Friday, April 18, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

California Capital Airshow takes off

2013 cal cap airshow 100513 827 ec

THE SNOWBIRDS Demonstration Team 431 Squadron is made up of serving members of the Canadian Forces. While they have been in existence since 1942, it wasn’t until July of 1971 that they gave their first public performance. For 2013, their theme is “The pursuit of Excellence,” commemorating two milestones: 70 years as a squadron and 50 years flying the same jet, a Canadian CT-114 Tutor, an advanced jet trainer. Photos by Larry Weitzman

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From page A1 | October 09, 2013 | 3 Comments

Thrills and no spills marked the 8th two-day California Capital Airshow. And at 10 years old (the initial airshow was in 2004), the show’s Executive Director Darcy Brewer has put together a major national airshow pulling in amazing airplanes and the nation’s top airshow performers like Kirby Chambliss, Mike Goulian and Kyle Franklin, to name a few.

With the government shutdown, no military presence was available. But Brewer used that to her advantage. Who needs the Blue Angels when you can get the 11-jet Canadian Snowbird team? The shutdown cancelled other shows dependent on a huge government presence and Brewer on just a couple of days notice was able to corral the six-jet Patriots flying team, so there was no lack of high-speed, close-formation jet maneuvers. The Patriots use the L39 Albatross jet made famous by Pierce Brosnan in the Bond movie “Tomorrow Never Dies.” There was even a rare Alpha jet demonstration.

Alpha jets were designed by a consortium of Dassault Aviation of France and Donier of Germany. Only recently retired from the European military, only nine are in the United States. This one is owned by Mark Peterson of Boise, Idaho. Retired General Motors Executive VP, Bob Lutz also owns one.

This year’s theme was a tribute to the 65th anniversary of the 1948-1949 Berlin Airlift, a solution to the Soviet’s blockade of West Berlin. The airlift was, in large part, the creation of Lt. Col Jon Huggins, USAF Ret. who appeared in uniform at the airshow. The 363-day airlift of Douglas C-54s (DC-4) and C-47s (DC-3) saved two million residents of West Berlin from starvation until the blockade was lifted. A C-54 that participated in the airlift flew at the show.

Flying out of the history books were World War II P-51 Mustangs, Korean War F-86 Saber Jets and a World War II B-25. All three of these types of aircraft were designed and built by North American Aviation as were the AT-6 Texans that flew along with the lone T-28 Trojan. Two English Hawker Sea Furies, one of the fastest fighters of WWII, flew as well. They made 400 mph passes and did aerobatic maneuvers, and the sound of their engines at full song can make Pavarotti sound flat.

Paul Stender brought his world’s-fastest school bus, which is powered by a J-79 turbojet out of an F-4 Phantom. It is a 35-foot bus that can do over 360 mph and can get kids to school at six miles a minute. There should never be another tardy.

The airshow performers were non-stop for almost five hours so give yourself plenty of time for next year to see everything.

There were dozens of aircraft on display for tours and inspection, vendor displays and plenty of great food and drink.

Attendance figures are as of yet unavailable, but judging by the parking lots and the crowds, Saturday’s crowd, which enjoyed perfect weather, probably exceeded 30,000. Sunday was even larger. Still, getting in and out of the show and parking was beautifully choreographed.

The California Capital Airshow has grown up to be a big boy of airshows.

Larry Weitzman

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 3 comments

  • RichardOctober 09, 2013 - 8:04 am

    The Snowbirds are good and show well, but not even in the same league when it comes to the technology, current training and equipment of the US Navy Blue Angles. Also, it would have been nice to have had some comment about our own local T-6 Texan formation flying in this years show.

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  • larry weitzmanOctober 09, 2013 - 10:27 am

    there was a great photo of Chuck Wahl's T-6 group along with an extensive caption that due to space availability did not make it to print.

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  • Pvill DaveOctober 09, 2013 - 10:58 am

    There is no doubt the miltary jets were missing this year. The show was just "OK" without them. I wont go next year if they are not there. On another note, I actually think the Patriot jet team put on a better show than the Canadians snowbirds. Absolutely no comparison to the blue angels/ thunderbirds, or any of the military demonstrations.

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