Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chino, Madera and PRS Preview

Planes of Fame Does it Again

The Planes of Fame Airshow gets better every year. Each year we turn to each other at the end and say, “That was the best ever, how will they ever outdo THAT!” But, the following year, they do.

This year was the salute to “The Greatest Generation” and it was quite a salute. Jonna Doolittle Hoppes led panel discussions with the following veterans: Maj. General John "Johnny" Alison (the 'father' of Air Force Special Operations, WWII ace, and Korean War veteran); Clarence "Bud" Anderson (P-51 'Old Crow' triple ace in WWII); Col. John Doolittle (WWII and Korean War veteran); Bill Holloman (Tuskegee Airman P-51 pilot); Huie Lamb (P-47 and P-51 pilot); Wilbur Richardson (B-17 ball turret gunner, Purple Heart recipient); William "Bill" Spengler (P-51 "Buzzin Cuzzin"). This panel discussion was broadcast over the speaker system while many of the visitors walked the Airshow grounds to see the aircraft.

Then, sixteen P-51 Mustangs took to the air to open the show. There are people in this world who have never seen a P-51, nor seen one fly. And we were treated to the sight and sound of 16 of them singing to us from the air.

Later the Horsemen did their three-ship Mustang formation aerobatic sequence. Their act is a show stopper and truly breathtaking! The way Jim Beasley leads Ed Shipley and Dan Freidkin through the routine, the closeness, the precision and the gracefulness is wonderful.

Credit: Jason Fisher
Caption: Mustangs and more Mustangs

A first for me was seeing the N9BM, more commonly known as the Northrop Flying Wing, take to the skies.

A little history lesson… In the early 1940’s Northrop Aircraft built four 1/3 scale N-9M flying wing prototypes to prove the feasibility of the YB-35 long range bomber. Once the YB-35 program was canceled, every N-9M test model was scrapped – except the final N-9MB which sat out in the Edwards Air Force Base boneyard until Ed Maloney, founder of the Planes of Fame Museum, “liberated” it.

Credit: Victor Archer
Caption: Northrop Flying Wing – the only one in the world

Ron Hackworth then led a 13 year reconstruction of the mostly wood aircraft. In April 2006, the N-9MB suffered an in-flight engine fire. The aircraft was landed safely with limited damage. Donations to the museum were solicited for its repair and the aircraft has been fully repaired. Hackworth piloted the N-9MB for the Airshow. “I've never flown it anywhere where the reaction was anything less than complete amazement,” he says.

It takes over 250 PoF volunteers and the sponsorship of the County of San Bernardino and the vision of Ed Maloney to make this show work each year. A record number of attendees, over 40,000, enjoyed the aviation history, inspirational and educational experience.

Credit: Victor Archer
Caption: Incredible Aerobatics were also on the schedule at Chino

Please visit the Planes of Fame Museum and consider making it to the Airshow next year.

Madera Returns for Year 2

Madera did it again. They are creating a whole new tradition for Warbirds over Central California. Joe Conway and his volunteers and sponsors put on a wonderful show, with A10s and F18s Demos and four B-25s in the sky. It was a terrific show.
And, for the second time in two weeks, we were entertained by Clay Lacy doing an aerobatic sequence in his Lear 24. No kidding – I’m serious! It was a very enjoyable show. Clay is still an innovator in aviation and I can’t wait to see what he has up his sleeve next.

Credit: Mike Brewer
Caption: Clay Lacy in his Lear 24

I am thrilled that the show is continuing and growing with another record crowd for Madera. Good luck to all and let’s hope it grows bigger and better every year.

The Pylon Racing Seminar Preview

Yes, PRS is right around the corner. And with that, the phone calls begin. Who will at Reno in September, and who will be a no-show? This is the beginning of Silly Season.

The good news is we have Rookies. The latest count is five students in F1, one returning and four new. And a fan favorite aircraft is said to be returning.
The Biplanes have six rookies. This is the largest class we’ve had in years and a great sign for our division.

The Jet class has five students, including some jets you may never have seen before. Iskra, Provost and Paris Jet are all scheduled to be there.

We have one student in T-6, and four in the Sport Class. The Sport Class will likely have a Diesel Powered entry and possibly a Subaru Powered entry as well come September.

We currently have four Rookies in Unlimited and lots of returning aircraft that will make the fans very happy. I don’t want to jinx it and tell you what the excitement is all about, but suffice it to say – if things go as expected the fans will be thrilled with the line-up for September.

I’ll be headed to PRS and will report back here next month. Until then..

Fly Low, Fly Fast and Turn Left.

Marilyn Dash
Ruby Red Racing

Credit: Anthony Taylor
Caption: Warbirds and Madera