Warbirds and Airshows
By David D Jackson

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Knoxville, TN   MCAS Cherry Point, NC   Saint Louis, MO   CFB Trenton, ONT   Thunder Over Michigan, Bellevue, MI   Marion, IN   Waukegan, IL   NAS Patuxent River, MD
Smoky Mountain Air Show at the McGhee Tyson Airport Warbird Photo Review
Warbirds at the Tennessee Air National Guard 134th Air Refueling Wing Airshow 2016 - April 16-17, 2016 - Photos taken Saturday, April 16, 2016.
 

I arrived at my parking lot on the south side of McGhee Tyson Airport ten miles southeast of downtown Knoxville, TN at 8:00 AM when the parking lots opened.  The south side of the airport is the commercial side, with the terminal, parking lots, and general aviation aircraft.  It then took an hour and a half for me to park, go through the security the Air Guard had set up, wait for a shuttle bus, and get bused over the north side to the airshow location.  I was in no hurry as the pre show information stated the gates at the show would not open until 10:00.

While the show only had five warbirds in attendance, my visit allowed me to do a show at another military base, and see what its facilities were like.  This was the first show the base had in 15 years and 11 months.  From the enthusiasm and size of the crowd, it was evident that the airshow spectators were ready for its return.  Below is a small fraction of the photos I took, not only depicting the warbirds, but the crowd and the layout of the static displays.


When I got off the bus at 9:30, this is what I first saw.  The gates had been opened early due to the surge of spectators walking in from the east parking lot.


Looking back to the east, a steady line of airshow enthusiasts are on the last section of about a mile walk.


Airshow narrator Rob Reider mentioned later in the day that security needed to remove several spectators from the parking lots on Friday evening.  They planned to camp out overnight in order to be first into the show.


The first aircraft inside the gate was a KC-135 operated by the airshow hosts, the 134th Air Refueling Wing (ARW) of the Tennessee Air National Guard.  The 134th ARW originally flew KC-97s from 1964 and then the KC-135 starting in 1976.


McGhee Tyson Air Force Base was built in 1951 to defend from air attack the Oak Ridge National Laboratory ten miles to the north, the Alcoa aluminum plant a mile from the air field, and the dams of the Tennessee Valley Authority.  The Tennessee Air National Guard was federalized for this mission, and was originally equipped with the P-47D, then the F-86D, and lastly the F-104.  In 1964 the mission of the Air National Guard changed from fighter protection of the area to air to air refueling.  Information provided by Bruce Kawakami indicates this aircraft has been at the base since at least the 1970s, and was repainted just previous to the show.  It was previously painted white.  


This is a second F-104 that the Wing had on display.  Bruce also noted that this aircraft just arrived at the base from the now closed Chanute Air Museum.  This aircraft along with a F-86D and part of a KC-97 also from Chanute will become part of a new air park at the base.


Next down the line on display were F-16s, EA-6B, AV-8B, and A-10s.


Special guest at the show were the Budweiser Clydesdales. 


Another special display was the F-22 Raptor.  As usual, it was roped off and protected by armed guards.


This is airshow center looking to the east.  The Blue Angels are parked here in front of the special guest area.  In the background is the bus unloading area where I arrived earlier.


At the far west was the ramp with the big aircraft and the warbirds.  They were located at the far northwest corner of this ramp and are not visible.


This photo was taken at the farthest west end of the show.  The hot ramp is to the right of the barrels and fencing in the photo.  This location allowed for both static display and then to move on to the hot ramp in preparation for the flying portion of the show.  From a safety prospective this was a good location for them.  From a spectator prospective the warbirds were out in the middle of no where.  Only the persons coming in the west gate were visiting them on their way in.  Not many persons were getting around here from the main crowd location.


The main crowd line is located over the hill behind the hangars and the office building.  On display is a C-17, AC-130, 757 and the B-1B.


The flying began right after 11:00 as the AeroShell Aerobatic Team took off for the flag jump.


The US Navy Leapfrogs opened the show with the flag jump.


The crowd looking west from my seating location at the show.


The AeroShell Team did a teaser routine after the flag jump.  They would fly their entire show later in the day.


The warbird fighters did several formation passes.


The B-25 "Show Me" did low passes down the runway.


Matt Younkin in his 1943 Twin Beech takes off with "Show Me" on the taxiway.  This is at airshow center, identified by the semi trailer sitting in the grass as a reference point of the Blue Angels.


The topography of the area allowed Matt to disappear from sight for a few seconds.


The F-16 demo doing the high alpha pass. 


I was in a good position, as right in front of me the F-16 stated its rotation to the vertical, and turned the afterburner on for his climb out.


The P-51 returned for an excellent aerobatic routine.


I left the show early to return home in a timely manner.  As I was leaving I was treated to several fly-overs and fly-bys from a KC-135 from the 134th ARW.



I am not able to post any photos of the full aerobatic act by the Corsair and the full routine of the AeroShell Team due to my early departure; although I did see some of each from the parking lot while exiting.  Due to the size of the crowd, limited vehicle exits, and the location of my parking lot, I was probably back home in Indiana while airshow spectators were still trying to get out of the parking lots. 

Side trips on the way to the show.


Fort Harrod at the state park in downtown Harrodsburg, KY.  At the start of the American Revolution it was the most western fort in the colonies.  It was from Fort Harrod that George Rogers Clark began his mission to capture British forts at Kaskaskia and Vincennes.  British prisoners from those two forts were interned at Fort Harrod for thirteen days before being taken to Williamsburg, VA.  The prisoners were brought back to the fort by Captain William Harrod, son of James Harrod, founder of the fort.


The recreation of Fort Harrod was accomplished in 1927 when it became the first state park in Kentucky.  The fort was constructed in 1775 and Harrodsburg was the first settlement in Kentucky.


The road not traveled.  This is the Corning Glass plant, about half a mile to the east of the fort.  When I graduated from college, this is one of the places I interviewed at for a job.  I did not go to work here; since the plant did not offer me a position.  If it had, and I had accepted, my life would have been completely different.  I would not have gotten involved with warbirds and airshows.  As I was not married at the time, I would never have met my wife.  Actually, the thought how my life would have been is rather scary.


The plant is considerably larger than when I visited.  Then it was just a fraction of today's size.  This was the first time I have been back to Harrodsburg since my interview.


The American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge, TN.  The name of the museum is somewhat misleading.  While it does have science and energy displays, the most important part of the museum is the display detailing the role of Oak Ridge as part of the Manhattan Project during WWII.  Oak Ridge furnished the 130 pounds of U-235 that was used in "Little Boy".


Three different methods of extracting the U-235 from U-238 are shown on the left.  A former control unit is in the center and a large photo of women in front of the same type controls in building Y-12.  It was in this building that the women attended 1,200 calutrons, which did electro-magnetic separation of the two isotopes.  Most of the U-235 for the "Little Boy" was produced by this method.


A small section of a calutron is on display.

Knoxville, TN   MCAS Cherry Point, NC   Saint Louis, MO   CFB Trenton, ONT   Thunder Over Michigan, Bellevue, MI   Marion, IN   Waukegan, IL   NAS Patuxent River, MD

 


 
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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