2013 USAF Thunderbirds Schedule

airshow, aviation, Flying Is Fun

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Mar 16-17 Luke AFB, AZ
Mar 23-24 Titusville, FL
Apr 13-14 Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Apr 20-21 Fort Lauderdale, FL
May 4-5 JB Langley-Eustis, VA
May 11-12 Martinsburg, WV
May 18-19 Fairchild AFB, OK
May 25-26 Jones Beach, NY
May 29 USAF Academy, CO
Jun 1-2 Rochester, NY
Jun 8 JB Charleston, SC
Jun 15-16 Ypsilanti, MI
Jun 22-23 Dayton, OH
Jun 29-30 Myrtle Beach, SC
Jul 6-7 Battle Creek, MI
Jul 20-21 Kalispell, MT
Jul 24 Cheyenne, WY
Jul 31 Oshkosh, WI
Aug 3-4 Milwaukee WI
Aug 10-11 Burlington, VT
Aug 17-18 Chicago, IL
Aug 22-30 PACAF/Asia Tour
Oct 12-13 Rome, GA
Oct 19-20 Cocoa Beach, FL
Oct 26-27 Houston, TX
Nov 2-3 JB San Antonio-Randolph, TX
Nov 9-10 Nellis AFB, NV

2013 Blue Angels Schedule

airshow, aviation, Flying Is Fun

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Mar 16-17 NAF El Centro, CA
Mar 23-24 Key West, FL
Apr 6-7 MacDill AFB, FL
Apr 13-14 NAS Corpus Cristi, TX
Apr 20-21 Vidalia, GA
Apr 27-28 Beaufort, SC
May 4-5 Barksdale AFB, LA
May 11-12 Jackson, MS
May 18-19 Seymour Johnson AFB, SC
May 25-26 Lynchburg, VA
Jun 1-2 Rockford, IL
Jun 14-16 Indianapolis, IN
Jun 21-23 Bagotville, QC, Canada
Jun 29-30 North Kingstown, RI
Jul 5-7 Evansville, IN
Jul 13 Pensacola Beach, FL
Jul 20-21 St. Cloud, MN
Jul 26-28 Hillsboro, OR
Aug 2-4 Seattle, WA
Aug 10-11 Fargo, ND
Aug 24-25 Kansas City, MO
Aug 31 – Sep 1 Patuxent River, MD
Sep 7-8 Eau Claire, WI
Sep 14-15 Brunswick, ME
Sep 19-21 Virginia Beach, VA
Sep 28-29 NAS Pt. Mugu, CA
Oct 4-6 San Diego, CA
Oct 12-13 San Francisco, CA
Oct 19-20 Fort Worth, TX
Oct 26-27 NAS Jacksonville, FL
Nov 1-2 NAS Pensacola, FL

Viva Las Vegas

aviation, Flying Is Fun, Travel

Counting down the days until I fly down to Las Vegas for the International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) meetings.  It’s my first time to the biggest event of it’s kind bringing performers, coordinators and support providers.

Now of course a trip to Lost Wages can’t be all work.  Saturday night I’m off to see Penn & Teller and early Sunday I board a helicopter for a Grand Canyon trip.  Monday and Wednesday are seminars and in between I’ll be manning the booth for the Jet Aircraft Museum.

The ride

aviation, Flying Is Fun, fun

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Finally got the video back from my ride in the Jet Aircraft Museum T-33 back in June.  Took a while, for a number of reasons, but now I have some video memories to keep.

I’ve posted the forward facing view on YouTube but will hold off on the one that shows me in the backseat – it’s pretty boring.  Thanks to Paul, David and the crew at Fliteline Services for strapping me in and sending me off for the ride of a lifetime.

Home again

aviation, Flying Is Fun, photo, Travel

Another Swiss trip in the books. 18 of them so far.

Highlight had to be plane spotting at Zurich airport. Singapore Airlines A380 doing the “Kloten Roll”. Just pure luck.

ZRH is world famous for its friendliness to plane spotters. Holes in fences to put the camera lens through dot the perimeter fences. This shot of United on rotation was taken from the “Heliport Grill”.

 

A not so hidden agenda

airshow, aviation, aviation history, Flying Is Fun, politics

Congressman Michael Turner from Ohio has proposed an amendment to the House National Defense Authorization Act that would bar the Department of Defense in the US from loaning or gifting any US military aircraft or parts if they would be used in flight operations.  Any gifts or loans would only be allowed for static displays in museums.

What would this mean?  Aircraft like “FiFi” , the only flyable B-29 Superfortress shown above in the skies over Florida last month, would be grounded.  Forever.  Flown and maintained by the Commemorative Air Force, FiFi and pieces of flying history like her would never be enjoyed by the public in their natural habitat again.  Instead they would be hanger queens.  The CAF has launched a campaign to bring this to the public’s attention to raise objections to the amendment.

