|By Leo Cachat|
The third annual Owensboro Airshow is now in the books and what a great show this wonderful city put on again this year. After the rains moved through on Friday evening, the blue skies with puffy clouds made a great backdrop for all the planes that would be flying. The only negative thing about it was the wind and cold - the high for the day was around 56 degrees - but the wind coming off of the Ohio River made it seem much colder as it gusted throughout the day. It was the first show I have ever attended in full winter attire, complete with sock cap and gloves. Despite the wind, the performers flew flawless routines and their world class abilities were on display.
Saturday's show started with the Firebirds Xtreme two ship aerobatic demonstration team. Flying with the team was 4-time national aerobatic champion Rob Holland in his MXS, fresh off his last national title just days ago, and Jack Knutson in his Extra 300. They flew a dynamic demonstration with formation and opposing aerobatic maneuvers.
Next act was the PV-2 Harpoon "Attu Warrior." This aircraft was flown beautifully down the show line, giving everyone a great look at this big warbird. The crowd was captivated by this rare and beautifully painted airplane as it gracefully banked across the show line.
Rob Holland then returned with his high power solo demonstration, one that included more inside loops than I have ever seen performed by one pilot and a great cobra maneuver. He definitely showed how he won the national titles.
Bill Stein then entered the show box with his uniquely painted Edge 540. You can try to name what color it is and you'd be right! Depending on the sun, it will show every color of the rainbow. He threw his plane across the sky in various rolling, looping and sliding maneuvers which had the crowd ooohhhinggg and aaahhhing throughout his routine.
Four T-34 Mentors in different paint schemes then performed some formation flying across the show line as a nice addition to the show. The aircraft could have easily been mistaken for new aircraft as they were very shiny and obviously well maintained.
The U.S. Army Golden Knights then entered the airspace, which really surprised me because I did not think there would be any way they would attempt a jump with the gusty winds. But they proved me wrong and did indeed jump, landing in the designated area that was gated off just for them just behind the crowd line.
Randy Ball flew his beautiful MiG-17 Fresco in an attention-getting fashion with afterburner lit and throttle up as he zipped up, down and around the river showing the crowd what this Vietnam era fighter could do. His performance never disappoints, and it was great to see him at another Midwest airshow.
The TBM Avenger "Ridge Runner" took to the show box and made several passes down the river, showing off her beautiful deep blue color and demonstrating what it might have looked like over the water during WWII.
Up next were some of our friends from St. Charles, MO flying the B-25 Mitchell "Show Me." They put on a great flying demonstration, flying it low and fast down the river with that unmistakable growl that only those two big radial engines can make. It's never a bad day when you can see a PV-2, TBM and B-25 all fly at the same show.
Next was the fast little A-4 Skyhawk. I really enjoyed seeing a Scooter in the air again. What a beautifully maintained plane this was to see. It was very clean and very fast, and pilot Paul Wood performed various maneuvers still used by most modern military fighter and attack aircraft today. The inclusion of the A-4 was a big reason why I so badly wanted to attend this show.
The show was wrapped up by the 4ce aerobatic team, composed of three aerobatic performers, Rob Holland, Jack Knutson and Bill Stein teaming up to fly various entertaining maneuvers which can only be flown in high performance aerobatic aircraft such as these.
The city of Owensboro can hold it's head up high for putting on another great show and will hopefully do the same again next year. As cold as it was, a lot of people still attended this year's event and I don't think anyone was disappointed. Kudos to Owensboro for putting on a great Midwest Aviation event.