Culpeper Airfest 2015 – Airshow Review

Wing walker extraordinaire, Chuck Tippett, gesturing his thanks to the crowd, and pointing to his world-class display pilot, Kirk Wicker from the Bealeton Flying Circus. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Wing walker extraordinaire, Chuck Tippett, gesturing his thanks to the crowd, and pointing to his world-class display pilot, Kirk Wicker from the Bealeton Flying Circus. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Wing walker extraordinaire, Chuck Tippett, gesturing his thanks to the crowd, and pointing to his world-class display pilot, Kirk Wicker from the Bealeton Flying Circus. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

The Culpeper Airfest, dubbed the “best little air show in the east” took place under glorious autumn skies on Saturday, October 10th. While it may not have had the heavy iron of a major air show, it was still filled with marvelous, rare aircraft on display, and some fabulous flying. The organizers, event staff and performers all worked incredibly hard to create an intimate, and enjoyable day of fun for the 10,000 or so spectators who came to take it all in. For such a ‘small’ show, there were some exceptional acts in attendance, such as the magnificent biplanes from the nearby Bealeton Flyng Circus, Art Nalls with his unique, airworthy Sea Harrier, Larry Kelley and his B-25J ‘Panchito’, former Space Shuttle pilot and F-14 test pilot Joe Edwards with his T-28B Trojan aerobatics routine,  the CAF National Capitol Wing’s TBM Avenger, a pair of P-51D Mustangs, two dozen or so T-6/SNJ Texans, two additional T-28s, a T-34, Yaks and CJs, as well as numerous L-birds and several high performance aerobatic aircraft as well.Rides were on offer in several of the aircraft, including B-25J ‘Panchito’ and John Corradi’s magnificent deep red WACO YMF.

John Corradi's WACO YMF about to depart with a passenger aboard. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
John Corradi’s WACO YMF about to depart with a passenger aboard. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

The locally-based National Capitol Wing of the Commemorative Air Force also put their recently-restored Grumman TBM-3E Avenger and L-5 Sentinel into the skies as well, while their BT-13 Valiant sat proudly on the tarmac, minus its engine, which is still in need of funding for overhaul (anyone wishing to help should click HERE). The CAF Old Dominion Squadron sent their OY-1 Sentinel as well.

Based with the growing Delaware Aviation Museum in Georgetown, Delaware, Panchito is the star exhibit. Larry Kelley has flown the Mitchell bomber on the airshow circuit continuously for well over a decade now, and she’s a regular attendee at air shows all up and down the US East Coast. She attends Oshkosh every year, and often campaigns on behalf of the Disabled American Veterans charity, an organization which helps get wounded US veterans the care they are entitled too, and a cause which Larry Kelley believes in deeply. Kelley has also worked tirelessly to support the remembrance of the Doolittle Raiders; playing a major role in organizing many of the reunion events in their name for many years. Panchito has also been offering donation rides at air shows in recent years. Flying  in a B-25 bomber is an extraordinary experience. The B-25 is a powerful aircraft, with a much more spirited flight envelope than a four-engined heavy. People interested in flying aboard the aircraft should check the Delaware Aviation Museum’s website for details.

Panchito also regularly works with the US Navy’s test pilot’s school at Patuxent River.

