U.S. Navy Blue Angels
The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, better known as the Blue Angels, has been the indisputable “star of the show” since the 1940s. Flying F/A-18 Hornets painted in Navy Blue and Gold since 1986, these masters of the sky have demonstrated aerial excellence in the Navy’s top piston and jet aircraft. Click here for more about the Blue Angels and their traveling companion, the Marine Corps C-130 named “Fat Albert.” (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Blue Angels)
U.S. Army Golden Knights
Cutting away a parachute on purpose. Passing a baton at 120 mph. Flying the American flag at 12,000 feet. Landing dead center on the target. The Golden Knights have been holding audiences in the palm of their hands all over the world with their feats of aerial acrobatics. Now in their 55th year of entertaining both young and old with their amazing aerial skills, the men and women of the Golden Knights continue to show why they are considered the world’s best parachute team. (Photo courtesy of US Army Golden Knights)
U.S. Navy Leap Frogs
“The U.S Navy Parachute Team is a fifteen-man team comprised entirely of U.S. Navy SEAL and SWCC commandos. Each member comes to the team for a three year tour from one of the two Navy Special Warfare Groups located on the east and west coasts. On completion of the tour, members return to operational units.The parachute team began in 1969 when the Navy SEALS and Frogmen volunteered to perform at weekend air shows. The team was officially commissioned as the U.S. Navy Parachute Team “Leap Frogs” in 1974 by the Chief of Naval Operations and assigned the mission of demonstrating Navy excellence throughout the United States. The Leap Frogs support Navy recruiting efforts and promote the Naval Special Warfare community to the American public.
Designed to operate from austere bases and a range of AVIATION-capable ships with its short takeoff/vertical landing capability, the F-35B can also takeoff and land conventionally from longer runways on major bases. F-35B aircraft have been delivered to the U.S. Marines and the U.K. https://www.f35.com/global/participation/united-kingdom, whose forces are training together at the Integrated Training Center at Eglin Air Force Base https://www.f35.com/about/who-is-flying/eglin. STOVL aircraft are also stationed at the first operational F-35 base, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz. https://www.f35.com/about/who-is-flying/yuma, and are completing flight test at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD https://www.f35.com/about/who-is-flying/pax.
The Italian Air Force https://www.f35.com/global/participation/italy will also operate the B-variant.
Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey
An American multi-mission, military, tiltrotor aircraft with both a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), and short takeoff and landing (STOL) capability. It is designed to combine the functionality of a conventional helicopter with the long-range, high speed cruise performance of a turboprop aircraft.
Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Demo
The Marine Air-Ground Task Force Demonstration displays the coordinated use of close air support, armor, artillery and infantry forces. Hornets and Harriers provide cover for Marine Corps paratroopers as helicopters bring in platoons of riflemen. C-130’s provide aerial re-fueling overhead while M1-A1 tanks and LAV’s support the ground offensive. Spectacular special effects simulate air-to-ground explosions. (Photo courtesy of Sean Stell, MCCS)
Sean D. Tucker “Oracle Challenger”
Since beginning his air show career in the mid-70s, Sean Tucker has flown more than 1200 performances at more than 475 air shows, in front of more than 105 million fans. In the upcoming season alone, Tucker and Team Oracle will entertain nearly 8million fans at 13 shows throughout North America. “I like to think that I bring the fans’ dreams of flying into the plane with me, and there’s nowhere I’d rather be than in the cockpit. That’s why I train so hard to keep the edge!” Sean has logged over 25,000 hours flying, which if done all at once, would take almost three years to complete. In 2013 Sean D. Tucker was named Chairman on the Experimental Aircraft Association Young Eagles program. Since 1992 the Young Eagles program with its 40,000 volunteer pilots has provided more than 1.8 million rides to children ages 8 to 17. Sean is honored to lead an organization that inspires the next generation of pilots to follow their passion.” View the video. (Photo courtesy of Team Oracle)
Shockwave Jet Truck
The Shockwave Jet Truck runs over 300 mph, racing airplanes at air shows; it holds the world record in a quarter mile for trucks at 256 mph in just 6.36 seconds; and holds the world record for full size trucks at 376 mph as recorded by Guinness Book of World Records. At 36,000 horsepower, the ShockWave has enough power to accelerate at three G’s vertical, which is as much as the space shuttle! (Photo courtesy of Darnell Racing Enterprises)
John Collver “Wardog”, AT-6 Texan
John A. Collver and his AT-6 “War Dog” are a crowd-pleasing favorite seen by millions of people at Air Shows every year. Collver, who has logged thousands of hours of airtime in more than 50 types of aircraft over 30-plus years of flying, uses the World War II-era AT-6 trainer to show off the aerial maneuvers taught to dogfighting American pilots more than 60 years ago.(Photo courtesy of Bernard Zee)
Steve Stavrakakis Romanian IAR, “A Tribute to the American Vet”
With nearly 20 years of experience as a professional air show pilot and narrator, Steve Stavrakakis is considered a proven entertainment package. Stavrakakis flies his “Tribute to Veterans” in the aerobatic IAR-823 built by Industria Aeronatica Romania, powered by a 300-hp Lycoming and spinning a Hartzell propeller. The IAR is painted in Air Force jungle camouflage colors and the markings of the 8th Special Ops Squadron stationed at Bien Hoa Air Base, Vietnam in 1970.
