Below is my coverage of the World War I portion of the 2022 Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome’s Sunday airshows.
The lineup fluctuated throughout the 2022 performance season. Several of the regularly performing machines had maintenance issues pop up, and the Pup was sent to a special performance at another museum, which required several weeks of preparation on each side of the performance. However, the daily lineup was still stacked, and the fleet received an additional aircraft with the arrival of the Brisfit.
Manufactured by the British, the Sopwith Pup was a formidable fighter aircraft when introduced in 2016. However, the Germans were also developing aircraft and the Pup was outclassed as soon as 1917.
Rhinebeck’s replica Pup was built in 1967 by Dick King, and flown for 21 seasons. It was sold to another New England Museum, which flew it for a number of years. In 2018, it was returned after a 10-year effort by current airshow performer, Brian Coughlin. Brian took on the task of getting the machine restored and flight worthy. The Pup returned to the skies in the fall of 2019.
Introduced in 1918, the D.VIII was both fast and nimble, characteristics that are strongly desired for a fighter aircraft. It earned the unofficial nickname “Flying Razor.” However, the design too late to make any major impact on the WWI air war.
The model flying regularly at the WWI shows is owned and operated by Brian Coughlin. Brian built the replica in 1994, and it is powered by a Gnome rotary-engine. The aircraft likely has the most distinctive sound of any of the current aircraft flying at the Aerodrome.
Brian is an extremely passionate and dedicated individual to the Aerodrome. He is very generous with his time after the shows, usually standing near the D.VIII, and is an absolute encyclopedia of WW I aviation knowledge.
Bristol F.2B Brisfit
The Brisfit is one of the new aircraft for the 2022 season. The aircraft has a crew of two, a pilot and rear facing gunner. The design was introduced in 1917 and remained in production until 1926.
The Aerodrome’s version is a reproduction, having been built in the early 198os for a movie roll. After several movies, it was placed into mothballs until recently. Chris Prevost donated the aircraft to Old Rhinebeck and it was restored to flight in early 2022. The paint livery is ‘B’ flight of No. 2 Squadron RAF serving in England in the post WW I era between 1924-1928. What an excellent addition!
The Wedding of Trudy Trulove and Sir Percy
These two love birds are fortunate to have a happy ending to their story. Percy is very fond of the lovely Trudy, but so is the notorious Black Baron. In fact, the Black Baron kidnapped Trudy to prevent her from marrying Sir Percy. She escaped and stowed away on the JN-4 Jenny. Somehow she jumped off the wing and survived the fall. The last photo shows the happy couple after their vows!
The Albatros D.Va is one of the most successful of the German designs of the first World War. The famous Red Baron himself, Manfred Von Richthofen, scored many of his victories in the type.
Rhinebeck’s Albatros is a reproduction built in 1975. In 2013, the aircraft was refinished in the current livery, which represents the aircraft of Hans Böhning of Jagdstaffel 36 / Jagdstaffel 76. This is probably my favorite of the German aircraft in the collection.
The SPAD’s markings represent the aircraft of Lt. George Turnure of Lenox, MA, who was credited with three confirmed kills. The aircraft is a reproduction, and was built in 2000. The SPAD was a well performing aircraft for the time period.
The DR.1 is arguably the most recognizable aircraft of WW I. Whether it was the Red Baron, or if it is attributable to Snoopy’s aerial battles in the Peanut’s comic strip cemented the legend, but the Triplane is very well known. The Red Baron was downed and lost his life while flying a DR.1.
Mr. Palen purchased the aircraft in 1987, and it has been a regular performer ever since, minus the required down time for various maintenance rotations.
The Aerial Dogfight
The climax of the Saturday show is the dogfight between Sir Percy and the Black Baron. Its always fun to see the planes doing what they were designed to do, even if it is scripted out.
This year, I am going to provide highlights from the entire 2022 season at Old Rhinebeck rather than do coverage for each individual show I attended.
This season was exciting with the addition of two new aircraft to the lineup, Several of the airframes that had been in rotation for a number of years were down awaiting overhauls or major maintenance, but you would never know it with the large volume of aircraft that fly each weekend.
The weekend themes remained unchanged for 2022, with the Saturday shows being “History of Flight” and Sunday’s “World War I”.
The History of Flight
The “History of Flight” shows covers three spans of time: The Pioneer Era (1896-1913), World War I Era (1914-1918) and the Golden Era (1919-1940).
The Pioneer Era spans the time of early aviation while the Golden Era shows the rapid develop of aviation up to the point of World War II. Since World War I has an independent show, I will cover the aircraft of the other two eras in this post.
De Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moth
One of the mainstays of the Aerodrome shows, the Tiger Moth along with another aircraft usually open the show with a ribbon cutting. The Tiger Moth was used by the British RAF and commonwealth allies as a primary trainer, and is an iconic biplane. It is very maneuverable and is an excellent airshow performer.
The Tiger Moth is owned and operated by the King family, longtime performers at the Aerodrome. Dave King is the usual pilot and also performs in several other aircraft, including the Triplane and Albatros.
