Category Archives: Airshow News America

TBM Avenger ditches in the sea at Cocoa Beach Airshow

COCOA BEACH | A TBM Avenger has made a forced landing in the sea while taking part in the Cocoa Beach Airshow today (Saturday 17th April).

A video posted by Spectrum News 13 reporter Greg Pallone on Twitter shows the aircraft making a controlled water landing in front of spectators. Mr Pallone said nobody was injured in the incident.

The aircraft belongs to the Valiant Air Command, a Titusville-based aviation museum which also operates a number of airworthy warbirds such as a B-25 Mitchell, C-47 Dakota and F-86 Sabre. The Avenger, which the museum have owned since 2002, recently completed an 18-year restoration to flight, returning to the air in January 2020.

The Valiant Air Command said salvage efforts would continue into the night. “We are planning to float her to the Port Canaveral harbor area and crane her out there,” they said.

“The pilot performed the safest ditch maneuver possible and landed the plane just offshore from Patrick Space Force Base. He was taken to hospital after walking away from the crash landing, and has been released with no injuries.”

A fundraiser has been launched to cover the costs of the aircraft’s restoration, but it has not been determined whether this will be to flying or static condition.

The aircraft was taking part in the Cocoa Beach Airshow, one of the first events of the North American 2021 airshow season. Taking place over the 17th-18th September, it was expected to attract up to 50,000 visitors per day. As well as the TBM, performers include the USAF F-22A Raptor and the Thunderbirds (the latter will be debuting their new 2021 display profile at the show).

Sunday’s show is not expected to be affected.

Thunder Over Niagara Open House 2021 cancelled

NIAGARA FALLS | This year’s edition of Thunder Over Niagara Open House, which had been due to host one of the top airshow line ups in North America, has been cancelled.

Originally scheduled for the 19th-20th June at Niagara ARS, NY, the show had been due to feature the US Navy Blue Angels and USAF F-16C Viper Demo Team, as well as the Canadian Forces Snowbirds and CF-188A Hornet in the flying display. The latter two acts would have likely operated from Canada to avoid travel restrictions, and the show was due to be their only early-season appearance in the United States this year.

Lt. Col. Ben Canetti, the airshow’s director, said on Facebook: “We have received tremendous support within the community and NY State gave us their approval to host the event. With that being said, Air Force Reserve Command decided today it was not in their best interest to host the event during the current environment.

“I am truly sorry for the performers, staff, volunteers and most of all the entire Western New York community. At this time we do not have a future date or know what this means for the show in the near future. Hopefully at some point we will rebound from this and bring it back with the same exciting lineup we’ve all become accustomed to. We as the staff have been working this for over a year and are truly saddened like you, so again, we are sorry for the bad news.”

Thunder Over Niagara was last held in 2011, 2015 and 2018.

Blue Angels and Thunderbirds debut epic “Super Delta” 12-ship formation

EL CENTRO | The Blue Angels and Thunderbrids have joined forces for an incredible 12-ship formation, known as the Super Delta, during joint training sessions at El Centro.

Photo: US Department of Defense

Six F-16CJs of the Thunderbirds joined together with the six new F/A-18E Super Hornets of the Blue Angels for the first time on Tuesday to perform a flypast over Imperial Valley, passing over the Blue Angels’ new C-130J Hercules support plane on the ground below.

The Blue Angels said that they will “virtually debut a full flight” on most major US news networks during the Memorial Day weekend on the 29th-31st of May. Although not confirmed, this suggests the two teams may perform a similar flyby during Memorial Day events, due to be broadcast on live television.

Photo: US Department of Defense

The Thunderbirds recently arrived at El Centro, the Blue Angels’ winter training base, for one week of joint training. The two teams very rarely appear at airshows together, but the camp is designed to help the two teams trade lessons learned and best practices ahead of the new airshow season. Described by the Department of Defense as an annual event, the tradition began only last year.

Last year, the two teams performed joint flypasts as part of Operation America Strong, which saw them fly over cities across the US to honour front line workers during the coronavirus pandemic. However, on that occasion, the two teams flew in a pair of six-ship formations some distance apart from each other.

Countries will multiple military aerobatic teams have often combined their teams into a single performance to mark significent events. In 2014, the two aerobatic teams of the Swiss Air Force performed a specially-choreographed, jaw-dropping 15-minute show, featuring 15 aircraft, to mark the air arm’s centenary. The Russian Knights and Swifts regularly combine to perform loops and flypasts in a single formation before the two teams perform their individual routines, and last month, the two aerobatic teams of the Indian Air Force staged a 20-minute combined demonstration for the first time, featuring nine fast jets and four helicopters.

