Tag Archives: F-22 Raptor

2018 Airshow London

The 2018 Airshow London took place on September 7-9 at the London International Airport.

This year’s show was memorable for the number of aircraft participating as well as the weather. As you will see below, the various types of aircraft present were impressive. The total amount of aircraft were around 70, and the show was promoted as the largest display of military aircraft in Canada for 2018. The static display area was well done with aircraft all over the airport, with many of the larger aircraft open for tours and pilots near the fighter aircraft. What made this show impressive was the amount of aircraft participating via fly-bys, both from the RCAF and USAF. These fly-bys made seeing the impressive F-22, A-10 and F/A-18E Super Hornet possible.

The oddity of the weekend was the weather. Friday was beautiful, but clouds began to roll in later in the afternoon. It became cloudy for the Friday evening “Hour of Power” event, which was meant to showcase the arrivals of some of the jet aircraft. Saturday’s weather was partly sunny, with the temperatures dropping off significantly. Sunday’s weather was downright terrible, with no sunshine whatsoever and the temperatures were in high 40s and piercing winds. Certainly not the normal weather cycle for that time of year.

Arrivals and Friday Night’s “Hour of Power”

A USN P-8 Poseidon arrived and put on a nice show with several touch-n-go landings prior to landing.
A-10s from the Michigan Air National Guard opened the Hour of Power event.
CF-18 Hornet in the twilight of the Hour of Power
The afterburners were easy to spot during the RCAF CF-18 demo to conclude the Friday evening Hour of Power
Several F-15E Eagles from Seymour Johnson AFB arrived for the Hour of Power.
Two F/A-18E Super Hornets from VFA-143 “Pukin Dogs” arrived during the Hour of Power. VFA-143 is based out of NAS Oceana in Virginia Beach, VA.

107th Fighter Squadron “Red Devils”

Several A-10 Warthogs from the 107th Fighter Squadron participated in all three days of the event. The jets are based at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in nearby Mt. Clemens, Michigan. Although the aircraft design is 50 years old, the A-10 remains the premier air-to-ground weapon system in the world.

RCAF CC-130 Hercules SAR Demo

A CC-130 Hercules from the 424 Tiger Squadron performed a search and rescue (SAR) demonstration. The SAR mission is extremely important given the vast open space of Canada. The 424 Squadron is based out of CFB Trenton and are the primary search and rescue squadron for the central and eastern coast of Canada. Their coverage ranges from the Canada/USA border all the way to the North Pole, and goes from Quebec City to the Rocky Mountains – an area that covers over 10 million square kilometers! A SAR team can deploy with 30-minutes notice during the week and up to two hours if an incident occurs during the weekend.

The 424 Squadron flies the CC-130H model of the Hercules. Note the crew dangling their feet off the open ramp!

USAF F-22 Raptor

Two F-22 Raptors from the 325th Fighter Wing based at Tyndall AFB came to London to participate in the fly-by portion of the show. Since this was not an official demonstration of the jet, we were treated to some afterburner passes and some tight vertical pulls, which produced some nice vapor.

RCAF CF-118 Hornets

Two different CF-18s participated in the show making several fly-by passes with nice vapor and burners.

These jets were from 425 Tac (F) Sqn 3 Wing based at CFB Cold Lake, Alberta.

Paul Keppler’s F-86 Sabre

The F-86 Sabre is painted to represent Capt. James Jabbara, the USAF’s first ace. By the end of the Korean War, Jabbara had downed 15 MiGs, making him a triple ace.

Jet Aircraft Museum’s T-133 Shooting Star “Red Knight”

The Jet Aircraft Museum is based at the London International Airport and their mission is to preserve and display aircraft and other artifacts representing the RCAF from the early years of the jet age RCAF.

The beautifully restored “Red Knight” made its first public appearance at the 2018 show. Just days earlier, it made its first post-restoration flight on August 26th. The jet had spent several years in a full restoration with the generous help of numerous private and corporate donations along with approximately 1200 hours of volunteer labor to put the jet back into pristine condition.

The Red Knight started as an RCAF Training Command solo display of the CT-133 back in early 1958. Later that year, the formal Red Knight made its debut at the 1958 Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto. The jet was refinished into the overall red scheme by the Trenton air maintainers. The Red Knight performed annually through 1969, and 17 different pilots.

The only difference to the original paint scheme is the Maple Leaf logo on the underside. This was added in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation and inspired by the 2017 CF-118 Hornet Demonstration Team.

Canadian Forces Skyhawks Parachute Demonstration Team

The Skyhawks are Canada’s official parachute demonstration team. With the low ceilings, the team did not get to participate with full demonstrations. However, the team did fly in the respective flags of Canada and the United States.