Curtiss Pusher Model D
Likely my favorite aircraft of this era is the Pusher. The aircraft is a 1911 design, with this specific example being a replica built in 1976. The aircraft features a steering wheel style control yolk and requires a great deal of finesse to fly it safely. Matt Heuer usually pilots the aircraft and is a fun conversation to discuss flying the machine.
Etrich Taube – Model F
This aircraft is a new addition to the fleet for 2022. Designed by Austrian, Igo Etrich, in 1912, the Taube (Dove) was a very popular design for the time period. Several nations including Germany, Italy and the Austro-Hungarians used the aircraft in various duties. The type is believed to be the first aircraft used as a light-bomber.
The Aerodrome acquired the replica aircraft in early 2022 as a donation from the builder, Mike Fithian-Eyb. He desired to built the aircraft after he discovered that his grandfather had piloted the type back in 1912.
Curtiss JN-4H Jenny
Arguably one of the most iconic early American aircraft built, the Jenny is synonymous with the term “Barnstorming.” After WWI, the surplus aircraft were purchased at minimal cost, and the returning war pilots, now unemployed, purchased them and toured America. Many of these Barnstormers brought their planes into communities that had never experienced aircraft or flight. Many a Jenny inspired the dream of flight for men and women of the era.
Cole Palen, the founder of Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, purchased the aircraft after a wreck in 1957. It was shipped to him in train cars and advertised as a standard JN-4. After the parts started coming out of the rail cars, it was determined that the aircraft was a -4H model, with a much stronger Hispano Souza motor, which increased the motor’s horsepower to 180. After performing for the Aerodrome from 1968-1998, the aircraft was fully restored in 2001 by Ken Kassens, who frequently pilots the aircraft each weekend.
Fleet Finch 16-B
Besides the New Standard, the Finch is likely the “workhorse” of the Aerodrome aircraft fleet. It performs many duties during the weekend shows. It is believed that this is the first aircraft to land at Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. This Finch was built in 1942 and is one of 447 built. The type was used extensively by the Royal Canadian Aircraft as a training aircraft during World War II.
Mr. Palen purchased the aircraft in 1957, and later sold it. Another Finch was purchased and used for a number of years. When the new Finch was retired, the owner of the original was willing to sell it back to the Aerodrome in 2017.
The Wrong Brothers
The ORA community is fortunate to have innovative aviation minds nearby. Sadly, we did not get to see history in the making when the Wrong Brothers attempted their rocket powered experiments. The rocket jet pack appears to be the most likely to succeed based on the latest attempts.
Maybe one day we can say “I was there when…”
Boeing Stearman N2S-5
The other “big, yellow biplane” frequently seen at the Aerodrome is the Stearman. This version is the N2S-5, which is the US Navy’s designation of the popular “Stearman.” The Army gave it the designation PT-13 or PT-17, based on the engine used. For many an allied World War II pilot, the Stearman was the primary training aircraft that introduced them to flight. An icon in the aviation world.
This aircraft served at NAS Memphis and is owned and operated by Aerodrome pilot, Rob Williams.
New Standard D-25
The New Standard is an important aircraft to the Aerodrome. It is the aircraft used to provide rides throughout the season and is a way for the museum to earn extra funds. The red and black beauty is seen taking off and landing the entire weekend, and is the ultimate way to experience Old Rhinebeck.
Curtiss Wright CW-1 Junior
The Junior is a depression era design by Curtiss Wright, which was intended to be an affordable light aircraft option. The aircraft has a “pusher” design, placing the motor and propeller behind the pilot and passenger.
This aircraft is owned and operated by Aerodrome pilot, Brian Coughlin.
The Escaped Prisoner
One of the airshows was interrupted by the local authorities. An escaped “convict” had been seen in the area. He appears to have hidden at the end of the runway and stowed away on the Fleet 16. Thankfully, Sherriff Stew Sommerville was around and was able to blast him off the aircraft. Somehow, the Convict survived the fall and was apprehended unharmed. He was then taken back into custody and has since resumed prison life.
Great Lakes Sport Trainer
The Sport Trainer is a highly aerobatic aircraft designed in the 1930s. It was popular with the pilots and had great potential. However, the Great Lakes company went bankrupt during the Great Depression.
The Great Lakes is owned and operated by Matt Heuer. Matt flies a ribbon cutting, as well as a 1930s era aerobatic performance with the aircraft. Like the Tiger Moth, the Great Lakes is a very maneuverable and fun to watch.
Taylor E-2 Cub
The “Cub” is another iconic civilian aircraft. This is the original example of the Cub. The design has been modified over the years, and is still being built by homebuilders. The example owned and operated by Ken Cassens, and is an original aircraft.
This is the updated version of the original Cub design above. The J-3 variant of the Cub design would likely be on the Mount Rushmore of civilian sport aircraft if there was such a thing. Its versatility makes it popular to this day.
Fleet Model 1
Another sport biplane designed by Fleet. This is a 1930 version, and is an original aircraft. The markings replicate those of a Navy N2Y-1 version, designed to be attached to an airship (blimp) in the 1930s.
The Fleet is owned and operated by Dr. David Trost. Previously, the Fleet made appearances over the years being piloted by Richard Coughlin, father of current aerodrome pilot, Brian Coughlin. More on Brian in Part II. I have developed a good friendship with David over the last two seasons and look forward to getting to know the other pilots as the opportunity arises.
