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
Wings over Waukegan Warbird Photo Review
Warbirds at Waukegan National Airport, IL - September 10, 2016

The best warbird airshow in the Great Lakes Area!
 


Wings over Waukegan may not be the largest or most hyped warbird show in the Great Lakes area, but for the serious warbird enthusiast, it is one not to miss.  With an excellent cross section of propeller and jet warbirds, the show gave the spectator three and a half hours of uninterrupted flying.  Air Boss Scott Duck did not allow any noticeable dead time, and had the next act ready for take-off as soon as the preceding act turned off the runway.  Narrator Phil Dacy was at his normal 110% enthusiasm level to keep the crowd in the show.  His style is unique, and along with Scott Duck kept the show from lagging.

The show is a combination of Dave Dacy Airshows, providing turnkey airshows for small towns and airshows in the Midwest, and the Warbird Heritage Foundation located at the Waukegan Airport.  The Warbird Heritage Foundation provides some core warbirds, including A-1, A-4, P-51, and F-86.  Complement those with a few other warbirds like T-33s, T-28 and TBM, and the show has an excellent mix of jet and piston powered warbirds.

Admission to the one day event is a reasonable $15, including airshow program.  Parking is free, and just a couple minute walk from the flightline.  Over all Wings over Waukegan gives the best dollar value of warbird flying in the Midwest.    


Wow!  The Wings over Waukegan "Heritage Flight-Legacy Flight Combo Pack," as defined by airshow narrator Phil Dacy.  This was a first for me, and one of many highlights of the show.  It was the next to the last act of the day, and the sky was perfect for photographs.


The weather was not perfect when I arrived at the show!  This photo was taken at11:20 AM, forty minutes before show time.  For a half hour prior to this photo, my son and I were subject to light drizzle coming in sideways driven by wind gusts up to 21 miles per hour.  He wondered whether the 260 mile journey to the show was going to be worth it.
 
12:01 PM.  Show time!  Skyraider "Naked Fanny" starts up to begin the show.  This was a good sign, starting the event with the venerable Skyraider. My son is a big Skyraider fan.  He was starting to see why we drove such a long distance for the show.

A note on my location during the show:  One of the advantages of Wings over Waukegan is that spectators can watch the show from the hot ramp at airshow center.  I chose this location as it put us right in the middle of engine startups and taxiing.  From a pure photographer's standpoint, where the intent is to get unobstructed photos of the warbirds, it obviously is not ideal.  As can be seen in the photo above, Jr. ROTC candidates line the ramp as security between the crowd and the aircraft.  Like others, I strive for the best photos.  But this website is also about capturing the essence of the warbirds at the airshow.  Sitting where I did for allowed that.  I was able to watch, hear, and smell the aircraft during startup and taxi.  I was also able to feel the heat off the jet engines' exhaust after they passed by.  In other words, I had fun!  Only Wings over Waukegan allows spectators to have this intimacy with the warbirds.

For those how want unobstructed photos, there is a crowd area to the east of the ramp that allows these. 

Below is a sampling of highlights from the show. 


12:14.  "Naked Fanny" takes off into the gray sky.  Later in the day she would take off again into blue skies.


The show began with multiple fly-bys by the Skyraider and T-28.


"Dragoon's Fyre" was new to me.  It is a 1940 Ford pickup with a GE J-85 jet engine.


After the jets would pass by us we could feel the heat off the engines.  Part of the experience at Wings over Waukegan.


The TBM arrived during the show, and was taxiing and parking during the jet fly-bys.


This T-33 had some difficulty starting and was only able to get in one pass during the show.  Here it moves back into location right in front of me.


The Aerostars area staple of Wings over Waukegan and their routine stays right in front of the crowd.  It is one of the reason's for the success of the event.


Susan Dacy alternates every other year at the show with Dave Dacy in his Stearman.  Susan, like the Aerostars, keeps her flying in front of the crowd and is always fun to watch.


1:58.  The gray clouds and overcast had moved out.

2:02 PM.  This time "Naked Fanny" took off in the sunshine. 


Pyro was unexpected but welcome addition to the show, as the Skyraider made several strafing passes.  


"Naked Fanny" folded its wings for the crowd, and then opened them back up at its parking location.


Brad Deckert gave us several nice passes in the TBM.


Vlado Lenoch is always a favorite at Waukegan with his aerobatic routine and signature high speed passes down the runway.


The second flight of the F-86 was a superb aerobatic routine.


Paul Wood taxies by in the A-4 Skywawk.


Feel the heat!


The "Heritage Flight-Legacy Flight" inbound.




Just as I was thinking, "What could be better than the Heritage-Legacy Flight?" Paul Wood started into a one of kind aerobatic demonstration with the Skyhawk.  Paul Wood's is the best I have seen, as he really makes the Skyhawk "talk" and demonstrates its capabilities.  What a way to end the show!  He was fast; and he was precise.




Two of Ed Heinemann's classic warbirds!


During Paul's high speed passes, I had a hard time tracking him.  While not centered, at least I was able to capture the entire A-4 in this photo.


Paul waves at the crowd as he comes back into the ramp, as the finale to the best warbird show in the Midwest!


My son and I went home with smiles on our faces, and talked for a long time about how great this show was.  We are already planning on returning next year.  Hopefully the crowd realized how good this show was and will return also.

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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