Warbirds and Airshows
By David D Jackson

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 2015 Airshows
Titusville (Tico), FL   Virginia Beach, VA   Seymour Johnson AFB, NC   Halls, TN   Warsaw, IN   B-29 Air Power Tour Fort Wayne, IN   Thunder over Michigan, Bellevue MI

Wings over Halls Warbird Photo Review
Warbirds at the Halls, TN Airshow 2015 - August 8, 2015

The Wings over Halls Airshow takes place at Arnold Field, which is named after a former mayor of the town and is located on what was during WWII Dyersburg Army Air Base (DAAB).  Even though Dyserburg is ten miles away, it is the larger of the two towns and the Army in its infinite wisdom named the base after it and utilized DAAB as a B-17 Combat Crew Training Base.  During its twenty seven months in operation DAAB trained over 1,000 B-17 crews using 72 aircraft stationed on the field.  Upon completion of the course the crews would get on a train at the station just east of the base, and then go to Nebraska to pick up their new B-17s that they would take to the combat zone.  During training at DAAB twenty three B-17s crashed resulting in the death of 114 trainees.



An aerial view of DAAB during WWII with north at the top..  Today only the ramp and the runways remain and only runway 18-36 on the right or east side of the photo is still active.  The runway in the front of the ramp is closed and was used at the 500 foot show line during the show.


Actually this building still remains which was used for the storage of the top secret Norden bombsight.


The Veterans' Museum is an 11,600 square foot building with many of the displays dedicated to the history of DAAB. With the museum on site and open during the show, one can do more than just watch airplanes fly.  One can spend some time in the museum and learn the history of the now closed base.


One of the many displays and hundreds of photos inside the building is this one which shows photos of twenty six of the crews that were trained at DAAB.


This is the newest section of the museum is dedicated to military hardware.  The Dodge ambulance in the back served in the European theater during WWII.


On Saturday morning I arrived just in time to see P-51 "Gunfighter" taxi in.


T-34s, a T-6, Yak-52s and two TBMs grace this line of warbirds.


Show Time!!! And as is usual at many shows there was the flag jump with the singing of the National Anthem to get things going.


What was unusual and something I had not seen before, is that the jumper landed in the corn field immediately in front of the crowd.  


The wind was out of the north and so to land into the wind he had to go into the corn.  If the wind had been out of the east or west I am not sure he had the room to safely land on the small strip of grass in front of the crowd.


What better way to open a show at the former B-17 base than with B-17 "Memphis Belle"?


The warbirds, including the B-17 throughout show, did their turn arounds at each end of the field, always in sight of the crowd.


There were both warbird and civilian aerobatics throughout the course of the two hour show.  Actually it was a one hour and fifty-six minute show.  I found this out in a half hour conversation Saturday night at the hotel with the Airboss. After getting seven minutes behind at the beginning of the show, he was able to get caught up and finish a little early.  The Airboss did an excellent job having the next act already in the air and ready to perform once the current one finished.  There was no "dead time" at Wings over Halls.  A very tight show!


George Kennedy has been flying the only aerobatic BT-13 on the airshow circuit for several years now.  While the narration changes on regular basis, the flying stays superb.


Typically Matt Younkin takes off and then does a roll on takeoff.  Due to the only runway being 18-36 he, like all the other pilots, needed to take off and the move into position.  With the high corn I missed many of the takeoffs as the cornfield absorbed the sound of the engines.


Matt came back around and made his entrance to the show in this manner.  So focused was I on his act that I was unaware of the persons marking his fly-in point.  He used the airshow narrator's and airboss stand as his second point.


P-51 "Gunfighter" did an aerobatic routine towards the end of the show with this unusual gear down pass. Normally Mustang routines like to go fast all of the time and keep the gear up.


Back again was the B-17 with the rest of the warbirds such as the two TBMs in trail.


What I did not know until I spoke with the Airboss in the evening is that Dave Berry is in the process of making at emergency landing in this photo. 


 Dave is having a hard time seeing the runway as he blew an oil line and his windscreen was covered with oil.  But all turned out well as he got down safely.


As the B-17 and the second TBM were doing their landings the two Mustangs beat up the field.  In total the crowd was treated to at least ten passes back and forth, maybe more as I lost count, with one aircraft trailing the other.  I found out this is Airboss's signature ending to the Hall's Airshow.  There is nothing like a couple of Mustang's beating up the field for ten or so minutes to give one something to remember when leaving the show.

Combined my time in the museum and this great little airshow, the trip was definitely worth the time and effort, and I hope to be able to return again some day to the Wings over Halls Airshow.


Side trips

This was my first time into western Tennessee so I used the travel time to visit a number of historic sites.  Below are two of them.

Fort Donelson


This is a section of the Confederate River Battery at Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River.  On February 6, 1862 Union gunboats attacked neighboring Fort Henry twelve miles to the west on the Tennessee River, resulting in the defending forces fleeing the fort and making their way over land to Fort Donelson.  On February 14th those same gunboats came down the Cumberland River as seen above expecting to bombard Fort Donelson into submission.  After a ninety minute battle the gunboats had been so badly damaged by the River Battery seen here they had to retreat.  The fort did surrender on February 16th after land battles with the Union Army.

With the fall of Fort Donelson Clarksville and then Nashville fell before the Union Forces.  With the fall of Fort Henry on the Tennessee River Union troops started landing up river at a place called Pittsburgh Landing.

Shiloh


In March of 1862 Grant's Union forces started to land here at Pittsburg Landing for a buildup to attack Corinth, MS, twenty two miles to the southwest, which was an important Confederate railroad junction. 


On Sunday, April 6, 1862 southern forces struck Grant's army first on what is now a twelve square mile preserved battlefield.  After a day long battle, the Confederates appeared to have victory at hand as Union forces had been pushed back four miles to Grant's final line of defense at Pittsburg Landing.  However, with darkness coming on and the Confederate soldiers exhausted and out of ammunition, the final assault was called of until the next morning.  With the arrival of Union reinforcements overnight, the tide of battle changed on Monday and the Confederates had to retreat all the way back to Corinth, which was then lost to them a month later. 

The battle was named after Shiloh Church, which means place of peace, of which this is a replica of, the original church having been destroyed during the fighting.  Shiloh was not a place of peace on Sunday April, 6, 1862 because when the battle ended, more Americans had been killed in one day's fighting than all of the country's previous wars combined.  It was a grim harbinger of what was to come over the next three years.


 

Titusville (Tico), FL   Virginia Beach, VA   Seymour Johnson AFB, NC   Halls, TN   Warsaw, IN   B-29 Air Power Tour Fort Wayne, IN   Thunder over Michigan, Bellevue MI
 

 


 
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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