The Neighboring Farmer
The Aerodrome has been around since the late 1950s. However, over the years the neighboring farmer has yet to figure out that the weekends are full of activity, with the runway area being extremely dangerous. One day, he took matters into his own hands after getting drunk. He drove the tractor out to the J-4 Cub and stole the aircraft! Look at the absolute fear on his face trying to bring it back down for a landing.
The Pants Race
Usually, the Saturday shows conclude with the “pants race”. A handful of the pilots remove their pants and race from a stopped start, take off, make several orbits around the airfield and then land. The first pilot to land and get their pants back on is the winner.
Here Dr. Dave hops into the J-4 to participate in the race!
The annual NAS Oceana airshow was held on September 17-18. The show was headlined by the US Navy Blue Angels, but featured several other jet demos and some of the top name civilian performers. The weather was absolutely some of the best comparatively to years past with nice skies and comfortable temperatures. The show is always well attended, but this year it seemed to be a larger crowd. There was a noticeable difference in the static display size, with very few aircraft on static display. The Andrews AFB show was held the same weekend, and many people speculated that USAF assets went to that show. However, many of the squadron CAG jets were out for review. Several were back in the “zoo” (the storage area during the show), which was disappointing. But the aerial performance was strong and had a good variety of aircraft and acts.
US Navy Leap Frogs
The show opened with the Leap Frogs jumping in the flag and several demonstrations of canopy relative work. It is their first time performing at Oceana in a number of years, and it was great to see them again. The team is made up of active-duty Navy SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) and support personnel. The team jumped from a MH-53C helicopter from HM-12 “Sea Dragons”.
USAF F-16 Viper Demo Team
The Viper returned to Oceana with Capt. Aimee “Rebel” Fiedler piloting “Venom” the specially painted F-16 demo jet. She flies a great demo and had some vapes on the photo pass.
Bob Carlton’s Jet Powered Glider
Bob Carlton brought his
Fleet Air Power Demo
The Air Power Demonstration is a brief glimpse at the Carrier’s might. The squadrons that participated this year included: VFA-87 “Golden Warriors”, VFA-105 “Gunslingers”, VFA-213 “Black Lions”, VFA-32 “Swordsmen”, VFA-31 “Tomcatters”, VFA-131 “Wildcats”, VFA-83 “Rampagers”. Demos included air-to-air air combat maneuvers, several different air-to-ground delivery simulations and air-to-air refueling.
US Coast Guard
The US Coast Guard had representation for the first time in a number of years. A HC-130 Hercules and MH-60 Jayhawk from Air Station Elizabeth City flew a formation pass, followed by a solo pass of each.
Skip Stewart muscled his highly modified Pitts aircraft known as “Prometheus” though a high-energy routine. He is a difficult act to photograph since the plane is constantly moving on all axis, but he is a fantastic act to watch.
Matt Younkin flew his Twin Beech 18 “Miss Ellie” through an aerobatic routine that defies what the aircraft was designed to do. Although not traditionally known as an aerobatic aircraft, Matt shows that it indeed can perform rolls and loops! Great routine with lots of smoke.
US Navy F-35C Lightning II Demo
To me, the F-35C demo stole this year’s show. The “Charlie” model is the Navy and Marine Corps fixed-wing version of the F-35, which features a larger wing for better handling during the landing sequence on an aircraft carrier and more robust landing gear. The F-35 is the fleet’s stealth strike-fighter, and is an impressive machine. Love all the noise and vapes!
US Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet East Coast Demo
Although I enjoyed the F-35 demo, the hometown Super Hornet demo was still impressive! The team is based at NAS Oceana and participates in about a dozen shows a year, primarily on the East Coast. The team is made up of instructors from VFA-106 Gladiators, the East Coast RAG (FRS) squadron. We were hoping for a vape cone, but the conditions were not letting it happen.
US Navy Legacy Flight
The CAF Dixie Wing F4U/FG-1 Corsair was on hand to fly along with the F-35 and F/A-18 demo teams to perform the Legacy Flight. It was great to see and the wing fold salute at the end is what caps off performance. Fly Navy!
Hayden Proffitt – Hot Streak Jet Truck
Hayden Proffitt II performed and raced in his “Hot Streak II” jet truck. Hayden is the grandson of NHRA legend, Hayden Proffitt, and a veteran of the USAF. His truck, a highly modified 1957 Chevy with two jet engines, 25,000 horsepower and capable of 350+ MPH!!
US Navy’s Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Team
I started and ended my 2022 airshow season with the Blue Angels. The team performed a very tight routine and looked great going into the final third of their performance season.
Around the Field
Here are a few highlights from the static display.
The annual Airshow London was held September 9th through 11th at the London International Airport. The event was Canada’s largest airshow for 2022 and was named the best Airshow in North America for 2022.
The show continued their tradition of a Friday evening twilight show, featured several current jet aircraft demonstrations and was headlined by the return of the USAF Thunderbirds.
