Airshow News

This Week in Airshows: Monday 24th July

Our news page will be updated every Monday with a comprehensive analysis and discussion of the week’s news.  This week’s top stories are:


Red Bull Air Race Kazan: the results

For the first time, the Red Bull Air Race moved to Kazan, Russia. A thrilling weekend of racing ensued.
There were two separate Challenger Class races in Kazan; on Saturday, the re-scheduled Race 3 from Chiba, and on Sunday, Race 5. The first of the Challenger races was exceptionally close, with winner Luke Czepiela leading runner-up Daniel Ryfa by less than a tenth of a second. Ryfa’s time was burdened with a 2-second penalty, without which he would have easily taken the win. Ben Murphey, competing in only his first race for five months, took third.
The second of the Challenger races saw China’s Kenny Chiang race first, going on to win the race. Baptiste Vignes and Kevin Coleman came in second and third respectively. Ben Murphey deprived himself of second position with a penalty that pushed him into fifth place, and the most experienced of the six pilots, Daniel Ryfa, finished last after two pylon hits and an incorrect level.
Race 1 results                              Race 2 results                              Championship standings
1. Luke Czepiela (POL)                 1. Kenny Chaing (CHN)                 1. Florian Berger (26)
2. Daniel Ryfa (SWE)                     2. Baptiste Vignes (FRA)               2. Daniel Ryfa (24)
3. Ben Murphey (GBR)                 3. Kevin Coleman (USA)               3. Luke Czepiela (24)
4.  Daniel Genevey (HUN)           4. Melanie Astles (FRA)                 4. Kevin Coleman (16)
5. Melanie Astles (FRA)                5. Ben Murphey (GBR)                  5. Baptiste Vignes (14)
6. Baptiste Vignes (FRA)               6. Daniel Ryfa (SWE)                     6. Kenny Chiang (12)
7. Kenny Chaing (CHN)                                                                         7. Melanie Astles (12)
8. Kevin Coleman (USA)                                                                        8.  Ben Murphey (12)
                                                                                                                  9. Daniel Genevey (8)
Masterclass qualifying saw France’s Nicholas Ivanoff take the early lead, until Canada’s Pete McLeod stunned by smashing the track record by over a second. His time proved untouchable for the remainder of the day. Championship leader Yoshi Muroya and reigning champion Matthias Dolderer surprised by struggling all day long.
The Round of 14 proved particularly exciting, with very few pilots flying clean. The first heat saw Michael Goulian clip a pylon while attempting to beat Spain’s Juan Velarde, but the American still progressed as the fastest loser. Reigning champion Matthias Dolderer surprised by taking down one of the chicane gates, and is beaten by Kirby Chambliss despite the American also hitting a gate. Championship leader Yoshi Muroya was the next big name to fall when he hits a pylon and picks up an incorrect level penalty; Matt Hall’s single pylon hit was enough to see him though. The big names then continued to fall, as Nicholas Ivanoff also hit a gate, putting him behind Cristian Bolton, and Francois Le Vot narrowly beat Martin Sonka. Petr Podlunsek was having a bad day, with two pylon hits, as was Mika Brageot who hit a gate during a particularly ragged lap, after which he was resoundingly beaten by fastest qualifier Pete McLeod, who posted the fastest time of the day.
Come the Round of 8, Kirby Chambliss was first up, posting a very strong time that pushed Le Vot to clip a gate. Cristian Bolton was also hit hard by penalties, and although Michael Goulian made it hard for himself with a gate hit, he won his heat comfortably. Petr Kopfstein kept the judges busy as he tested the rulebook in his heat against Velarde, laying down the second-fastest time of the day so far, which the Spaniard was unable to match. Finally, Matt Hall was knocked out by a pylon hit, which allowed fastest qualifier Pete McLeod an easy passage.
This meant that for the first time in many years, there were three North Americans in the final four. Kirby Chambliss was up first, with a wind and ragged lap but a fast time which the other pilots were unable to beat. Petr Kopfstein was stung by two pylon hits, pushing him down into fourth place, while McLeod look second despite an incorrect level penalty. This had sweaping repercussions for the championship standings, with Chambliss moving into first place while Yoshi Muroya and Martin Sonka once again find themselves on level points. All in all, the top four pilots are within three points of each other, meaning the final three races of the season are sure to be very exciting.
Round 5 results                                                   Championship standings
1. Kirby Chambliss (USA)                                     1. Kirby Chambliss (40)
2. Pete McLeod (Canada)                                    2. Yoshi Muroya (39)
3. Michael Goulian (USA)                                     3. Martin Sonka (39)
4. Petr Kopfstein (CZE)                                         4. Pete McLeod (38)
5. Juan Velarde (ESP)                                            5. Peter Kopfstein (30)
6. Matt Hall (AUS)                                                 6. Matthias Dolderer (24)
7. Francois Le Vot (FRA)                                       7. Michael Goulian (23)
8. Cristian Bolton (CHI)                                        8. Juan Velarde (21)
9. Martin Sonka (CZE)                                           9. Matt Hall (16)
10. Matthias Dolderer (GER)                              10. Nicholas Ivanoff (14)
11. Nicholas Ivanoff (FRA)                                   11. Peter Podlunsek (12)
12. Mika Brageot (FRA)                                        12. Mika Brageot (9)
13. Yoshi Muroya (JPN)                                        13. Francois Le Vot (8)
14. Peter Podlunsek (SLO)                                  14. Cristian Bolton (7)

