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

Tico 2014 Warbird Airshow Photo Review
Warbirds at Space Coast Regional Airport, Titusville, FL - March 14-16, 2014  

This is now the third year in a row that I have made the 1,000 mile one way trip in March to experience the Tico Warbird Airshow.  In total I have been to the event six times since 2000.  During the long winter months of cold and snow, of which there was more than enough to go around during the winter of 2013-2014 in Central Indiana, thinking about the sounds of round engines sitting in the late winter sun at Tico gives me something to look forward to.  But on the other hand, there is the long trip and to a large extent the show is somewhat a repeat of itself each year.  But then all airshows have that problem.  There are only so many warbirds available and the cost of operating them is rising.

Tico is still one of the few remaining shows in the country that features warbirds and considers itself to be a warbird show.  And while all shows today are struggling with the raising costs of bringing  warbirds in, the Valiant Air Command (VAC) gives the enthusiast a good two hours plus of warbird flying of the four hour long flying portion of the show.  Due to the efforts of the VAC airshow committee and air boss Ralph Royce (R-Squared), the audience always gets lots of passes from the warbirds.

This year there were at least five aircraft flying in the T-6, T-28 and T-34 routines.  On hand and doing a lot of flying each day were SB2C, F4U, P-51, (2) B-25s, F-104, A-4, C-45 and C-47.  This is the only show that features the A-4 and F-104 on a yearly basis.  Matt Younkin was featured in his C-45 as were the Geico Skytypers and the Twin Tiger Aerobatic Team (Walkabout) in their Yak-55s.  Gene McNeely did a sole aerobatic routine in his T-6 while Jim Tobul did one in the F4U, and Doug Matthews did the same in his P-51.

While the actual number of warbirds is important, even more important is the presentation to the crowd.  The show is set up with sufficient time for lots of passes which R-Squared then takes advantage of in his running of the show to make for a great afternoon of warbird experience.

Most of the photos are from Saturday and a few from Sunday.  Only Sunday's will be identified.


This was taken from the parking lot and is Doug Matthews landing in his P-51.


This is the first photo inside the gates and shows the "traffic jam" at the throat to the hot ramp or the pits.  Arriving all at once was B-25 "Killer Bee" and three T-28s.  One of two Sky Soldier Hueys is out giving rides before the show.  I would take up position behind the orange Yak-55 along the crowd line so I could enjoy not only the airshow flying but the aircraft start-up movement of the warbirds in and out of the ramp area during the show.  This allows me to not only watch the show but more importantly experience it.  The Falcon on the left is the support crew aircraft for the F-104. 


My spot for the weekend.  Due to construction on the airport the six foot tall cyclone fence that used to be here was down.  With just the snow fence to replace it I did not have to shot photos through the fence as previously.  Now those of us down here had clear shots.  The taxiway that the aircraft are parked on goes back at a 45degree angle in reference to runway 9-27 that is the show line.  Also this year the show did not run the speaker line all the way down to the west end, leaving those of us that did not want to hear the narrator blab all day and be able to enjoy the sounds of the engines without interference.


The food vendor line.  Anymore going to an airshow one sees the same white tents belonging to one of several national concession firms that work the airshows.  Normally the variety is restricted as to what you can eat as after several tents the food choices start to repeat.  Not at Tico.    There were no repeats here as the show uses local vendors to provide a large variety of food.


One can even purchase some Hot Wisconsin Cheese at Tico.


The same goes for the novelty tents that have various aviation items to purchase and veterans' selling their books.  Missing were any Tuskegee Airmen that the show was supposedly honoring.  Normally they are set up in a tent like one of these to sign autographs.  I have read they were on the field but I never saw them.


On static only was the C-46 "Tinker Belle".


The Sky Soldiers for the past several years have done a brisk business in giving helicopter rides in their Hueycobras and Hueys.  Here the AH-1 is just landing after a ride.


This was one of two Hueys giving rides, which continue even during the flying portion of the show.


Here the Cobra lifts off.


The Cobra returns Sunday morning coming down the runway from the west and the area of I-95.  In the front seat is a female in a pink top. 


At the end of the crowd line the pulls up into climbing bank to slow down and set up for landing.


The first flag jump of the year performed by the Leap Dogs.  Actually the sound of the National Anthem did carry all the way down to the west end.


Jet cars or trucks are pretty much standard fare at most airshows anymore.  Here Jerry McCart in "Wicked Willy" burns three gallons of jet fuel with an afterburner burst.


After about an hour of several miscellaneous acts the warbird portion of the show really got going at about 1:40 with the Geico Skytypers.  It would continue until almost 5:00 with the Missing Man formation.


Location is everything.  From my vantage point at the west end of the line I could watch and hear Jim Tobul warm up his Corsair.  This was happening as the Skytypers were still in the middle of their act.


This calls for a time out.  Mrs. Walkabout is making her point known to Mr. Walkabout while a rare Corsair is taxiing by her.  By default and definition, she will win the argument or get what she wants in the end anyway.  She needs to back off and soak up the the sounds of the R-2800 moving by her.


The finale to the Geico Skytypers as they do a slow spread over the crowd.


The Geico Skytypers taxiing back into the pits in tight formation.


It appears Mrs. Walkabout has won her argument as predicted and has now realized the error of her ways, and is listening to the R-2600 engine in the world's only flying Curtiss SB2C Helldiver as it moves out to the active runway.  There is a lot going on in the pits as one of the aircraft is being serviced by the oil crew.


Jim Tobul setting up for a photo pass.  R-Squared is the one figure standing on the top of the scaffolding directing the air operations.


