Warbirds and Airshows
By David D Jackson

    Home   Indiana Museums   Indiana Tanks on Outside Display   The Beginning    Revisions   First Flight of P-38F Glacier Girl  
USS Theodore Roosevelt    WWII Aircraft Manufacturing Sites    Gateguards
 2007 Airshows   2008 Airshows  22009 Airshows   2010 Airshows    2011 Airshows    2012 Airshows   2013 Airshows   2014 Airshows   2015 Airshows   2016 Airshows
Aviation Museums of the Pacific Northwest
   Display Helicopter Locations   CAL FIRE   PV-2 Harpoon Photos     F6F Hellcat Photos
   Warbird Sightings   WWII US Air-Air Victories   Guest Photos    Indiana Warbirds   Featured Photos  Other Items   Links

Historic Sites   Historic Forts   Historic Texas Independence Sites   Pre-Historic Sites   Historic Manhattan Project Sites   GM Heritage Center
 

 

 

 2013 Airshows
Titusville (Tico), FL   NAS Key West, FL   Chino, CA   Indy 500 Fly-Over   Reading, PA WWII Weekend   CWH Show, Hamilton, ONT   Dayton, OH   Muncie, IN   Topeka, KS   Purdue University, IN   Thunder over Michigan, Belleville, MI   Hillsdale, MI   Marion, IN   Waukegan, IL   Glendale Airport, Kokomo, IN   Rome, GA   Peachtree City, GA   Houston, TX   Urbana, OH B-25 Gathering   B-25 Doolittle Memorial Fly-over at Dayton, OH

Wings over Houston Warbird Photo Review
Warbirds at Ellington Field, Houston, TX - October 26-27, 2013

  2009 was the only previous time I had been to the Wings over Houston Airshow but my memories of it were good as I remembered it being an excellent warbird show.  I would have come back sooner but Houston is a long trip from home and outside of my normal driving radius.  But for 2013 I decided to return and to make the trip more than just an airshow trip I made stops to historical sites and museums in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, LA and Vicksburg, MS.  But the final destination and the main reason for the trip was the 29th annual Wings over Houston Airshow.

The long drive both ways and the many nights in hotels were worth it as the show was as I remembered it with lots of quality warbird flying.  And I was pleasantly surprised by not only the large crowds but their enthusiasm.  It was good to see that the residents of Houston like to come out to the show and enjoy the warbirds and other acts.  And the show itself for me was like coming home.  When I got involved with helping to produce airshows over 30 years ago I was a member of the CAF and we did what were called "Airpower Demonstration" type shows which were originally developed by the CAF many years ago when it was headquartered down in Harlingen, TX, which is where I first saw it.  To do a proper "Airpower Demonstration" the show needs not only a lot warbirds but the proper ones.  The Demonstration starts with a full blown Tora Attack with pyro, B-17 "Texas Raiders" and a P-40.  After the simulated bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Tora group the show scenario puts up a lot of trainers to show how the US during WWII had to train all the pilots needed to fight the new aerial war.  But most of all the show needs fighters and bombers, and Houston had an excellent group to show the actual fighting aircraft in the air.  It was good for me to see this again and I enjoyed it so much I am working out a plan to return in 2014.

Unfortunately in order to keep this review to an acceptable size I can not show all the warbirds that participate, but will be attempting to show the flavor of the event.


Sometimes getting through the gate to buy a ticket is the hardest part of the event.  Actually I was somewhat amused as I drove into the parking lot before the scheduled 8am gate opening as I could see that the parking crews were not ready.  Yes, the gates open at eight but they need to be ready before that because some of us enthusiasts like to get there early.  So those of us that got there early parked where we wanted, not necessarily where the show wanted us to.  This photo was taken at about 8:20 and the gates have not opened yet.  It turns out that the group responsible for doing the security did not show up until just about this time as I could see some persons in uniforms setting up tables and finally the gates opened.  But the key thing is that many of the persons standing in line are families with small children.  There is even a mother with a small child in a stroller.  I was pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm and the high percentage of families that came out.


Saturday:  Most of the photos shown below are from Saturday for a couple of reasons.  First, I normally take photos on the first day and then spend more time on the second just watching the show.  Also, it rained on Sunday which almost caused the show to be cancelled for the day but there are some photos from that day with a little different prospective.


Above I noted to due the classic CAF warbird show one needs fighters and bombers.  While those way down at the north end can not readily be seen there is the B-29, two F8Fs, B-25, F7F, B-24A, and B-17.


Here there are four P-51s, P-40 and two C-45s.