Joint Teignmouth and Dawlish airshow proposed

A new UK airshow split between two locations has been proposed for summer 2018. The event will feature one day of flying displays at Teignmouth and one at Dawlish, of which the latter hosted its own airshow until the organisers took a “break” following the 2015 show. Although blighted by persistent funding shortages, the Dawlish Airshow was voted the country’s best free airshow, largely due to its varied lineup and spectacular vantage points, such as the Smugglers Inn. It is likely that given the latest airshow regulations, many of these may be closed off during future airshows. A council meeting to discuss the show has been scheduled for Tuesday 25th July, with a decision to be taken at a later date.

A Strikemaster Mk.82 performs at the last Dawlish Airshow in August 2015. Photo: James Connolly

Warbird Heritage Foundation suspends operations

The Waukagen-based Warbird Heritage Foundation have suspended flight operations and cancelled all 2017 airshow appearences following the loss of P-51D Mustang “Baby Duck”, which killed pilot Vlad Lenoch on Sunday 16th July. In a statement, the Foundation said “All of us at the Warbird Heritage Foundation are deeply saddened at the death of our close friend and superb fellow pilot, Vlado Lenoch. Vlado and a passenger passed away yesterday morning while flying in our P-51 Mustang, “Baby Duck”. The Warbird Heritage Foundation will make no further comment regarding this tragic event until after the FAA, NTSB, and other relevant parties have completed their respective investigations. Effective immediately, all WHF flight operations will be temporarily suspended until further notice. Also, the Warbird Heritage Foundation is cancelling the airshow appearances of all of our aircraft for the remainder of the 2017 airshow season.” The collection fly a number of aircraft including the T-2 Buckeye, A-4 Skyhawk and F-86 Sabre, and were scheduled to fly at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, among other events.

Vlado Lenoch performs in his P-51D Mustang in 2016. Photo: Nathan Thompson

Quad City Airshow up for auction

Three hangars full of airshow equipment used to run the Quad City Airshow have gone under the hammer this week, raising further doubts about the show’s future. The show’s main organiser, Ken Hopper, cancelled the 2017 show to reassess the event, and has apparently moved from Ohio to North Carolina since then. Equipment up for sale include an aircraft tug and fire truck. Hopper has been difficult to reach and is not responding to inquiries by the press, nor is the airshow’s Facebook page confirming the motive behind the sale or the intended future of the event.