RCAF CF-18 Hornet Demonstration Team
Capt. Jesse “Modem” Haggart-Smith piloted the CF-18 Hornet. The Hornet demo is based at Canadian Forces Base Bagotville, Quebec. The CF-18 has been Canada’s primary fighter aircraft since 1983.
USANG F-16C Fighting Falcons (Viper)
F-16 Vipers from 180th Fighter Wing, 112th Fighter Squadron “Stingers” from the Ohio Air National Guard. The unit is based at the Toledo Express Airport, and are the “alert” squadron for the midwest region of the United States.
P-51 Mustang “Double Trouble Two”
Mackenzie Cline brought P-51D Mustang “Double Trouble Two” (44-73871/N551TF) for a solo aerobatic display. Merlin music is always appreciated!
USAF MC-130J Commando II Hercules
Airshow London lucked out with a rare flight demo of the USAF’s MC-130J, callsign “Aleka17”. The MC-130J is the aircraft used to support special operations forces. Duties include nighttime infiltration, exfiltration, resupply, airdrops and air-to-air refueling.
RCAF CT-155 Hawk
The Hawk is the RCAF’s advanced jet trainer. Students learn fast jet operations and after their training period will be placed into F/A-18 Hornets.
USAF E-3 Sentry
Saturday’s flyin performer was an E-3 Sentry callsign “Norse73”, serial 81004. The aircraft is an airborne warning and control system (AWACS), which provides situational awareness and airborne control of assets. The aircraft is a modified Boeing 707, with a 30-foot in diameter rotating radar dome on the top.
USAF B-2 Spirit
Sunday’s fly-in performer was the USAF’s B-2 Spirit “Spirit of America”. The B-2 is the US Air Forces stealth bomber aircraft. While the current design is modern, the flying wing concept dates back to the late 1940s.
USMC MV-22 Osprey
The MV-22 is the world’s first operational tilt-rotor aircraft. Designed for the flexibility of a helicopter with the ability to fly like a conventional aircraft for cruising and range.
The demo was performed by VMMT-204 “Raptors”. The unit is the V-22 pilot training squadron. The squadron trains pilots for the USMC, USAF and Japan. The unit is based at MCAS New River, located in North Carolina.
RCAF CC-130J Hercules
Canada’s heavy lift capabilities were represented by CC-130J, flying with call sign “Burma04”. The Hercules performs multiple duties, including tactical airlift and troop transportation. The Hercules is capable of landing on short airfields, including those that are unpaved.
USAF F-22 Raptor Demo
Maj. Joshua “Cabo” Gunderson piloted the USAF F-22 Raptor demo. The F-22 demo team is based at Joint Base Langley-Eustice in Hampton, Virginia.
Louisiana ANG F-15C Eagles
Two F-15C Eagles from the 159th Fighter Wing, 122nd Fighter Squadron “Bayou Militia” of the Louisiana Air National Guard participated in the show.
“The Changing of the Guard”
The Raptor Demo Team formed up with the Louisiana ANG F-15s for a formation pass symbolizing the “changing of the guard.” With the service of the F-15C beginning to sunset, the formation was a symbolic transfer of air superiority duties from the F-15 to the F-22.
RCAF CC-150 Polaris #15001
“Can Force One” the Prime Minister’s transport, a CC-150 Polaris, “Husky1” arrived on Friday, and made a surprised the crowd by participating in the flying display each day.
Yankee Air Museum B-17 Flying Fortress and C-47 Skytrain
Warbird representation was primarily two of the aircraft from the Yankee Air Museum, the C-47 Skytrain “Hairless Joe”, B-17G Flying Fortress “Yankee Lady”.
The USAF Thunderbird flight demonstration team returned to London as the headliners of the show. The RCAF Snowbirds were scheduled to perform, but had to cancel due to an accident earlier in the year. The Thunderbirds were welcomed back and were popular with the crowd since appearances in Canada are few and far between.
Arrivals and Friday Twilight Show
Friday’s twilight show is a highlight each year. This year, the Thunderbirds performed with a photo chase plane, which was very different to see. The highlight had to be the arrival of the F-15s from Oregon and Louisiana. Several other arrivals
CF-18 Hornet demo practice
F-22 Raptor Demo
Oregon ANG F-15 Eagles
F-15s from Oregon 173rd FW, 114th Fighter Squadron based at Kingsley Field arrived and beat up the field with a number of simulated approaches and burner pull outs. This was the highlight of the weekend in my opinion, with the other F-15s from Louisiana ANG not far behind. There were many people excited to see the Eagles flying and participating in the show.
Louisiana ANG F-15 Eagles Arrive
CF-18 Hornet Demo
Around the Field
The static display was very large and had a wide variety of aircraft from Canada and the United States.
The Thunder Over Michigan airshow was held on July 16-17, and featured a wide variety of which included warbird aircraft, military demonstrations and headlined by the US Navy Blue Angels.
Similar to 2021, the event was a “drive in” style show with people parking in the spot they would occupy on the airshow grounds. The theme of the show was “the British are coming!” A number of British aircraft were scheduled to appear, however large thunderstorm cells across the United States and mechanical issues prevented many of the aircraft from coming in. Thankfully, several flying museums answered the cry for help and provided additional airframes to fill the show.