USAF F-16 Viper Demonstration Team

The USAF brought the F-16 demonstration team to showcase the multi-role lightweight fighter. Although the Viper has been in service for a number of years, it is still one of the most versatile production aircraft the world.

The F-16 Viper Demo team performed the USAF Heritage Flight along with a WWII era P-51 Mustang

RCAF 431 Demonstration Squadron – The Snowbirds

The Snowbirds are the Canadian Forces jet team, performing in the CT-114 Tutor.

RCAF History, one of the original demonstration aircraft and the current RCAF Jet Demonstration Team

Civilian Performers

The civilian performers were represented by Pete McLeod and Mike Tryggvason. Pete McLeod is from the London, Ontario area is is currently a participant in the Red Bull Air Races. Pete flies an Extra 300. Mike flies a Giles 202 is a relative new comer onto the airshow circuit.

RCAF CF-118 Hornet Demonstration Team and Heritage Flight

The theme to the 2018 Demonstration Team is a tribute to commemorating the 60th anniversary of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). 

CF-188 Hornet demo pilot Capt. Stefan Porteous waves to the crowd as he taxis after his performance.

The Hornet demo team joined up with the JAM Museum’s CT-133 Shooting Star and performed an all jet Heritage Flight. Two stunning paint schemes in the sky at the same time!

Jet Air Museum’s recently restored T-33 leads the RCAF CF-188 Hornet during the Heritage Flight.
Jet Air Museum’s debuted its newly restored T-33 “Red Knight” leads the Capt. Stefan Porteous in the CF-188 Hornet for the RCAF Heritage Flight.

Around the field

Just a few of the fighter tails on static display at 2018 Airshow London. Tails include F-15E, F-16, F-35C and F-35A.

2019 National Cherry Festival Air Show

The 2019 National Cherry Festival Air Show was held over the scenic Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City, Michigan on June 28-29. This year, the show featured the USAF Thunderbirds, F-22 Raptor Demo, USAF Heritage Flight, USMC AV-8 Harrier II Demo and the USCG Search And Rescue (SAR) Demo featuring two MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters from Air Station Traverse City.

USAF Thunderbirds

The USAF Thunderbirds were the featured performer of the National Cherry Festival Air Show. This was the first time I have seen the Thunderbirds perform here and the first time over the water. Some of the maneuvers were still as close as a traditional show, while others seemed to be farther. Regardless, it was a beautiful performance and well executed. The Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay served as the show center line.

USMC AV-8B Harrier II Demo

The AV-8B demo is becoming a rare occurrence with the aircraft type nearing retirement. Although the jet is being replaced in the fleet by the F-35B, the Harrier is still an impressive machine and will be around for a few more years. The Harrier is known for being a loud aircraft while hovering, and over the water was no exception. The high pitch shrill of the air is mind numbing. The aircraft is not known for its overall speed, but it is truly amazing to see the jet go from a standstill hover to just shy of the speed of sound in a matter of less than a minute. It is also amazing to see it slow down to a hover. This ability to take off and land vertically allows it to be deployed by the USMC near the front lines or off of assault carriers to be available for air support in a matter of minutes. This ability to be close to the action is why the Marines insisted on a VTOL variant of the F-35 when replacement of the Harrier was discussed. I am hoping that this was not my last view of this legendary aircraft.

USAF F-22 Raptor Demo

The USAF sent their premier air superiority fighter, the F-22 to perform for the large Cherry Festival audience. The F-22 is now over ten years old, but still amazes me every time it is flying. The aircraft is capable of things that a traditional fighter jet are unable to do. Saturday’s performance was scrubbed after a few maneuvers due to a technical glitch with the aircraft. For the safety of the crew and the thousands of onlookers, it was decided to scratch the rest of the demo, including the Heritage Flight. What we did get to see was still impressive.

USCG SAR Demo

For me, the highlight of the show was the USCG Search and Rescue (SAR) demo. Primarily because it was my first time seeing it performed with the MH-60T Jayhawks. This is an important role that the Coast Guard is responsible for and covers a vast area of space. Air Station Traverse City is responsible for all of Lake Michigan, most of Lake Superior and all of Lake Huron. In total, Air Station Traverse City is responsible for air operations over eight states.

If you have never experienced the National Cherry Festival or the Grand Traverse Bay area of Michigan, you are missing out. The event is a fantastic family affair with a number of attractions that appeal to everyone. Thanks for a great time and I look forward to returning.

A special shout out of gratitude to Susan Wilcox Olson (Media Consultant) and Wayne Moody (Air Show Event Director) for the last second media accommodations which resulted in a fantastic vantage point.