A T-33 Shooting Star takes off from Davenport for the Quad City Airshow 2015. Photo: Alex Ohde

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh set to thrill
The world’s largest airshow, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, takes off today in Wisconsin, USA. The show runs from the 24th-31st July and features a number of unique acts; the most recent announcement is a trio of P-63 Kingcobras flying with a P-39 Aircobra in the air display. We’ve given our round-up of the highlights of each sector of the show:
Monday afternoon: USAF B-1B Lancer arrival, Warbirds of America arrival, Charles Lindbergh tribute, Bob Hoover tribute
Tuesday afternoon: Homebuilts review, Warbirds of America show (including x2 B-29, B-25s), USAF Heritage Flight (F-35A, A-10, P-51D)
Wednesday afternoon: Vintage review, Warbirds of America show, USAF Heritage Flight (F-35A, P-51D)
Wednesday evening: Doolittle Raid tribute (x16 B-25), USAF B-1B Lancer, fireworks
Thursday afternoon: Warbirds of America show, USAF Heritage Flight (x2 A-10, P-51), Blue Angels diamond orientation flight
Friday morning: Blue Angels solos & Fat Albert orientation flight
Friday afternoon: Warbirds of America show, B-29s “Doc” & “FiFi”, Blue Angels, USAF Heritage Flight (F-35A, A-10, P-51D)
Saturday afternoon: Warbirds of America show (including B-1B, B-2A, B-52H & x2 B-29, A-20, B-17s, B-25s), USAF Heritage Flight (F-35A, A-10, P-51D), Blue Angels
Saturday night: Fat Albert, fireworks
Sunday afternoon: USAF Heritage Flight (F-35A, A-10, P-51D), Blue Angels non-aerobatic demonstration
Static display: USAF B-1B Lancer, USAF B-2A Spirit, USAF B-52H Stratofortress, USAF KC-135 Stratotanker, USAF F-35A Lightning II, USAF A-10 Thunderbold II, USN P-8A Poseidon, RAF A400M Atlas, UPS 767-300F, B-29s “Doc” & “FiFi”, OV-1 Mohawk, C-123K Thunder Pig, New Shepard Reusable Rocket
Featured aircraft & gatherings: Piper Cub, Cessna 190/195, Christen Eagle  II, Extra EA, Lockheed Vega, Ryan aircraft, Wittman Buttercup, Questair Venture, RotorWay helicopters

The US Navy Blue Angels will be making a welcome return to Oshkosh this year. Photo: Alex Ohde

Listen to our Smoke On podcast from RIAT 2017:

News in Brief

  • The annual Bob Jones Memorial Airshow in Welshpool, UK, will not go ahead next year due to mounting costs and low attendance.
  • The RAF Chinook Display Team were limited to a flypast at the Scottish Airshow due to “limitations imposed by recent changes in CAA regulations”.
  • The Jersey Airshow will include the UK debuts of the SwAFHF J-32 Lansen, Baltic Bees Jet Team and Breguet Br.1050 Alize in the flying display.
  • The Lens Airshow has been cancelled due to higher-than-expected policing and security costs. The RCAF’s CF-18 participation at other airshows that weekend appears to be going ahead.
  • The Sunderland Echo are reporting that Mike Ling, Red 10 and display commentator with the RAF Red Arrows, will be leaving the team after 9 years this season.
  • A 32,000 square foot hangar will be constructed in Witcha, Kansas, to house B-29 Superfortress “Doc” and an educational facility.
  • Flying Legends 2018 will take place on the 14th-15th July, clashing with the RAF’s centenary celebrations at the Royal International Air Tattoo.
  • The Twister Duo, FireFlies and Otto the Helicopter have been confirmed for the Clacton Airshow’s evening display.
  • The Global Stars Aerobatic Team have been added to the Scampton Airshow lineup.

The next news update will be on Monday 31st July.