Louis Horschel FG-1D Corsair
No stranger to Thunder Over Michigan, Lou Horschel returned in his FG-1D Corsair to start off each day with an aerobatic performance. The airframe is former bureau number 88090 and is now registered as NZ5612. The aircraft served in World War II with the New Zealand Air Force in No. 14 and No. 17 squadrons. It was rescued from the scrap yard in 1972. She wears the standard US Navy dark sea blue paint scheme and US rondels but lacks any squadron insignia.
Dean “Cutter” Cutshall F-100F Super Sabre
This aircraft is likely to be my current favorite jet warbird. The “Hun” as the Super Sabre was nicknamed, was America’s first aircraft capable of sustained super sonic flight. Dean’s version was built in 1958 as 56-3948, and is a two-seat variant. She flew in various roles for the USAF until 1973 when she was transferred to the Turkish Air Force. In Turkey, she saw combat in the invasion of Cyprus and was eventually retired to the desert in Turkey where she sat idle for 10 years. She was sold by the Turks and eventually brought back to the United States who intended to restore it. The owner failed to have the work done and eventually sold it to Dean. He and his crew ( Paul Swick and Jim “Prez” Prezbindowski) restored it including a new engine and numerous internal and external updates. She was returned to her USAF livery, although wearing civil registration N2011V. The Hun now resides in Fort Wayne, Indiana and is one of only several known flying examples left in the world. Of those known, Mr. Cutshall’s is the only one that flies regularly.
Hurricane Mk. XII
One of the main British fighter aircraft participants in the Battle of Britain was the Hawker Hurricane. Although the “fame” goes to the Spitfire, the Hurricane was used effectively to repel the German Luftwaffe advances. The Hurricane, much like the American P-40, was used in nearly every theatre of operations that the British Commonwealth fought. The airframe was modified over the years to accommodate different types of armament.
This version, a Mk. XII belongs to the Dakota Air Museum and was piloted by Bernie Vasquez. The museum’s Hurricane is painted in the “tropical” camouflage of the Mediterranean theatre of operations.
P-40M Kittyhawk III
The Tri-state Warbird Museum brought their immaculate P-40M Kittyhawk III for the first time. The airframe is a combat veteran, produced in 1943 as 43-5813, it was transferred to New Zealand Air Force under the lend-lease program. She served as NZ3119 as a training aircraft for 16 Squadron based at Air Station Woodbourne. During one flight, the right main gear collapsed, resulting in significant damage to the aircraft. As the 16 Squadron deployed, the airframe was abandoned.
Luckily, she was rescued from the scrap yard sometime in the 1960s and put into long-term storage. In 2006, the airframe was purchased by the Tri-State Warbird Museum and began the long restoration process with Allied Fighter Rebuilders based in Auckland New Zealand. In 2008 the airframe was shipped to the United States, where the final pieces of the restoration were completed. The airframe returned to flight in 2011. The aircraft suffered a minor accident which required additional repairs. Finally, the aircraft returned to flight in 2016.
Also in 2016, the airframe won the “Grand Champion, World War II” award along with the “Golden Wrench” at the EAA Oshkosh event. These two awards are considered the highest awards and most coveted in the warbird community.
It is refreshing to see a P-40 in an original livery!
USAF F-16 Viper Demo and Heritage Flight
Capt. Aimee Fiedler piloted the USAF F-16 Viper demo jet. She is the commanding officer of the Viper Demo Team based at Shaw AFB, located in Sumpter, South Carolina. The demo jet wears a special snake like scheme and is affectionately known as “Venom”.
Jim Beasley piloted the P-51D Mustang “Bald Eagle” with Capt. Fiedler for the USAF Heritage Flight.
Jerry Conley’s DH-115 Vampire “Vampy Too”
Jerry Conley opened the afternoon portion of the warbird portion of the show in his beautiful Vampire jet known as “Vampy Too”. Jerry has a long history in the airshow community, having previously performed a jet warbird act in a L-29 Delphin and now performs exclusively as Vampire Airshows. He brings the aircraft in as close as he can to the crowd for excellent photo opportunities, and also shows off the capabilities of the historic Vampire.
The Vampire is truly a historic aircraft. The type was the world’s first single engine jet powered aircraft. It was also the first jet to take-off and land on an aircraft carrier as well as the first jet to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Jet engine technology was new and dangerous in the late 1940s. Considering the age of the aircraft and engine technology, the Vampire is an impressive aircraft.
Vampy Too is configured with two wing-mounted extra fuel tanks. Armament consists of four Hispano Mk. V cannon as well as four 8 x 3-inch rockets. Thankfully, more Vampires are beginning to see flight and Jerry is one of the key people making it happen.
Fw 190 F-8
The second aircraft from the Tri-State Warbird Museum to appear was the Focke Wulf Fw 190. The Fw 190 is widely considered the German’s most feared and versatile aircraft of WW II.
Although it looks like an authentic airframe, this is actually a mostly new build aircraft. The data plate and some parts are original. It was produced in Germany in the early 2000s, and was donated to the museum in 2007. After an engine retrofit, and some other work, it was completed in November, 2019. Ray Fowler piloted the aircraft for the demonstrations.
