Greetings from The Aero Experience Team


The Aero Experience is a celebration of Midwest aviation and aerospace achievement. We invite you to join us as we explore the treasures of Midwest aviation through first-hand experiences. Our contributors take turns flying lead, and we are always looking for new destinations. Check in with The Aero Experience frequently to see where we will land today, and then go out and have your own aero experiences!

Blue skies,

Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl - The Aero Experience Team

Thursday, June 30, 2016

2016 ShrinersFest Air Show Part 2: Something Old, Something New, Something Hot and Something Cool

By Leo Cachat
The Aero Experience continues our coverage of the 2016 Evansville ShrinersFest & Airshow with the action on the Ohio River.  Prior to the airshow, there was a reenactment of a beach assault by the United States Armed Forces during WWII.  At around noon, a large vessel came into view down the Ohio River, and it's presence was made known with the sounding of it's horn.  It was the USS LST 325 and right alongside of it were two landing craft with armed soldier reenactors aboard.  The LST made it's way to show center, guns booming, as it laid cover fire for the landing craft that were already off-loading the troops on the rocky shoreline.  At this point, J.P. Mellor in his AT-6 Spanish Lady and Michael Kennedy in his BT-13 Valiant Echoes were overhead flying cover by making numerous smoke-on passes. This was something old but new to me as I have never before witnessed a mock beach landing. 

After that little treat, there appeared two T-38C Talons from Columbus AFB, MS making two passes at the conclusion of the national anthem.

Bob Richards entered the show box next with his red and white Pitts S-1S. Bob  flew a great aerobatic routine, thrilling the crowd with his just above the water flying style.

Michael Kennedy then flew into the box from behind the crowd, elegantly looping his BT-13 Valiant Echoes through the air and showing how this early warbird trainer was used to prepare the young men who would later be flying in fighter or bomber aircraft against Axis Powers during WWII.

The Vanguard Squadron flew their three ethanol-fueled RV-3As in tight formation aerobatics, including hammerhead stalls, bomb bursts and a few trail formations.


The first portion of the show was rounded out with a great performance by the Warbird Heritage Foundation A-4B Skyhawk flown by Paul Wood.

There was a short intermission from the flying, allowing for the crowd to get something to eat or drink as the temperature climbed into the upper 90s. Many watched the FlyBoard demonstration along the riverfront.

The second portion of the show started off with Randy Ball flying the MiG-17.  He really got the crowd's attention with his trademark afterburner-lit low passes down the Ohio River.

Billy Werth tore up the air with his high-octane brand of aerobatics and got an up close look at the boats marking the show box.

The AT-6 Spanish Lady and the Tucano flown by Lee Leet performed  the heritage flight and then both flew their own demonstrations separately.

Billy Werth and Bob Richards flew the " Billy Bob" performance. They performed exciting opposing maneuvers and reversals always within sight of the crowd. 

The show concluded with the F/A-18F Super Hornet Demo from VFA-106 at NAS Oceana, VA.  The crowd was captivated by the abilities of this premier U.S. Navy fighter aircraft.

The Aero Experience would like to thank the performers, Luke Carrico and the city of Evansville for the great hospitality and for organizing such a great event. The weather was hot, but the action in the air was too cool to keep us away.

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