Not just an Air Show Preview, but – where can you see some of your favorite racers.
Warbirds in Action, Minter Field
One of the first shows of the year is also a show that guarantees you will see some of your favorite racers. “Warbirds in Action” at Minter Field, Shafter, CA is the home show for Warlock, Czech Mate and Strega. I’m sure Al Goss will be in attendance and will likely fly that day, Tiger and Stevo will likely be there, not sure if they will be flying or not. Czech Mate is also at the field, however rarely flies or displays. You will likely see Eddie Van Fossen in his T-6 hopping rides and forming up on Warlock. The show is a one day event and is scheduled for April 17th.
Planes of Fame, Chino, CA
We talk about this every year, but the best Airshow for Warbirds on this side of the pond is Planes of Fame Air Museum’s Airshow in Chino, CA. This year, their theme is “A Salute to the Greatest Generation”. If you haven’t seen the “Gaggle of Warbirds” in person – you’re missing a treat. Last year, over 30 Vintage Warbirds took to the air together. It’s awe inspiring. And it cannot be captured on video, photos or stories. You have to be there.
The show site is easily accessible, being just miles from the Ontario Airport; there really is no excuse not to make it this year. I’m giving you enough warning, and you know you want to be there.
In fact, Planes of Fame puts together an incredible series of events usually the first weekend of every month. Depending on when you read this, you may have already missed the February event about the Search for Gertrude Tompkins – Silver. She is the only WASP still listed as Missing in Service. She disappeared without a trace in 1944 in the Los Angeles Area. Aviation Anthropologist, Pat Macha, wrote a wonderful book which examines her story. Pat will be on hand to discuss the book and tell the tale.
March brings the Douglas Skyraider event. They are expecting between 60-70 retired Skyraider pilots and will have the author of Cheating Death, George Marrett, there to discuss his book. George is the “real deal” and when he tells a story, you will be on the edge of your seat. He flew 188 combat missions in Vietnam. There will also be a Skyraider Flight Demonstration after the presentation.
In April, seven P-38 pilots including one Ace, will gather to celebrate their stories. The Museum’s P-38 will provide the Flight Demonstration that day. Now, it’s up to you to go to their website and learn more about how you can get involved in the events happening there.
Madera Air Show
The Madera Airshow is scheduled for May 22-23rd. A dedicated group of aviators and enthusiasts put together a wonderful show last year. This year promises to be even better. Last year, Al Goss was in attendance with Warlock, Dan Martin was there in Ridge Runner and retired racer Chuck Hall entertained us all in Six Shooter, his P-51D. He provided us with a single ship aerobatic routine as well as a two-ship sequence with John Collver. Country Singer, Aaron Tippin provided a wonderful and free concert for everyone. You don’t get that kind of entertainment just anywhere.
Several acts are new this year including Doug Jardine and Tim Decker, both providing high energy aerobatic sequences and Dr. D’s Old Time Aerobatics. More names are being added to the list all the time, so start making plans to be in Madera in May (the weekend after Chino).
June 11-13th brings the Golden West Airshow. For the last few years, the Sport Class has entertained the crowds with an Air Race Demo. I don’t think Lee Behel knew it was a demo, since he blew his engine a few years ago while in first place. Demo means no trophy, Lee!
If you are a Sport Class Fan, this is a great way to find out what everyone is doing and see your favorites in the air before September.
Pylon Racing Seminar
Later in June the Pylon Racing Seminar will take place. This is only for diehard fans, but we usually get a about 100 people out there to watch the Rookies and to see which Veterans have decided to practice on the course.
Allegedly, if Dago Red will be racing in September, Skip Holm may be at PRS. Perhaps we will see Galloping Ghost, Voodoo, and Strega. I will be there to report back on the activities, so if you can’t make it – don’t worry! I’ve got your six.
Sun ‘n Fun
Sun ‘n Fun is scheduled for April 13th-18th. I have only attended one year and it was superb. Not many racers, but Warbirds and amazing aerobatic routines, plus all sorts of activities including forums and workshops with excellent evening entertainment. This year the USAF Thunderbirds are scheduled to attend also.
Kermit Weeks’ Fantasy of Flight is an easy day trip from Lakeland. That is another “do not miss” opportunity.
Red Bull Air Race
The only US location on the Red Bull Air Race tour this year is NYC. They will race right over the water, between NY and NJ. I was trying to put this on my schedule, but it is the same weekend as PRS. So, someone go to Red Bull in NYC for me and report back. I’ll be in Reno.
Other Red Bull news.. It looks like we may get one or two more Red Bull Racers defecting to the National Championship Air Races @ Reno in September. Waiting to hear more solid information, but when they are ready to share, you will be the second to know.
National Championship Air Races @ Reno
I am saving the best for last, at least in this article. The National Championships Air Races will be held from September 15th – 19th. At this point, I can only tell you that a lot of action is happening behind the scenes. Wrenches are flying and while we have no idea who will be in attendance, we do know that a great group of owners, pilots, crew and fans will congregate in the desert once again to entertain you, and if you promise to come out and cheer us on.
Until then, don’t for get to…
Fly Low, Fly Fast and Turn Left,
Ruby Red Racing