One of the long-distance attendees was the Me-109 owned by the Erickson Aircraft Collection, located in Madras, Oregon. The 109 is the most produced aircraft of all time, with some 35,000 units being built. The airframe was produced into 1958. When the type was first flown in 1935, it was cutting edge and revolutionized the fighter aircraft design. The aircraft was very versatile allowing for armament modifications for the type of mission flown and engine tweaks that kept the performance on-par of the Allied aircraft.
This specific version is a Spanish built, Buchon version. The Buchon was powered by the Merlin engine (the same engine used by the Allies in the Spitfire and P-51 Mustang to name a few) and had the engines inverted, placing the exhausts lower on the cowling. The airframe is a movie star, having been used in the filming of the movie Battle of Britain. It has since been restored and modified to resemble a traditional Me-109, and is now powered by an Allison V-1710 which allows for a normal cowling.
The aircraft is a combat veteran, having served with the 302 Polish Squadron at Chailey, England serving as a fighter escort. The airframe flew escort for medium-bombers over France during the D-Day invasion. The airframe was transferred to the 329 Squadron, made up of Free French RAF pilots and based at Merston, and flew nineteen missions over the D-Day beachhead. In August, 1944, she was transferred again moving to 165 Squadron based at Detling. The new livery, 5AK flew 41 combat missions, including Operation Market Garden (Netherlands, September 17-27, 1944). The last claim to fame was during the post-war period, the airframe flew as escort for four C-47s transporting the exiled Belgian government officials back to Belgium.
Ohio Air National Guard F-16 Vipers
Two F-16 Vipers from the Ohio Air National Guard were on static display for Saturday’s show, then did a few passes before they flew home on Sunday. The aircraft are part of the 180th Fighter Wing, 112th Fighter Squadron “Stingers”. The unit is based at the Toledo Express Airport, and serves as the alert squadron for aerial intercepts in the Mid-West region,
US Navy Blue Angels
The 2022 headliners were the United States Navy’s Blue Angels. The team is now in the second year with the F/A-18 Super Hornet and C-130J Hercules. While the weather did not allow for a high-show, the team did not miss a beat, performing a low show which provides great views of the formations.
Around the Field
There were a handful of aircraft available to view on static display. Perhaps the most popular was the newly unveiled F/A-18E Super Hornet from VFC-12 “Fighting Omars” painted to represent an Su-57 Felon.
Evening Engine Runup Photo Shoot
Three aircraft were towed over to the ramp for the evening photo shoot. First up was the Toledo ANG F-16 Viper, followed by the Me-109 and lastly the P-40M. We were told that this was the first time an ANG unit participated in this type of photo shoot.
Selfridge ANGB hosted their open house airshow on July 9-10, 2022. Like many airshows across the country, this one was previously postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the show did not feature a military jet team, the action in the sky was filled with warbirds, two parachute teams and was headlined by the USAF F-22 Raptor Demo.
The all women’s parachute team, Misty Blues, opened the show each day with the flags of the United States and Canada followed by a large streamer promoting the team’s colors. Afterwards, the ladies walked the crowd line signing autographs and posing for photos with members of the audience.
The flying portion of the show each opened with the Friends of Jenny LLC‘s JN-4 Jenny. The Jenny is perhaps the most iconic American built aircraft of the early days of flight. It was one of the nation’s first aircraft designed to teach people how to fly, the aircraft synonymous with “barnstorming”, flew the airmail and eventually created what is commercial aviation.
This Jenny is only one of seven known to be left flying in the world today. The Jenny underwent a restoration beginning in 2012 and she took her first flight in many years on October 2, 2013. Many of the components needed to be refabricated, which was done using copies of the original Curtiss blueprints. She is painted to replicate the original Jenny “38262” which was in flying with the Army Air Service and was the first aircraft to fly the US Air Mail from Washington DC to New York City on May 15, 1918.
Warbird Heritage Foundation brought their AD-1 Skyraider. The AD-1 was designed as a single place to replace the dive bombers (Dauntless and Helldivers) and torpedo planes (Avengers) on the decks of the Navy’s carriers in World War II. The aircraft did not see service until 1946. Although too late to see service during WWII, Skyraiders were the light and medium attack aircraft of the fleet until the mid-1960s, seeing service in the Korean and Vietnam wars.
This particular aircraft is BuNo 09257 and built in 1947. It served with the fleet until 1956 when it was stricken from the inventory. It was purchased in 1982 as surplus and returned to flying condition in 1989. It was acquired by the Warbird Heritage Foundation in 2008.
So, if it is a NAVY plane, why does it wear a USAF livery? The answer is simple, when the Navy retired the planes, the USAF needed an aircraft that could loiter in a combat zone a long time, carry a large amount of ordinance and serve as an escort for the combat rescue helicopters. They remained in service with the USAF until the early 1970s.
Greg Colyer – Ace Maker Airshow
Greg Colyer started the jet warbird portion of the airshow with the “Ace Maker” T-33 Shooting Star. The T-33 was the nation’s first jet trainer. It saw service with the USAF, Navy and multiple allied nations into the 1970s. Many of the current versions flying, including “Ace Maker” are license built Canadair variants which had a more powerful engine.