The Corsair and the Helldiver did some Navy flights for the crowd with this formation pass.


Then it was time for the bomber passes, with the two B-25s and the Helldiver.  The P-51 provided fighter support.


"Killer Bee" down low.


Here the Valiant Air Command's C-47 "Tico Belle" is taxiing out with a load of airborne re-enactors. 


Jim Tobul is right behind coming back down the taxiway after his routine.


With all the action R-Squared and the VAC have for the crowd it is hard to figure out where to look or aim the camera.  As the Corsair taxies in "Panchito" flies in front of the crowd with the P-51 on downwind portion of the racetrack pattern.


The Helldiver is right behind the B-25s.


B-25 "Panchito".  If a show can only afford two B-25s, then "Panchito" and "Killer Bee" are the two to have as they both give great airshow passes.


Just as "Tico Belle" lifts off one can see the airborne re-enactors in the seats through the windows.


R-Squared keeps the Mustang in front of the crowd as the bombers land.


There are plenty of photo opportunities as the warbirds taxi back in.


This is new to my experience at Tico; a re-enactor airborne drop using military type chutes hooked to a static line.  Here the first trooper's chute is just opening as the second jumper comes out the door. 


I count five jumpers here.  In total there were at least a dozen that came out of the C-47.


With no steering ability you land where you land.


I hope the show continues with this as this is the most impressive re-enactor drop I have seen.  A great addition to the show.


The pyro team in the background watches as the re-enactors work together to get the air out of the chutes.


This is a Sunday photo.  The winds all day were about 15 knots with gusts up to 28 knots directly from the south, which was too much for the Airborne Re-enactors to safely jump in the show.  Here is one group driving around among the crowd in a jeep with full gear still on.


Now the T-28s taxi behind and beside me to get to active runway 9.


Doug Matthews has become are regular warbird aerobatic performer at the show each year.  This year he was there in his Mustang.  Previously he has been there with his Corsair and T-33.  He now has an F-86 that hopefully he will bring in the future.


Overhead the T-6s and a C-45 are giving the crowd multiple formation passes.


The Skyraider is from the Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addison, TX, just north of Dallas.  This is the first time I have seen this aircraft fly, and the first Skyraider to fly at the Tico show in many years.  A great addition.


Flying a couple of hundred feet below the T-6s and the C-45 the T-34 formation passes by.


Gene McNeely of does a solo T-6 aerobatic routine as the rest of the T-6 and the T-34 groups taxi back in front of the crowd.  Once again air boss keeps things moving along to avoid the dreaded "dead air time".


Once Gene is done R-Squared launches the T-28s and Skyraider.


Both days the T-28's and Skyraider flew in trail doing strafing runs and bombing passes with pyro.  Not every pass was a pyro run but in listening to R-Squared on the aviation scanner, I was able to hear when he called out for an explosion from the pyro crew.  With the exception of the photo sequence below, I as not able to get both aircraft and pyro in the same frame.


This and the following three photos are from Sunday.  Note the start of the Tico wall of fire as the Skyraider passes overhead.


The Skyraider on final approach.


Five T-28s and the Skyraider come back down the taxiway to the pits.  One is looking east and back a few miles beyond the trees is the Kennedy Space Center.


The Walkabouts in their Yak-55s finish up the second of two routines for the afternoon with the cross-control formation.  Although I only have room for one photo of them, I was very impressed by the flying routines.


Here Matt Younkin in his 1943 C-45 comes in low over the VAC's Vietnam era display hangar.  This is the second year in a row Matt has performed at Tico.


Again, being stationing one's self at the west end of the crowd line, one can experience the high pitched whine not only of the A-4 but the power cart to spool up the aircraft's engine.  Here one of the ground crew is making final checks.


Meanwhile Matt Younkin sets up for his photo pass as R-Squared is enjoying the routine from a sitting position.


The A-4 turns east to be able to go down and use the longer runway 18.


Opps!!! It looks like when the A-4 pilot turned into the landing pattern to runway 18 he forgot to retract his tailhook. 


There is normally one solo run for a jet vehicle and then a race between it and an aerobatic aircraft  The aircraft has an air start and the vehicle starts from a standstill.  In this case the jet car gave the Paul Schulten in his Christen Eagle a 200 yard head start and is just ready to overtake it.


Note the drag shoot just starting to deploy on the jet car.  Time to get stopped!


The F-104 from the "Starfighters" rotates on runway 18.


The F-104 with some nice late winter Florida clouds in the background.


The Missing Man that concluded the show consisted of these four T-28s.


Where else can you go and not only see a rare Lockheed F-104 fly, but then taxi in front of you?  Only at Tico on a yearly basis.


After the show on the way out I took some photos of the static aircraft.


At the end of the day there is still a line for helicopter rides. 


This CH-46 belongs to the State Department and is stationed at Patrick AFB, about 20 miles to the south.  The State Department runs a "not so clandestine" anti-drug operation out of Patrick in Columbia.


This OV-10D used to be part of that same operation and was used a sprayer until 2010 when the Broncos were sold off.  This one now belongs to the Valiant Air Command Museum.  Several others when to Cal Fire to be used as forward air controllers in fighting forest fires in California.


The VAC does excellent restorations as seen here in this F-4 Phantom from its collection.


When I visited the museum in July 2012, there was some limited activity to get this Grumman Tracker flying again by the VAC.  I do not think anything became of it.  It used to fly in the shows many years ago.


This group of Cessna O-2s were one of three different types of former military aircraft I saw in storage around the airport.  I was sort amused when I passed by these aircraft on the way in Sunday morning and one of the persons from the show told us not get too close to them because they were "top secret" aircraft.



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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