 "Last Samurai", an A6M2 Model 21 Zero belonging to the Texas Legends Flying Museum.  One of the reasons Houston can do such a great warbird show is that this museum is on the field that owns 11 warbirds, the Lonestar Flight Museum is currently just a few miles south at Galveston and has a hangar under construction at Ellington field for a move here, and the CAF B-17 "Texas Raiders" and Tora Group call Houston home.  The Collings Foundation also has an operation field and had its aircraft on static display.  Add Airboss Ralph Royce who has been doing CAF shows for about as long as I have and one has the perfect combination for a great show.


The show opening Flag Jump.


Currently the Texas Flying Legends Museum sponsors the CAF's "Rise Above" exhibit that comes with the P-51C.  Here Doug Rozendaal taxies by the crowd before his aerobatic demo.


"Fifi" takes off on a ride flight.


Every show has to have its jet truck and "Shockwave" with three jet engines was on hand this year..


One of the great features of "Wings over Houston" is that all the aircraft taxi right in front of the crowd.  Here one of the Grumman F7F Tigercats owned by Rod Lewis in San Antonio, TX taxis by before its demo.  Note that "Shockwave" has finished its run and is coming back into the ramp.


Time for the warbird show which started about 12:30 with the P-51C demo.


The Tigercat put on a great aerobatic routine also. 


What cannot be conveyed here is the great sound of the two Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engines as the F7F put on its performance.


The B-29 has returned from its ride flight and taxis back in front of the crowd.  I am not sure who was important enough to be able to park their car on the taxiway.  Its bad enough having to photograph around the speakers let alone have a car out there.  Way down at the end of the taxiway a military convoy of re-enactors is coming out for the next act.

 
F7F Tigercat photo pass.


One of the two P-40s on at the show gets ready for the next act.


The re-enactors are in place as the F7F taxies back in. 


Everyone's attention is shifted to the north as unidentified aircraft approach the airshow.


Here we go!  Tora, Tora, Tora!!


Note the white bags filled with gasoline in the grass.  Also note that the grass looks sort of dry.

 
B-17 "Texas Raiders" has always been part of the Tora act representing the flight of B-17s arriving at Hickam Field on December 7, 1941.  Note that both main landing gears are down.


The grass had caught fire resulting in a lot of smoke.  The aircraft are not flying through the smoke as it is to the west of them and between the crowd line and the runway.  I am photographing the aircraft through the smoke.


"Texas Raiders" on this pass has one gear down to represent that many of the B-17s had to crash land at Oahu during the Pearl Harbor attack.  Years ago it would actually fly down the runway with the one wheel on the ground, but that was stopped for safety reasons about 25 years ago.


If the grass fires are small the pyro crew can sometimes put them out with rakes and brooms.  Not today as the pyro crew person here is getting help from fire apparatus from the Texas Air National Guard.


A Tora Zero does a photo pass.


The pyro crew person is making a valiant effort with his rake.  Note the grass is now black.


Next up was B-25 "Special Delivery" from the Lonestar Flight Museum doing the Doolittle re-enactment.


Next up were the trainer and liaison fly-bys, represented here by this nice formation of T-6s.


I have about an hour's flight time in this Cessna T-50.  Several years ago it was part of a CAF unit in Ohio I was a member of and I was allowed to take the controls on trip to a show in West Virginia.


This BT-13 belonging to the CAF was also one of the many trainers involved.


There are a lot of things happen here.  The Curtiss SB2C is coming around the corner for photo pass during the navy section of the show as two Mustangs from the Texas Flying Legends Museum taxi in front of the crowd.  In the background two of the Texans from the trainer fly-by taxi back in.  The navy flight consisted of SB2C, (2) F8Fs, F7F, F4U, TBM and FM-2.

 
F7F photo pass.


 One of the two Bearcats that were at the show. 


Next up was the Texas Flying Legends which had its own allotted time.  Flying here in its opening formation is B-25, (2) P-51s, P-40, F4U and A6M2.


Just after the flyover this Corsair from the navy flight taxied in front of the crowd.


Here the Zero is chasing the B-25.  The two aircraft made several passes as the Zero attempted to "shoot down" the Mitchell.


Time for some photo passes.  I am not sure whether it is just me but at Houston the parents seem to be more willing to put their children on their shoulders so they can see the show.  I think this is great so the children can see all the great action and want to come back again in the future.


As the Corsair from the Texas Flying Legends taxies back in B-17 "Texas Raiders" takes off for the second time in the show.


Next into the air was the B-24A "Diamond Lil" as the Corsair demonstrates its wing fold.  The heavies are taking off for the European Theatre portion of the show.


This great looking C-45 was part of the European Theatre aircraft.


In addition to the B-17, B-24 and C-45 the B-25 Special Delivery also flew for a second time to be part of the show.  Here she starts her fly-by with the C-45 behind turning the corner.  The Texas Flying Legends B-25 and A6M2 have just taxied by my location.  The Zero did an aerobatic routine which I document in my Sunday portion below.