Greg earned his pilot’s license while serving with the US Army. After leaving the Army he continued to fly and worked as an Air Traffic Controller. He continued to fly and performed an occasional airshow. Life changed in 2007 when he took his first flight in a T-33. Every since he wanted to own and perform in a T-33. His dream came true when he purchased the original “Ace Maker” and began performing at airshows across the United States. He now owns three T-33s and is working on developing a 2-ship T-33 team with “Scratch” Mitchell, a former RCAF CF-18 Hornet demo pilot.
AT-6 Texan – Tuskegee Airmen Tribute – Lt. Col. Jefferson
The Tuskegee Airmen Museum flew a tribute to Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson, a native of Detroit, Michigan. He graduated from pilot training in 1944 and did his combat training at Selfridge Field. He went on to serve with the 332nd Fighter Group, 301st Fighter Squadron “Red Tails” in Ramitelli, Italy. He was shot down on his 18th mission and was a prisoner of war for eight months in Poland. Mr. Jefferson continued to serve in the Air Force Reserves until 1969 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He passed away on June 22, 2022.
P-51D Mustang “Swamp Fox” – RT Dixon
RT Dixon performed an aerobatic display in his beautiful P-51D Mustang “Swamp Fox”. In addition to the aerobatic display, he did a formation pass with the AT-6 Texan as part of the tribute to Lt. Col. Jefferson. The P-51 was another aircraft the Tuskegee Airmen flew during WWII.
Swamp Fox was delivered to the USAAF on May 7, 1945, serial number 44-74202. She was too late to see service during WWII and served stateside in various roles and units until September, 1957 when she was removed from the inventory as surplus. She began a restoration in 2007 in Chino, California and flew again in 2012. The markings are those of Lt. Will Foard, 364th Fighter Squadron, 357th Fighter Group, 8th Air Force, based out of Leiston, England. Mr. Foard was able to see his restored “Swamp Fox” in December, 2012 and took flight in her with Robert Dixon Sr. piloting.
F-100 Super Sabre – Dean Cutshall
Early Vietnam era flight was represented by Dean Cutshall performing in his F-100F Super Sabre. The “Hun” as the Super Sabre was nicknamed, was America’s first aircraft capable of sustained super sonic flight. Dean’s version was built in 1958 as 56-3948, and is a two-seat variant. She flew in various roles for the USAF until 1973 when she was transferred to the Turkish Air Force. In Turkey, she saw combat in the invasion of Cyprus and was eventually retired to the desert in Turkey where she sat idle for 10 years. She was sold by the Turks and eventually brought back to the United States who intended to restore it. The owner failed to have the work done and eventually sold it to Dean. He and his crew ( Paul Swick and Jim “Prez” Prezbindowski) restored it including a new engine and numerous internal and external updates. She was returned to her USAF livery, although wearing civil registration N2011V. The Hun now resides in Fort Wayne, Indiana and is one of only several known flying examples left in the world. Of those known, Mr. Cutshall’s is the only one that flies regularly.
The Warbird Heritage Foundation‘s second aircraft participating in the show was their A-4B Skyhawk. The Skyhawk replaced the AD-1 Skyraider on the decks of the Navy’s carrier fleet as the primary light bomber. The A-4 was extremely popular amongst the pilots and served in a number of roles for the Navy, Marines and numerous allied air arms. The aircraft’s agility and high subsonic speed made it an ideal aircraft to serve in other roles such as the Navy’s advanced trainer, adversarial aircraft (the aerial co-star of the original Top Gun film) and the mount of the Navy’s Blue Angels flight demonstration team from 1974 to 1986.
This particular Skyhawk is an early “B” model, built in 1958 and served with the US Navy until stricken from the records in February, 1970. The airframe’s history seems to be hazy from 1970-1980, but it appears she was serving as a technical trainer during that period. She was rescued from that role in 1987 and restoration to flight was initiated. She flew briefly in 1989 and then went on display at the EAA Oshkosh Museum. Warbird Heritage Foundation acquired the aircraft in 2007 and again restored her to flight status. Her first flight took place in 2009 and is now seen regularly at airshows across the Midwest region of the United States.
US Army Golden Knights
US Customs & Border Patrol Demo
The aerial branch of the SE Michigan branch of the US Customs & Border Patrol is stationed at Selfridge. They performed a demonstration of a rope extraction.
Team Selfridge Demo
Selfridge Air National Guard Base is the second largest joint Reserves bases in the United States. The primary occupant is the 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard, with aircraft assets including the KC-135 Stratotanker, A-10 Thunderbolt II (Warthog) and C-130 Hercules. Additionally, the United States Coast Guard uses the facility for MH-65 Dolphin helicopter operations as Air Station Detroit. Other operators include components of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force Reserve, and Army Air National Guard, operating CH-47 Chinooks.
The team formed in 2019 and primarily performs in the Midwest, with the aircraft being based in Michigan. All members of the team belong to the Classic Jet Aircraft Association and the Red Star Pilots Association. The L-39 Albatross is the worlds most numerically popular jet warbird at this time.