Larry Kelley and Calvin Peacock taxi out for takeoff in Panchito. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Larry Kelley and Calvin Peacock taxi out for takeoff in Panchito. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Panchito lifts into the autumn skies over Culpeper, Virginiai. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Panchito lifts into the autumn skies over Culpeper, Virginiai. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Panchito lifts into the autumn skies as the locally based CAF National Capitol Squadron's TBM starts up in a cloud of smoke. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Panchito lifts into the autumn skies as the locally based CAF National Capitol Squadron’s TBM starts up in a cloud of smoke. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Panchito touches down again after another successful sortie with a full load of passengers enjoying the ride. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Panchito touches down again after another successful sortie with a full load of passengers enjoying the ride. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
The locally based CAF National Capitol Squadron's TBM-3E Avenger taxies out for takeoff. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
The locally based CAF National Capitol Squadron’s TBM-3E Avenger taxies out for takeoff. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
The Avenger thunders into the sky. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
The Avenger thunders into the sky. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
The Avenger touches down after her performance. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
The Avenger touches down after her performance. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Former Space Shuttle pilot and F-14 Tomcat test pilot Joe Edwards thrilled the crowd with a beautiful aerobatic demonstration in his T-28B Trojan. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Former Space Shuttle pilot and F-14 Tomcat test pilot Joe Edwards thrilled the crowd with a beautiful aerobatic demonstration in his T-28B Trojan. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Wing walker Chuck Tippett climbs out onto the wing of the Stearman while Kirk Wicker flies her straight and level. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Wing walker Chuck Tippett climbs out onto the wing of the Stearman while Kirk Wicker flies her straight and level. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Wing walker Chuck Tippett peering over the wing of the Stearman while Kirk Wicker pulls her into a turn. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Wing walker Chuck Tippett peering over the wing of the Stearman while Kirk Wicker pulls her into a turn. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Pulling the Stearman down low along the runway with the fall colors sparkling on the trees behind. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Pulling the Stearman down low along the runway with the fall colors sparkling on the trees behind. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Wing walker Chuck Tippett holding on to his post by just the toes of his right foot as Kirk Wicker puts the Stearman into a roll. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Wing walker Chuck Tippett holding on to his post by just the toes of his right foot as Kirk Wicker puts the Stearman into a roll. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Mike Dale taking to the skies in his Percival Provost, one of the aircraft he actually flew during his RAF training more than five decades earlier. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Mike Dale taking to the skies in his Percival Provost, one of the aircraft he actually flew during his RAF training more than five decades earlier. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Major General Tommy Williams lifts off in Andrew McKenna's magnificent P-51D Mustang to perform a faultless aerobatics routine. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Major General Tommy Williams lifts off in Andrew McKenna’s magnificent P-51D Mustang to perform a faultless aerobatics routine. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Major General Tommy Williams folds the gear on the Mustang as it gains airspeed. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Major General Tommy Williams folds the gear on the Mustang as it gains airspeed. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Two WACOs and two Stearman biplanes from the Bealeton Flying Circus fly by in formation. Based nearby in Bealeton, the Flying Circus thrills the crowds every Sunday from May to the end of October each year since the early 1970s. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Two WACOs and two Stearman biplanes from the Bealeton Flying Circus fly by in formation. Based nearby in Bealeton, the Flying Circus thrills the crowds every Sunday from May to the end of October each year since the early 1970s. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
John Corradi lands his magnificent scarlet WACO YMF reproduction following his display routine. A Viet Nam veteran, Corradi is one of the stalwarts of the Bealeton Flying Circus, located just down the road from Culpeper in Bealeton, Virginia. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
John Corradi lands his magnificent scarlet WACO YMF reproduction following his display routine. A Viet Nam veteran, Corradi is one of the stalwarts of the Bealeton Flying Circus, located just down the road from Culpeper in Bealeton, Virginia. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Once known as 'Tempus Fugit', this two-seat Mustang made a spectacular appearance at the Culpeper Airfest. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Once known as ‘Tempus Fugit’, this two-seat Mustang made a spectacular appearance at the Culpeper Airfest. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
The TF-converted Mustang takes to the skies. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
The TF-converted Mustang takes to the skies. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
This Mustang received modifications to dual-control TF configuration in the late 1990s. She no longer wears the name 'Tempus Fugit', a name long associated with her. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
This Mustang received modifications to dual-control TF configuration in the late 1990s. She no longer wears the name ‘Tempus Fugit’, a name long associated with her. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Art Nalls made a fabulous entrance with his Hawker Sea Harrier FA2. His all-black L-39 Albatross also made a spirited performance at the air show. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Art Nalls made a fabulous entrance with his Hawker Sea Harrier FA2. His all-black L-39 Albatross also made a spirited performance at the air show. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
The CAF Old Dominion Squadron's Stinson OY-1 Sentinel was one of several L-birds performing at the show, including the locally based National Capitol Squadron's L-5 Sentinel. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
The CAF Old Dominion Squadron’s Stinson OY-1 Sentinel was one of several L-birds performing at the show, including the locally based National Capitol Wing’s L-5 Sentinel. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Scott Francis in his remarkably agile MXS aerobatics aircraft thrilled the crowds. His demonstration was one of several by dedicated high performance aerobatics aircraft at the show. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Scott Francis in his remarkably agile MXS aerobatics aircraft thrilled the crowds. His demonstration was one of several by dedicated high performance aerobatics aircraft at the show. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
A pair of T-28s took off in close formation as part of the massed trainer flypast. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
A pair of T-28s took off in close formation as part of the massed trainer flypast. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

Two dozen aircraft took to the skies close to the end of the show, with sixteen Texans forming up for a close formation flypast. Several L-birds were in the mix, as well as a pair of T-28 Trojans.

_C8A0862 - Richard Mallory Allnutt photo - Culpeper Airfest - Culpeper, VA - October 10, 2015

Texans taxiing out for the mass flypast. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Texans taxiing out for the mass flypast. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
A pair of Texans taking off in formation. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
A pair of Texans taking off in formation. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

_C8A0556 - Richard Mallory Allnutt photo - Culpeper Airfest - Culpeper, VA - October 10, 2015

_C8A0568 - Richard Mallory Allnutt photo - Culpeper Airfest - Culpeper, VA - October 10, 2015

_C8A0623 - Richard Mallory Allnutt photo - Culpeper Airfest - Culpeper, VA - October 10, 2015 _C8A0577 - Richard Mallory Allnutt photo - Culpeper Airfest - Culpeper, VA - October 10, 2015 _C8A0630 - Richard Mallory Allnutt photo - Culpeper Airfest - Culpeper, VA - October 10, 2015

The mass Texan flypast. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
The mass Texan flypast. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
The mass Texan flypast. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
The mass Texan flypast. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
The Trojan pair flying through the cast-off smoke of the Texan flypast. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
The Trojan pair flying through the cast-off smoke of the Texan flypast. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
The missing man... (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
The missing man… (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Why we do this... a 12th Air Force WWII B-25 pilot watches in great appreciation at the Culpeper Airfest. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)
Why we do this… a 12th Air Force WWII B-25 pilot watches in great appreciation at the Culpeper Airfest. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

WarbirdsNews wishes to offer our thanks to all of the organizers, volunteers and performers who made the Culpeper Airfest such a spectacular success!

2 Comments

  1. Nice article….should mention that AirFest is Free to the public. Funding is raised through the local community businesses and individuals. The county makes a contribution as well.

  2. Worth mentioning is the “other WACO” from the Flying Circus is a genuine, original YPT-14, not a replica. Since this is a warbirds site…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*