Representative Turner is a former mayor of Dayton Ohio which just happens to house the National Museum of the United States Air Force.  FiFi would make a wonderful exhibit.

Apparently, Representative Turner doesn’t want children given the opportunity to be inspired by the only flying example of the aircraft that ended World War II,” said CAF President/CEO Stephan Brown. “The Queen of the CAF Fleet and the world’s only flying B-29, FIFI is possessed by the CAF as a ‘Conditional Donation’ from the NMUSAF. This means that the airplane is permanently ours as long as we meet certain conditions of care for the airplane. We also have a subsequent agreement to allow the CAF to conduct flight operations with FIFI – and so we have for nearly 40 years. The only way the NMUSAF could ground FIFI is if the law were changed such that it make it illegal to fly her and Representative Turner hopes to change the law to do just that!

From across the border this looks like a pretty blatant attempt by a lawmaker to protect a major constituent by denying thousands of airshow enthusiasts the opportunity to see history on the wing.

Sun ‘n Fun recap

airshow, aviation, Flying Is Fun, photo

Been back home for a few days and it’s time to give my impressions of Sun ‘n Fun 2012.  The Aeroshell team in their T-6 Texans starts us off.

Fun ‘n Sun is the 2nd largest aviation fly-in in North America and perhaps the world.  About 1/2 the size of Oshkosh according to John “Lites” Leenhouts, president and CEO.  2012 marked the 38th year of SnF and follows on last year’s tornado marred event where a number of aircraft and exhibits were damaged or destroyed.  Luckily the weather this year was much better.

I arrived right at the opening on Tuesday with online ticket in hand.  I had splurged for their exclusive VIP ticket called the “9/27 Circle” that came with special parking.  Unfortunately no one had told the rent-a-cop on the gate so I had an hour of BS to go through before it was straightened out. 

Note #1 to Sun ‘n Fun – get that taken care of for next year.  At the price you charge, it should go much, much smoother.

Without a doubt FIFI was the star of this year’s show.  The B28 lovingly restored by the Commemorative Air Force is the only example of her type still flying.  Majestic like you wouldn’t believe.  When FIFI flies overhead, everything stops.

 

Even got to see a couple of friends perform.  On the left, Jane Wicker and her Stearman and on the right, Dan Marcotte in his Ultimate 10-200 biplane.  I’ve met both at NECAS meetings but this was the first time I got to see their shows live.  Very impressive.

The VIP tent was right along the showline but the sightlines to watch low-level performers were terrible due to the aircraft parking right in front of the seating.  High level work was very visible and both cameras got a good workout.  Some examples:

There was also lots going on all around the grounds on static display and in the fly-in parking and camping areas.

Will I go again?  Probably but I don’t think I’ll be shelling out for the VIP package.  Of course, that means I wouldn’t get spoiled by Nan.

Nan took such good care of me all week that I probably will at least investigate the 9/27 Circle cost for 2013.

Sun ‘n Fun 2012

airshow, aviation, Flying Is Fun, fun, photo, Sun 'n Fun

Just over a week to go until the airshow season gets a very early start. Sun ‘n Fun 2012 starts on March 27 at Lakeland Florida.  First time for this show which ranks second only to Oshkosh as the largest fly-in event in North America.

Sun ‘n Fun has an impressive roster of performers including the Thunderbirds (above shot from Thunder of Niagara 2011), Rob Holland, Black Diamond Jet Team, Michael Wiskus and others.  Airshows every day!

The only dark cloud on the horizon is the ongoing labor dispute between Air Canada and its pilots.  With legislation preventing a strike or lockout, both sides are playing games with each other. 

The future arrives with flexed wings

aviation history, Flying Is Fun, photo

The future of air travel arrived in Toronto on Thursday afternoon at about 1:40pm.  To the delight of hundreds lining the perimeter fence, Boeing and Air Canada brought the 787 Dreamliner to Pearson International Airport.  AC is scheduled to take possession of over 30 787’s in the next few years and Boeing flew in to show off the airplane and help celebrate Air Canada’s 75th birthday.

Even at this distance the 787 is so quiet that you could hold a normal conversation.  Yes I know the engines are near idle but compared to the 737-700 that proceeded it, this is one quiet airplane.

I’m incredibly lucky to be able to say that I’ve seen 2 Dreamliners.  The first was 001 (above) that dropped into AirVenture Oshkosh last year.  001 has now been retired to the desert where she’ll wait to take her place as a museum piece.  003 remains in Toronto until tomorrow (Sunday March 4) when she flies off to Boston to continue the “Dream Tour”.

I’ll be at the airport early tomorrow to try for departure shots.  It will probably be at least a year if not two before we see another 787 in Toronto

Thanks Boeing.  Thanks Air Canada.