Vintage warplanes, a special Korean War 60th anniversary tribute, a flight performance by the star of Disney’s “Planes,” the world’s only flying B-29 Superfortress, “Fifi”, and world-class aerobatic performers are among the scheduled performers at the 29th Annual Wings Over Houston Airshow, which will be held Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 26-27, at Ellington Airport in Houston, Texas, sponsored by the Commemorative Air Force (CAF).
While there remains a question mark over the scheduled appearances of the USAF Thunderbirds, the A-10 Warthog West Coast Demo Team, Air Force Heritage Flight, a US Navy F-18 Super Hornet, a USMC AV-8 Harrier and the US Coast Guard Helicopter Dauphine MH65C, due to the sequestration of “non-essential” federal government expenditures, the organizers have nonetheless put together a full air show program that will be compelling in its own right. Says Bill Roach, the airshow director, “Although the Thunderbirds and other military acts are grounded from airshows due to federal government budget cuts, this enabled us to put together a show that includes a tribute to Korean War veterans, a terrific Disney “Planes” show, amazing aerobatic performances and significantly expanded activities for children. At Wings Over Houston, history comes to life with authentic aircraft demonstrations and re-enactments that honor our military veterans and active-duty service men and women.”
Civilian flight demonstrations will include aerial acrobatics by Michael Goulian in his EXTRA 330SC, the world’s most high-performance aerobatic airplane. Matt Younkin will perform in a Twin Beech 18, Paul Fiala, a pilot for more than 60 years that included service with the Blue Angels, will bring his Great Lakes biplane performance and the RE/MAX Skydive Team returns to open the show.
Vintage military flight demonstrations will include a special 60th Anniversary Korean War Tribute presentation; pilot Randy Ball’s performance in a MiG-17F fighter jet; “Fifi,” the world’s only flying B-29 Superfortress; the B-24/LB-30 “Diamond Lil,” one of only two flying “Liberator” bombers; as well as the C-45 Expeditor, “Bucket of Bolts.” Other flight demonstrations include the Disabled American Veterans’ B-25, “Special Delivery,” a Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star, and US Air Force Heritage Flight showcasing planes from different eras. The CAF’s “TORA TORA TORA” also returns to the show with its dramatic re-creation of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that signaled the beginning of American involvement in World War II.
Several museums and organizations will display vintage aircraft. The Texas Flying Legends Museum, based at Ellington Airport, offers a collection that includes a rare and flyable Japanese fighter plane, an A6M2 Model 21 Zero, as well as a B-25J Mitchell Bomber, two P-51D Mustangs, a P-40 Warhawk, and a F4U Corsair. Other organizations participating in this year’s show include Lone Star Flight Museum, Lewis Air Legends, Vietnam War Flight Museum and Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA).
The CAF’s Red Tail Squadron returns to this year’s show, showcasing its P-51C Mustang, “Tuskegee Airmen,” and its “Rise Above” Traveling Exhibit. Roach says the airshow, made possible by hundreds of volunteers and many generous donors and sponsors, had humble beginnings in 1985 and has grown into a Houston family tradition that also attracts a worldwide audience. Show proceeds benefit the CAF’s efforts to restore and maintain historic military aircraft, provide scholarships to aviation students and provide assistance to numerous non-profit organizations in the Houston metro area.
Another unique offering at the Wings Over Houston Air Show is their “Special Show,” held on the Friday before the air show weekend. Held for physically challenged young people the event provides the opportunity for them to get an up-close and personal look at the assembled aircraft without having to deal with the large crowds that accompany the weekend’s festivities.
More information on the show is available at the Wings Over Houston website.