These are the eight shows which have lost the USAF F-35 Demo Team

Following last week’s announcement that the USAF F-35A Lightning II Demo Team’s show season will be cut back by more than a third, an update to Air Combat Command’s airshow calendar indicates which airshows have been dropped from the schedule.

Nine shows have been dropped due to a fleet-wide shortage of engines, which are apparently exceeding their design limits when in use. This has led to a shorter engine life and more calls for replacement parts and repairs. The reduction in airshow flights will avoid exacerbating the problem, and help ensure that the fleet’s operational readiness is not affected.

These are the nine shows which will no longer be featuring the Demo Team this year:

United States COCOA BEACH AIRSHOW, COCOA BEACH, 17th-18th APR | The F-35A Lightning II has been replaced with the F-22A Raptor. The airshow is also due to be headlined by the Thunderbirds.

United States HANGAR 24 SBD AIR FEST, REDLANDS, 15th-16th MAY | The airshow was due to be headlined by the F-35, but the event has been cancelled entirely.

United States OREGON INT’L AIRSHOW, HILLSBORO, 21st-23rd MAY | The airshow was due to be headlined by the F-35, but the event has been cancelled entirely.

United States GREAT TENNESSEE AIRSHOW, SMYRNA, 5th-6th JUN | The F-35A Lightning II has been cancelled with no replacement scheduled. The airshow is due to be headlined by the Thunderbirds.

United States DEKE SLAYTON AIRFEST, LA CROSSE, 12th-13th JUN | The F-35A Lightning II has been cancelled with no replacement scheduled. The airshow is due to be headlined by the Blue Angels.

United States OWENSBORO AIRSHOW, OWENSBORO, 14th-15th AUG | The F-35A Lightning II has been replaced with the F-16C Fighting Falcon. The airshow is due to be headlined by the Blue Angels.

Canada VOLARIA AERONAUTICS FESTIVAL, MONTREAL, 18th-19th SEP | The F-35A Lightning II has been cancelled with no replacement scheduled. The airshow is due to be headlined by the Canadian Forces Snowbirds and CF-118A Hornet.

United States CENTRAL FLORIDA AIR & SPACE SHOW, SANFORD, 16th-17th OCT | The F-35A Lightning II has been cancelled with no replacement scheduled. The airshow is due to be headlined by the Thunderbirds.

United States BLUE ANGELS HOMECOMING, PENSACOLA, 5th-6th NOV | The F-35A Lightning II has been cancelled with no replacement scheduled. The airshow is due to be headlined by the Blue Angels.

Additionally, the team’s schedule still includes the Planes of Fame Airshow in Chino this May, despite the event having been postponed to October. It is not clear whether any of the ACC demonstration teams will participate in the rescheduled show.

Airshows still due to feature the F-35 Demo Team are the Atlanta Airshow, Gig Harbor Wings & Wheels, the Tri-City Water Follies, Arctic Lightning Airshow, Thunder Over Michigan, Chicago Air & Water Show, Canadian International Air Show, California Capital Airshow, Great Pacific Airshow and Los Angeles County Airshow.

Two simultanious air displays will help spread crowd at AirVenture 2021

OSHKOSH | EAA AirVenture, the world’s largest aviation celebration is planning a comprehensive set of public safety measures to help ensure this year’s edition can proceed as planned.

Afternoon airshows at this year’s show will be split across two seperate aerobatic boxes for some performances, organisers confirmed today, to help encourage spectators to spread out across the airfield. Aircraft capable of performing within a small aerobatic box will perform simultaniously, with one demonstration at each end of the main runway.

“This is one way that will allow us to spread the crowd more evenly along the entire flightline instead of having the major density at air show center,” said Dennis Dunbar, EAA’s director of flight operations.

“Imagine, for instance, Vicky Benzing flying her Stearman in the north box with her own announcer while Patty Wagstaff flies her Extra in the south box, also with her own music and announcer. We’ll manage the schedule so that later in the week those acts will change locations, so if you’re camping down in the vintage area or volunteering up in warbirds, you’ll still see all the performers throughout the week.”

The full flightline will be used for aircraft requiring a larger aerobatic box, such as warbirds and military jets.

Other safety measures already announced include encouraging visitors to wear masks whenever social distancing is not possible, decreasing the use of indoor exhibition spaces and axing some events where social distancing cannot be enforced, such as the International Visitors Dinner. Further measures are still being considered.

This year’s AirVenture will take place from the 26th July-1st August.

F-35 Demo Team schedule cut back following fleet-wide engine problems

The US Air Force’s F-35A Lightning Demo Team will have around eight shows axed from their 2021 airshow schedule following fleet-wide engine problems, according to Bloomberg.

Engines on the F-35A have been found to be running closer than expected to their design limits, causing cracks and delamination of the engines’ turbine blade coating. This is requiring early engine repairs and replacements, despite new engines already being in short supply, Bloomberg reported.

