Warbirds and Airshows
By David D Jackson

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 2014 Airshows
Titusville (Tico), FL   Spirit of St. Louis, MO   Youngstown Air Reserve Station, OH   Central Indiana Warbird Event Trilogy   Evansville Normandy Re-Enactment, IN   Dayton Airshow, OH  Warsaw, IN   Richmond, IN   WWI Dawn Patrol Rendezvous, Dayton, OH

Spirit of St. Louis Airshow Warbird Photo Review
Warbirds at Spirit of St. Louis Airport, Chesterfield, MO - May 3-4, 2014 - Photos taken Friday, May 2 and Saturday, May 3. 

  The last airshow at the Spirit of St. Louis Airport was in 2007.  I had no idea even after looking at the show's website as to how much the warbirds that were participating would fly, as that was just a bit vague.  I should not have given much thought as this event was a very pleasant surprise and a very well executed show.  For the most part, warbird fly-bys and aerobatic routines alternated, which I have not really seen done like this before.  This worked out really well in that the pace of the show kept changing.

I do not remember an airshow starting with fly-bys of a single warbird, which in this case was one of the St. Louis area based warbirds, Eric Downing's AD-5W Skyraider.  But it was unique and set the stage for all that followed. 

Announcer Phil Dacy is one of many regional airshow narrators that are found at shows throughout the country.  He lives in the Midwest and announces in the same area.  His narration of the warbirds and aerobatic routines was one of the reasons for the success of the show and the enjoyment of the crowd.  His enthusiasm was contagious.

This show only indicated on its website only two and half hours of flying, which in reality stretched to about two and three quarters when all was said and done.  In the era of shows that can in the end overload the audience with too much of everything and have the crowd leaving early because of boredom, this show was just the cure for that.  The crowd came to see the Blue Angels, and got to see just enough aerobatics and warbirds to satisfy but not overwhelm them before the Blues performed.  When I left during the Blue Angel routine to be able to get home somewhat early, there were still persons buying tickets and coming in the gate.  They were not leaving due to boredom with too much of a good thing.

Due to all the commercial aviation business on the field, the set up was somewhat different than usual.  Airshow center was at the west end of runway 26.  This was the only location that the show could be held, where there was parking and it would not interfere with the rest of the airport businesses.  While different, it worked out well.

Friday Afternoon Practice:  Friday was chilly and overcast.  Coats with a lining or a heavy sweatshirt were in order.  Some of the airshow set-up persons were in winter coats and gloves if they were driving a forklift or golf cart.  I expected to find a place outside the field to watch the practice show.  However, the gate to the volunteer parking was open and not secured so I went in.  No one challenged the several of us that were along the crowd line during the practice.  I set up west of airshow center.


 Fat Albert on the take-off! 




I would assume on Saturday and Sunday Fat Albert flew to the west of the crowd on this maneuver.


Blue Angel Number Six is flying the number 4 aircraft.  Blue Angel Number Four flew number 7 aircraft, the spare.  The solo pilots are at the west end of runway 26, which is airshow center.  They will depart to the east.


This is an unusual three ship Blue Angel formation with Blue Angel Number Four missing in aircraft number 7.  In monitoring the Blue Angels frequencies, I was able to determine he had a radio problem and went to a safe area to work out the problem.


Here Number Four has returned to the formation. 


At the end of the show the Blues are turning around at airshow center and the end of runway 26.

Friday Afternoon After the Practice:  


Located at the center of the airport is this F-101 on display.


B-17 "Aluminum Overcast" had been at the airport giving rides earlier in the day across the road from the F-101.  In the background are the Blue Angel aircraft.  All of the walk downs were done from here, not airshow center as usual.


My hotel was across the street from the airport on the north side.  About 5:30 I watched a Blue Angel aircraft take off.  I assumed this was Number 4 aircraft going for a maintenance check after being repaired.  I set up in the parking lot of the hotel and at 5:43 I was rewarded when it returned.


The weather had warmed up and the sun had come out.

 

Saturday Airshow:  After some early morning clouds the day was clear and warming up nicely when the gates opened.



In walking to the entrance it was hard to miss the C-54 and its new paint job.  It was the first aircraft I visited in the warbird display area.


In talking with Tim Chopp, President of the Berlin Airlift Historical Group that owns the the "Spirit of Freedom", I was told that he and the crew picked the aircraft up Friday morning from the paint shop in Arkansas.  This was the premier showing of the aircraft with its new paint.




The C-1A "Miss Belle" from Trader Air in Topeka, KS was on display.


John O'Conner from Chicago, IL had his F8F Bearcat on display also.  It would fly later in the day like many of the other warbirds in the static area.


A-26 "Lady Liberty" from Oklahoma City, OK came in for the show.


This L-17 came all the way from Prior Lake, MN and is owned by Richard Bihler and Paul Jachman.


This gleaming AT-6 is owned by Greg Vallero of nearby St. Charles, MO.


B-25 "Show Me" from the Missouri Wing of the CAF was set up so persons could view the cockpit.


The CAF also had its Corsair at the show.


Another Missouri Wing aircraft is its TBM.


Massive in size for a singe engine aircraft, Eric Downing's pristine AD-5W dwarfs the persons looking at it.