B-24A "Diamond Lil" making her photo pass.


B-17 photo pass, again obscured by more pyro smoke.


The next to last act in the Air Power Demonstration was the B-29A "Fifi" and her fighter escort.


This photo was taken at 3:20, almost three hours after the start of the warbird section.  But there was still more warbird flying beyond this as there was a T-33 and Mig-17 yet to fly along with Matt Younkin in his C-45.  The jets will be covered in the Sunday portion below.


In 1943 this very same C-45 that Matt Younkin is flying was stationed right here at Ellington Field as a crew trainer.  This is Matt's first performance at Ellington so 70 years after serving with at this location the airplane has come home.


But I'll bet they never did any rolls on take-off with it in 1943 when it was here!




Matt was the show closer.  What a way to end the show. 


Sunday:  The morning started out with a violent rainstorm and when I arrived at the airport around 9:00 I the gates were closed and it looked like there was no one from the airshow there.  In talking with someone at the gate I was informed the gates would open at 10:00.  There had been some consideration of cancelling the show but Airboss looked at the same weather radar I did and saw that the rain would be out of the area about noon and even though it was raining spectators were arriving at the gate trying to get in respectable numbers.  I sat in my vehicle until about until 11:30 as there was still a light rain or mist until that time and I was in no hurry to get in.  But as I sat there I watched this steady stream of Houston airshow fans walk by me with their families in ponchos, rain coats, or maybe no rain gear at all as they all headed into the show.  I was amazed that there would be so many of them with the way the weather was.

Once did go in I set up behind the crowd so I could get some crowd shots.  Typically for me Saturday is photo shoot day and Sunday is watch the show day with few photos that might be different.  The show started about 30-45 minutes later than Saturday and several acts were eliminated and some moved around. One that was moved to the second act was the A6M2 Zero Aerobatic routine.  Tora was just some fly-bys and photo passes as the while on Saturday the pyro field was dry and burned, after the rainstorm on Sunday morning it was too wet to safely use.  The sound system was down due to the rain until after 1:00 PM.


Warren Pietsch flies the Zero and likes to get down low.  Here a father is holding his child up so he/she can see this great low pass by Warren.


The Tigercat again did its aerobatic routine and here the crowd watches as it turns in for the photo pass.  There was still a pretty good sized crowd considering it was Sunday and it had rained earlier.


The crowd on Sunday while not as big as Saturday but it was just as enthusiastic as they wave and clap for Warren Pietsch as he waves to it.


The rain came and went as did the rain gear but most of the crowd stayed the day.


On Sunday the Lodestar flew.


On Sunday we got more bank on the B-24A photo pass.




For Sunday's B-29 formation fly-by a P-40 was added.


 


The T-33 gave us some high speed passes both days.


Randy Ball performed both days with his Mig-17.  I was hoping that Sunday I would get a better afterburner trail but it was starting to clear up.


Wouldn't you know it?  The show is over and this C-45 is taxiing out to leave and there is hardly a cloud in the sky.  Just as Matt Younkin was finishing his act at the end of the show the sun came out.

Titusville (Tico), FL   NAS Key West, FL   Chino, CA   Indy 500 Fly-Over   Reading, PA WWII Weekend   CWH Show, Hamilton, ONT   Dayton, OH   Muncie, IN   Topeka, KS   Purdue University, IN   Thunder over Michigan, Belleville, MI   Hillsdale, MI   Marion, IN   Waukegan, IL   Glendale Airport, Kokomo, IN   Rome, GA   Peachtree City, GA   Houston, TX   Urbana, OH B-25 Gathering   B-25 Doolittle Memorial Fly-over at Dayton, OH
 

 


 
Home  Indiana Museums    Indiana Tanks on Outside Display   The Beginning    Revisions   First Flight of P-38F Glacier Girl  
USS Theodore Roosevelt    WWII Aircraft Manufacturing Sites    Gateguards
 2007 Airshows   2008 Airshows  22009 Airshows   2010 Airshows    2011 Airshows    2012 Airshows   2013 Airshows   2014 Airshows    2015 Airshows  2016 Airshows  
Aviation Museums of the Pacific Northwest
   Display Helicopter Locations   CAL FIRE   PV-2 Harpoon Photos     F6F Hellcat Photos
   Warbird Sightings   WWII US Air-Air Victories   Guest Photos    Indiana Warbirds   Featured Photos  Other Items   Links

Historic Sites   Historic Forts   Historic Texas Independence Sites   Pre-Historic Sites   Historic Manhattan Project Sites   GM Heritage Center


E-mail us at: 
Webmaster