(Photo courtesy of Bernard Zee)
Bret Willat “Sailplane Magic”
Since 1979, Bret Willat has been performing professional Airshows in sailplanes. Bret and and his wife Karen were married in a sailplane in 1980, so it would seem the Willat family is born into aviation. Now their sons, Garret and Boyd Willat have earned their Low Altitude Waviers, allowing them to fly at Airshows also. Karen is the towpilot pulling the sailplanes at most shows, completing this family of performers. The Willat Family is the only known performing Airshow family. Bret flies “Sailplane Magic,” based here in Southern California. If you think all a sailplane can do is big lazy circles, wait till you see Bret add some loops and rolls (with smoke). The show is set to music. (Photo courtesy of Bret Willat)
Dan Buchanan “Hang Glider”
Dan Buchanan flies some of the quieter aircraft on the air show circuit, with a smooth, silent tow-launched hang glider and also a quiet, agile motorized wing for remote performances that are not near airports. Dan was a custom-home builder with an avocational love of flying until 1981, when he became paraplegic due to consecutive sporting accidents. Despite his handicap, Dan returned to flying just a year later and since then, his tenacity and adventurous spirit has allowed him to accrue more than 2,400 hours of flight time in hang gliders. (Photo courtesy of Dan Buchanan.)
Patriots L-39 Jet Team
After painstaking restoration by the Air shows America team, The Patriots six L-39 jets were modified for use on the air show circuit with upgraded avionics systems for navigation and communications, removal of excess weight for better air show performance, addition of a 25 gallon smoke oil system, and removal of their previous paint scheme. Sponsored by Frys Electronics and Hot Line Construction, the Patriots L-39s have electrified spectators with fast-paced formation flying and their signature Tail Slide maneuver where the aircraft actually slides backwards toward the ground, something you will not see from any other jet demonstration team. View the video (Photo courtesy of The Patriots Jet Team)
3rd MAW Band
The Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band was established for service during World War II. Soon after WWII ended, the band was deactivated and its members were sent to serve in Marine units in China and at Marine Corps Air Station Ewa, Hawaii. In 1952, the Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band was officially reactivated at Marine Corps Air Station Miami, Florida in support of the Korean conflict. In 1957, while the Third Marine Aircraft Wing relocated to Marine Corps Air Station El Toro in California, the band remained in Miami and was assigned to Marine Air Group (MAG) 31. Later, the musicians attached to MAG-31 were integrated into the Air Fleet Pacific Band, in Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California. It was at this time that the band received the title of Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band. The Third Marine Aircraft Wing remained at El Toro until 1997, when Naval Air Station Miramar was converted to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California. From 1997 through 1999, all units relocated from Marine Corps Air Station El Toro to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar as part of the base realignment process. The band reported to its current location at MCAS Miramar in January 1999.
Entertainer, pilot, Midwest television personality, singer, performer, writer, and winner of five Emmy awards, Rob Reider brings vast experience to an air show’s production. As an announcer, Rob helps air show audiences get ‘up close and personal’ with the action. Rob got his start in show business at age 19, touring the country as a singer with Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians.
Matt’s an experienced entertainer, former television news anchor and current host of the world’s only daily talk radio show for military aviation fans…Warbird Radio LIVE. Along with his work in the media, Matt also enjoys flying vintage military airplanes. He recently completed a 7000 mile solo flight across the US and Canada in a former Royal Air Force DHC-1.