As a result, the F-35 Demo Team’s activities will be scaled back to avoid aggrevating the situation. It is not yet clear which shows will be dropped, but the Great Tennessee Airshow has already replaced the F-35 Demo Team with the F-16 Demo Team on its website. AirshowStuff reports that other Air Combat Command demonstration teams – namely the F-16C, A-10C and F-22A – will fill in for the F-35 at events it can no longer attend.

The fleet-wide engine problems are not said to be a safety concern, and have not affected the fleet’s operational readiness.

Ground-breaking all-female edition of Oregon International Airshow postponed to 2022

HILLSBORO | A ground-breaking all-female edition of the Oregon International Airshow due to be held in Hillsboro this May has been postponed to 2022.

The airshow, which was the first of two events planned by the Oregon International Airshow this year, was cancelled out of “an abundance of caution, to provide the safest environment possible for our guests, performers, volunteers and everyone in the community,” organisers said. This is despite organisers admitting that the environment for large outdoor events is likely to be improving by the intended show dates of the 21st-22nd May.

Organisers also attempted to move the show to a date later in 2021, but said they were unsuccessful in finding dates that worked. Most of North America’s military airshow performers have already finalised busy 2021 schedules, making it difficult to reschedule a major event.

The airshow in Hillsboro was to be an all-female affair, with exclusively female performers, commentators and air boss – a feat which organisers said was a world first. Performers were due to include the US Air Force’s F-35A Demo Team.

The theme was initially planned for the Oregon International Airshow 2020 in Hillsboro – also cancelled because of the coronavirus – and organisers decided to roll the event back to 2021 in addition to their already-planned conventional airshow in McMinnville. The McMinnville show will be held on the 30th July and 1st August 2021, featuring the US Air Force Thunderbirds and F-22A Raptor Demo Team, and is still expected to go ahead.

As with this year, postponing Hillsboro’s all-women show now means that two Oregon International Airshows are planned for 2022. The twice-postponed Hillsboro event will take place on an unconfirmed weekend in May, and will retain its all-women theme, while a show at McMinnville will take place on the 20th-21st August, featuring the US Navy Blue Angels. It will be the Blue Angels’ first display in the state for seven years.

Ticket holders for the May 2021 show have three options, according to the airshow website: use the ticket at the May 2022 event, exchange it for tickets to the July/August 2021 show in McMinnville, or request a refund.

Rhode Island Airshow cancelled for third consecutive year

QUONSET | The Rhode Island National Guard Open House & Airshow 2021 has been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, marking the third time the event has been abandoned in as many years.

According to NBC 10 WJAR, the Rhode Island National Guard made the “difficult” decision to cancel their flagship public event after deciding that there was “no safe way to host this beloved event and deliver that same experience that makes it so cherished.”

It is the second year that the airshow has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, while 2019’s event was scrapped because of troop deployments that left the event short-staffed. The 2013 show was cancelled due to federal budget cuts.

The Rhode Island Airshow 2021 had been scheduled for the weekend of the 26th-27th June and had been due to feature the USAF A-10 Demo Team and the GEICO Skytypers, among others. It had also been hoped that the event could have attracted the USAF Thunderbirds, who have no other commitments that weekend.

Thunderbirds schedule shake-up: two shows added to team’s 2021 calendar

Two new airshows have been added to the USAF Thunderbirds’ 2021 airshow schedule, with one filling the gap left by a cancelled event.

The OC Airshow in Ocean City, Maryland, will feature the Thunderbirds for the second year running, following the cancellation of the Star-Spangled Salute at Tinker AFB on the same date. Ocean City was one of the few venues to welcome the Thunderbirds in 2020, and the first major seafront airshow since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Scheduled for the 19th-20th June 2021, it will also feature the F-22 Raptor and GEICO Skytypers.

Also added to the team’s schedule is the Greater Binghamton Airshow in New York state, filling a previously open slot on the 17th-18th July. Last held in 2014 and 2018, the Greater Binghamton Airshow had been due to return in July 2020, but was postponed by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Little was known about the rescheduled event until today’s announcement.

The Thunderbirds have two further open dates on their schedule, caused by the cancellation of Gowen Thunder on the 28th-29th August and and the Westfield Airshow, cancelled earlier this week, on the 14th-15th August. Further schedule changes are likely as the pandemic continues to affect the 2021 airshow season.

