About a month ago I heard about this show never knowing it existed. Not having gone to one this year (usually would have at least 4-5 under my belt by now), Carol and I decided to go. Mostly because of the Canadian Air Force CF-18 demo. We both figured it will probably be the only TACDEMO we’ll see in 2013. We packed up and hit the road about 0500 and arrived around 0820 or so, stopping only for fuel and a bite to eat. Granted, the gates didn’t open till 1000 but we are always early so we can try to be some of the first ones in so we can get a good spot to set up and shoot. Plus, we were hooking up with Nathan at 0930, a friend we made last year at the NAS Kingsville show. This time we set up shop just south of show center near the photo pit. It turned out to be a good spot. After setting up our chairs we walked around to look at the statics most of which are included in the posted pics. One of them turns out has a pretty cool history. The two seat blue and gray camo jet is a Gnat. I overheard the gentlemen who was telling others about it that it flew with the RAF Red Arrows from 1964 to 1979. Another one that caught my eye was the L-39 in that nice looking camo scheme. However, as nice as they were I really enjoyed being able to do a walk around of the CF-18 just a few minutes before they closed the hot ramp. WOW, what a gorgeous scheme.
After “making the rounds” we went back to our chairs to just sit there and bake in that hot, hot sun. After what we went through this summer I though 89 degrees would be something of a cool front. Now I know what a steak on the grill must feel like.
The show opened with a parachutist carrying the American flag which is always a nice sight. Then, they proceeded to launch the warbirds. First, the Green T-6 Texan flew, Followed by the B-29A, FiFi, and the P-51C Tuskegee Airman red tail. The B-29A and P-51C later flew in a trail formation as the Heritage Flight which was a pretty awesome sight. After they landed Randy Ball took to the skies in his MiG-17F. He is always a treat to watch fly. That is one really cool (and fast) jet. He really puts it through the paces putting on a great show. A little later another Mustang (P-51D) flew followed by the 4 man Aeroshell T-6 Texans. As usual, team Aeroshell did a fantastic job. I don’t know what it is but their formations can make for some pretty dramatic pictures.
Okay, now it’s time for some noise, the CF-18 demo. At this point I was getting all excited. Finally…..a TACDEMO….my first one of 2013. And wouldn’t you know it. The sun which was in a perfect position just behind my right shoulder found a big ‘ol dark cloud to hide behind just before the Hornet launched. Are you kidding me? You want to hide behind a cloud now? Mr. Sun, you could have done that earlier in the day when I was baking. But no, you had to wait till now, LOL. That said, I made the best of it trying to adjust for the low light. Only when the Hornet climbed above it or went a little further down-range did the sun catch it. It was a little disappointing because I wanted to catch some nice topside shots of that paint scheme when he made the knife edge and banana passes. Always next time, right………?
The next and final act up was the Black Diamond jet team. As they were getting ready to launch we decided to go ahead and leave to beat the crowds and I’m glad we did as it was quite congested when we left. The BDJT puts on a very nice performance but we’ve seen them several times in the past and decided to skip this one.
Our next show is Wings Over Houston slated for Oct 26-27 and we are already looking forward to that.
Articles By Bill Havel