This Week in Airshows: Monday 19th November

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


Sonka takes RBAR World Championship with stunning race win

Martin Sonka has won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship 2018 in a spectacular two-way dual with Matt Hall at the Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday.

Predrag Vuckovic/Red Bull Content Pool

The Czech pilot had already beaten title leader Michael Goulian of the USA in the Round of 8, and went on to post a stunning time in the Final 4 which saw him finish just ahead of Australian pilot Matt Hall, who had also been gunning for the championship.

Finishing in third place was Kirby Chambliss of the USA, with Britain’s Ben Murphy ending the season on a high with a second consecutive fourth place finish. Murphy ends his season with more points than any other Challenger Class graduate has accumulated in their first year. He sits seventh in the title standings.

Sebastian Marko / Red Bull Content Pool

Goulian, who finished eight in the race, was knocked down to third in the title standings. Mika Brageot of France and 2017 World Champion Yoshi Muroya of Japan found themselves knocked out in the Round of 8, ending their season fourth and fifth in the title standings respectively.

It was a frustrating race for Matthias Dolderer, who won Qualifying but finished 13th on race day, meaning the 2016 World Champion from Germany ended his season in 12th place overall.

Joerg Mitter / Red Bull Content Pool

While several team changes have been announced, including the retirement of Kirby Chambliss’ long-time technician Jason Ressop, no pilot retirements have been announced, meaning 2019’s lineup of pilots could be the same as this year’s.


P-51D Mustang crash kills pilot and WWII veteran

Two people were killed, including a WWII B-17 pilot, when a P-51D Mustang crashed in Texas on Saturday.

P-51D Mustang “Pecos Bill” came down in a residential area of Fredericksburg, TX, at around 15:00 local time on Saturday 17th November. The aircraft was operating a passenger flight and had been attempting to return to Gillespie County Airport at the time of the crash.

The accident killed pilot and owner Cowden Ward and his passenger, a WWII B-17 pilot who has not been named.

Trig Team land for the final time

One of Britain’s most popular two-ship aerobatics teams has announced it will not return for the 2019 season.

The Trig Aerobatic Team, who flew a pair of yellow and brown Pitts S-1D biplanes, made their display debut in 2014, and have performed at shows across the UK since then. Now, the pilots, Dave Pulleston and Richard Grace, will be focussing on their latest venture, Ultimate Warbird Flights.

Ultimate Warbird Flights will provide passenger flight experiences in Spitfires and other warbirds, as well as providing air displays and filming work. The pair will continue to work with Trig Avionics in the coming years.

Airprox report reveals Cosford close call

A Spitfire arriving for the Cosford Airshow this year passed within just 40 feet of an RAF Chinook, an Airprox report has revealed.

The Hangar 11 Collection’s Spitfire PR Mk.XI was cleared for a run-and-break after an RAF Chinook completed its display practice, but, unknown to the Spitfire pilot, the helicopter was still hovering near the runway when he approached the airfield. The two aircraft then passed within 40 feet of each other as the Spitfire performed a low level pass just 30 feet above the runway and adjacent to the hovering Chinook.

Airfield procedures stipulated that the Spitfire pilot should have been no lower than 500 feet during his manoeuvre, but the Airprox investigation found this had not been communicated clearly to participating air display pilots. The Spitfire pilot said he had been performing similar low-level arrivals at the Cosford Airshow for over a decade without ever being questioned or criticised.

The Joint Helicopter Command praised the crew of the Chinook for rapidly moving out of the Spitfire’s pass and averting disaster.

Saskatchewan Airshow returns after 14 years

The Saskatchewan Airshow is set to return to CFB Moose Jaw next July, headlined by the CF Snowbirds, 14 years after the event was scrapped in 2005.

Local media report that the base’s Wing Commander, Col. Dennis O’Reilly, was central to the show’s return.

CBF Moose Jaw is the home base of the Snowbirds, and has featured a number of smaller and private air displays since the last major airshow was held there in 2005.

The show returns on the 6th-7th July 2019.

Photo: Nathan Thompson

Davidson stuns with South Africa’s first pyro air display

South African aerobatic champion and Red Bull Air Race Challenger Class pilot Patrick Davidson has performed South Africa’s first ever pyro air display. The display took place during the three-day Durban Diwali Festival, with Davidson flying his two-seat Sbach plane. It is believed to be the first such show in the southern hemisphere.

Relive the highlights of the 2018 airshow season with our latest video:

News in Brief

  • The Russian Knights, Frecce Tricolori, Al Fursan and Global Stars have been confirmed for the Bahrain Airshow later this month.
  • One of China’s newest military aerobatic teams, Red Falcon, who fly eight JL-8s, will make their first appearence at Airshow China in Zhuhai this month.

The next news update will be on Monday 26th November