The team’s schedule, as of the 29th January 2021, is as follows:

Date Show Location Country
Apr 17-18 United States Cocoa Beach Airshow Cocoa Beach USA (FL)
Apr 24-25 United States Davis-Monthan AFB: Thunder & Lightning Over Arizona Tuscon USA (AZ)
May 1-2 United States Sound of Speed Airshow St. Joseph USA (MO)
May 8-9 United States Barksdale AFB: Defenders of Liberty Airshow Shreveport USA (LA)
May 30-31 United States Bethpage Airshow Jones Beach USA (NY)
Jun 5-6 United States The Great Tennessee Air Show Smyrna USA (TN)
Jun 12-13 United States Fairchild AFB: Inland Northwest Skyfest Spokane USA (WA)
Jun 19-20 United States Tinker AFB: Star Spangled Salute Air & Space Show Oklahoma City USA (OK)
Jun 19-20 United States OC Airshow Ocean City USA (MD)
Jul 3-4 United States National Cherry Festival Airshow Traverse City USA (MI)
Jul 10-11 United States Dayton Airshow Dayton USA (OH)
Jul 17-18 United States Greater Binghamton Airshow Binghamton USA (NY)
Jul 24-25 United States Milwaukee Air & Water Show Milwaukee USA (WI)
Jul 28 United States F E Warren AFB: Cheyenne Frontier Days Cheyenne USA (WY)
Jul 31-Aug 1 United States Oregon International Air Show McMinnville USA (OR)
Aug 14-15 United States Barnes ARGB: Westfield International Airshow Springfield USA (MA)
Aug 18 United States Thunder Over the Boardwalk Atlantic City USA (NJ)
Aug 28-29 United States Gowen Thunder Open House & Airshow Boise USA (ID)
Sep 4-6 United States Cleveland National Airshow Cleveland USA (OH)
Sep 11-12 United States Pease Open House Newington USA (NH)
Sep 18-19 United States National Championship Air Races Reno USA (NV)
Sep 15-16 United States California Capital Airshow Sacramento USA (CA)
Oct 2-3 Puerto Rico Puerto Rican Aerial Extravaganza Cieba Puerto Rico
Oct 9-10 United States Wings Over Houston Houston USA (TX)
Oct 16-17 United States Central Florida Air & Space Show Sanford USA (FL)
Oct 23-24 United States Los Angeles County Airshow Lancaster USA (CA)
Oct 30-31 United States California Int’l Airshow Salinas USA (CA)

Initial performer list announced for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2021

OSHKOSH | The Experimental Aircraft Association have announced the initial performer list for this year’s AirVenture, which is set to include some of North America’s top aerobatic pilots.

EAA vice president of communications Rick Larson praised the “fantastic” line up, adding: “We’re just getting started. There is a particularly high energy among the air show community to get back to Oshkosh in 2021, whether it’s returning performers, new air show acts, or particular aircraft connected with specific events and anniversaries.”

The perfomers will take part in a total of nine aerial displays across seven days, including two night shows. The exact line up for each day will be announced closer to the show. Performers are currently due to include:

  • GEICO Skytypers (x6 SNJ-2)
  • AeroShell Aerobatic Team (x4 AT-6 Texan)
  • Red Bull Air Force (Edge 540 & Bo.105)
  • Redline Airshows (x2 Vans RV-8)
  • Vicky Benzing (Boeing Stearman)
  • Jeff Boerboon (Yak-110)
  • Wild Blue Rodeo (Vans RV-8)
  • Bob Carlton (SubSonex JSX-2)
  • Kevin Coleman (Extra 300 SHP)
  • Kyle Fowler (Rutan Long-EZ)
  • Kyle Franklin comedy act (Piper Super Cub)
  • Michael Goulian (Extra 330SC)
  • Matt Younkin (Beech 18)
  • Nathan Hammond (Super Chipmunk)
  • Rob Holland (MX-2)
  • Dell Coller (Jet Waco)
  • Jim Peitz (Beech 33C Bonanza)
  • Gene Soucy (Grumman Showcat)
  • Bill Stein (Edge 540)
  • Skip Stewart (Pitts S2S)
  • Patty Wagstaff (Extra 330LX)
  • David Martin (Beech 58 Baron)

EAA say that further performers will be announced as they are finalised. Already self-confirmed is the USAF F-16C Viper Demo Team, while the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, who were due to participate in the cancelled 2020 edition, have listed an open date on their schedule during AirVenture.

The US Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) are also expected to participate, as well as a variety of WWII warbirds, such as F6F Hellcat “Death ‘N Destruction”, B-29 Superfortress “Doc” and P-51C Mustang “Tuskegee Airmen”. Both AFSOC and the end of WWII are due to be major themes of this year’s show.

Airshow organisers are considering multiple measures to cope with the coronavirus pandemic, which the chairman of AirVenture Jack Pelton said could include mask mandates on-site and the establishment of multiple show centres, with acts alternating between the two show lines to help spread crowds across the airfield.

AirVenture will take place on the 26th July-1st August at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, WI.