The Sky Soldiers from the Atlanta, GA area were on hand with two Hueys and two Cobras.  All gave rides and participated in the show.


There was sort of a traffic jam on the ramp as the medivac waits for the slick to depart with its passengers.


A Cobra comes in from a ride over the incoming vehicle traffic waiting to be parked.


 About the same time the B-17 prepares to land after taking up passengers.


"Aluminum Overcast" starts the long taxi up to the static area.




Boeing P-8A 167955 was on display.  This is the first of the new anti-submarine hunter aircraft I have seen.  No doubt Boeing, which has engineering and manufacturing facilities in the area, was able to influence the display of this aircraft at the show.


Show time!  Eric Downing's Skyraider starts to taxi out to start the show.


Taking off before the start of the show, the Skyraider was then able to make an air start to start the show.


Enthusiasm for the B-17 spans generations as granddaughter and grandfather, among others, watch B-17G "Aluminum Overcast" taxi out for its flying portion of the event.


Show time.  I have never seen a show open with fly-bys with a lone Skyraider, but I am not against seeing this again.  The Spirit of St. Louis Airshow was unique in my experience in having warbird fly-bys alternate with aerobatic acts.


The Skyraider lands as the B-17 and T-6 taxi out.


With the exception of the Bearcat, all of the warbirds landed and then taxied to the end of the runway, which again was airshow center.  This allowed the crowd to the east of show center to watch them as they taxied back in.


Up next was Patty Wagstaff.  Most of the photos that I took of her routine came out blurred.  However, I was able to capture her here doing a four point roll.  One can see her legs because of the light coming through the window she has in the bottom of the aircraft.  Patty's opening was dramatic and exciting as she used up the entire length of the runway to build up speed and hug the runway and then at airshow center did a snap roll, getting everyone's attention.  From there her act was off to the races as between her dynamic flying and announcer Phil Dacy's exciting commentary, she held the crowd's attention for the duration of her act.


Next up were more warbird fly-bys by the mixed group of B-17, T-6 and the CAF's SBD.  It was most pleasing to see B-17 "Aluminum Overcast" fly in the show.  I had assumed she would give her rides in the morning and then set out the show.  So this took me by surprise.  My compliments to both the EAA crew on the aircraft and the show for making this happen.  One of the many highlights of this event.


Each warbird did from three or four passes, which is just about right. Very well done.


While one group of aircraft are in the air, the next group needs to start up and taxi out to be ready on time.


The SBD was not in the static area and was over among some hangars, as it had a mechanical problem that luckily was taken care in time to fly in the show.


Here the warbirds taxi in front of the crowd after their portion of the flying is done.


Skip Stewart was up next.  His signature take-off is as seen here.  Just like with Patty's opening, this got the crowd's attention and kept it for his entire act.


A good airshow announcer can do so much to keep the crowd interested.  Phil Dacy is one of those.  Here we see as Skip buzzes the fairway on the golf course just to the south of the airport.  Phil had a great time announcing this and getting us all to stand up and watch this.  His comment that Skip would have to gain altitude to get to tree top level was particularly humorous, but true.


Here one can see Skip disappear behind a bunker on the course.


Next up, more warbird fly-bys.




Here pilot Jordan Brown taxies back in and is folding the wings for the crowd.


Next up were the Sky Soldiers and their downed helicopter rescue scenario.  The lead Huey takes ground fire and has to make an emergency landing.  The second Huey, with cover fire from the Cobras, rescues the downed crew.  This was another crowd pleaser with lots of action right in front of it.


Even though the B-25 is taxiing back in, the crowd is focused on the Sky Solder helicopter rescue.


The rescue Huey flares to land while the Cobras suppress ground fire.


The "crew" races to the safety of the second Huey.


This Cobra goes into a hard bank to get back on target.


The rescue UH-1 departs among the smoke.


 Next up was the dynamic Tinstix duo of Patty Wagstaff and Skip Stewart flying all over the sky in front of the crowd.  Here they do a pass in review at the end of their routine.


Last, but not least, of the warbird fly-bys, was John O'Connor in the his F8F Bearcat painted in Blue Angel colors.  The Bearcat was the last piston powered aircraft the Blues used before going to jets.  A nice touch and tribute by the airshow with the Blue Angels coming up next.


John was not able to taxi all the way to the end of the runway due to the final act behind him.  Here he waves as he taxis back into the ramp.


 "Fat Albert" opens the Blue Angel show.


It looks like there is a party going on in the driveway of this residence as they watch the show from there.


"Fat Albert" lands at the solo pilots await their turn to fly.


What's this???  Narrator Blue Angel Number 7, Lt. Ryan Chamberlain, has come off the narrator's stand and is narrating in front of the crowd in the grass.  I have never seen this!  But I like it.


With the jets taking off, I departed the show to beat the traffic and get home a decent hour. 

An excellently produced mixture of aerobatic, warbirds and the Blue Angels wrapped up in less than three hours of flying and all for twelve dollars and free parking!!  We need more shows like this one!!

Titusville (Tico), FL   Spirit of St. Louis, MO   Youngstown Air Reserve Station, OH   Central Indiana Warbird Event Trilogy   Evansville Normandy Re-Enactment, IN   Dayton Airshow, OH  Warsaw, IN   Richmond, IN   WWI Dawn Patrol Rendezvous, 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    2017 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


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