USAF C-17 Globemaster III Demo (East Coast)
The USAF C-17 East Coast Demo Team brought the huge Globemaster III to Selfridge. The team is based at Joint Base Charleston South Carolina. Although a large cargo aircraft, the pilots state that it handles like a fighter aircraft and is quite agile.
The C-17 began operations in 1993 with the USAF and is the primary medium cargo and troop transport. The aircraft is designed to to use short runways and allows for a large payload. The storage area can be configured to handle a number of different types of cargo, including seats, palletized cargo, and tracked vehicles.
RCAF CF-18 Hornet Demo
Our Canadian allies were represented by the CF-18 Hornet Demonstration Team. Captain Jesse “Modem” Haggart-Smith is the team’s demonstration pilot. Modem earned his wings in 2016 and has over 600 hours in the Hornet. The CF-18 is Canada’s primary fighter aircraft and the RCAF routinely deploys internationally to support allied nations and perform security duties requested by the United Nations.
Sadly, the CF-18 was only able to perform on Saturday. While the team brought two aircraft (standard for the airshow industry), both were subject to maintenance issues on Sunday.
USCG MH-65C Dolphin Demo
Selfridge is home to USCG Air Station Detroit. The MH-65 Dolphin is the assigned duties such as search and rescue, law enforcement and homeland security missions. Air Station Detroit has a large area of operations that include southern portion of Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario. In total, the area covers 1,100 miles of shoreline from Saginaw Bay, MI to the St. Lawrence Seaway.
USAF F-22 Raptor Demo
The feature performance of the 2022 show was the USAF F-22 Raptor. Maj. Joshua “Cabo” Gunderson provided a high energy demonstration of America’s premier air-superiority fighter.
Around The Field
Selfridge had a nice static display, but still small compared to prior years.
VAQ-131 Lancers EG-18G Growler
The static display highlight for me had to be the pair of Growlers from VAQ-131. The unit is stationed at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington. Seeing their CAG aircraft was great!
Mid-Atlantic Air Museum hosted the 31st annual World War II Weekend on June 3-5, 2022. Saturday’s crowd was believed to be a record, and enthusiasm was high with a large number of aircraft, WWII vehicles and reenactors.
Weather was near flawless with temperatures in the high 70s all weekend with no rain which traditionally plagues at least one day of the event. The weekend was not without challenges. Several aircraft were down for a portion or the entirety of the event due to mechanical issues. The CAF Corsair also struck a bird during Friday’s show, causing it to miss Saturday’s flight.
L-Bird is slang for the various liaison aircraft that served in nearly every major battle of the war. Liaison aircraft are light aircraft used for local observation and spotting for artillery units. The L-Birds were used from WWII through Vietnam. During Vietnam, the mission was eventually taken over by helicopters.
Trainers were represented by several examples of all levels of the WWII trainers – Basic, Primary and Advanced.
“Jersey Jerk” T-6/SNJ Texan Formation Team
Pacific Theatre Bombers
Bombers from the Pacific Theatre of Operations were represented by the SBD Dauntless, Val Diver Bomber and Kate torpedo bomber.
The Dauntless was the US Navy’s dive bomber. The airframe served from the initial days of the war to the end. Although it was slow and considered obsolete, the aircraft and its crew used it with major success. The Dauntless is credited with sinking over 300,000 tons of enemy shipping, which includes five aircraft carries. Four of those were during the Battle of Midway.
This particular Dauntless is part of the Commemorative Air Force, and is operated at CAF Airbase Georgia. The aircraft has been with the CAF for a number of years, and was restored to its present condition during a multi-year restoration from 1991 – 1999. The paint scheme is accurate to the time period around the Battle of the Marianas (“The Marianas Turkey Shoot).
Alan Armstrong owns this reproduction “Kate”, the Japanese Navy’s torpedo bomber. The aircraft is also part of the Commemorative Air Force, and is operated at CAF Airbase Georgia. The airframe was purposely built for use in the movie Tora! Tora! Tora! and has also been used in numerous other movies and television shows.
The aircraft is currently configured in the markings of the Group Leader from the Second Carrier Division of the Carrier Hiryu. The aircraft participated on the Pearl Harbor attack, with the specific target of the on the Battleship, U.S.S. California.
The Val was the Japanese equivalent to the SBD Dauntless at the outbreak of WWII. This specific aircraft is also a reproduction and was purposely built for for use in the movie Tora! Tora! Tora! The aircraft is owned by Ken Laird.
The medium bombers were represented this year by two B-25 Mitchells. The Delaware Aviation Museum brought their highly polished “Panchito” while Tom Duffy brought the natural aluminum finished “Take-Off Time” Both Mitchells are later “J” models with the bombardier nose.
Panchito is one of the aircraft selling rides during the weekend, making it one of the busiest aircraft on the ramp.
Jerry Wells Aerobatic Demo
Perhaps the act that surprised me the most was Jerry Wells’ aerobatic demonstration in the BU-133 “Jungmeister.” Although an older design, the aircraft was in immaculate condition and was incredibly nimble. I was very entertained and surprised at the aggressiveness of the demo. I look forward to the next time I am able to see Mr. Wells perform.