, Battlefields,

South Africa, gm@battlefields.co.za, 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, contact@airexpo.org, airexpo.


5/11-5/11: Estrella Warbirds, Wings &

Wheels, Paso Robles, CA, (805) 238-9317,

peterv@ewarbirds.org, ewarbirds.org

5/11-5/12: JB Andrews Airshow, JB

Andrews, MD, Jet: BA/tb/a10, (240) 612-

4428, usaf.jbanafw.afdw-staff.mbx.11-

wg-pa@mail.mil, andrewsairshow.org

5/11-5/12: Chennault Interrnational

Airshow, Lake Charles, LA, Jet:F16, info@

chennaultairshow.com, chennaultairshow.


5/16-5/17: Heli Russia 2019, Moscow,

Russia, fedor@helirussia.ru, 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@

dsa.cz, helicoptershow.cz

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,

England, enquiries@shuttleworth.

org, shuttleworth.org

5/18-5/18: Stow Maries Wings and

Wheels, Stow Maries, England, info@

stowmaries.org.uk, stowmaries.org.








Rick ‘Sarge’ Myers – Pyrotechnician


email: firewalkerspyro@aol.com


An airshow without pyro is just another fly-in



Rick ‘Sarge’ Myers – Pyrotechnician


email: firewalkerspyro@aol.com


An airshow without pyro is just another fly-in

Parachute Shop

Saving Lives Since 1973


Don Mayer

Master Parachute Rigger

FAA Designated Rigger Examiner

Pepperell Airport

165 Nashua Road, Pepperell, MA 01463 USA

(978) 433-8550, Toll Free 1-800-USA-CHUTE (872-2488)



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

Bourke).... 19

Figure 1 Foundation (Rumble Bee) .....17

Faux Shizzle Motor Skilz............ 53

Firewalkers International Pyrotechnics . .65


Franklin’s Flying


Circus ...............11


Free Gary Man Rower Airshows (Bob ................59

Freeman)... 43

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

Tinstix .............................43





Rodeo (“Jive”Kirby)


. ...... 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

tell anybody.”

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

and gold.

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

ops jet).

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

daily basis.

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 life.

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

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