Gunfighter Skies 2014 was held at Mountain Home USAF base in Idaho over the weekend of September 20th to 21st, 2014. I attended both days (you never what is and isn’t going to fly each day) and although the weather was a bit overcast on the second day (storms were brewing) both offered plenty of good flying and ground displays.
The open house offered a couple of firsts for me. 1) seeing a McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) F-15E and F-15SG Strike Eagle of the USAF and Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) for the first time and 2) seeing one of the latest and most sophisticated (and expensive) aircraft in history the fifth generation Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). Previously I had only seen mock-up airframes of the JSF and the F-35B V/STOL variant prototype.
Although there was not a lot of military flying on display other than the RSAF F-15SG’s and then the big and impressive finale with the USAF Thunderbirds flying the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon (more on them in a future post) there was still plenty to see and do at the open house. There were World War Two and Cold War era warbirds, training jets, parachute jumps, aerobatic displays, military equipment and modern military aircraft of the USAF (including Air National Guard squadrons) and US Navy.
Civilian aircraft and warbird air displays included a North American P-51D Mustang, Bell P-63 King Cobra, Aero L-39 Albratros and Dassault Alpha Jet trainers; and a Grumman S-2 Tracker. Aerobatic displays were excellently handled by the likes of Brad Wursten in a MXS-R, Randy Harris & Skybolt 300 Bearfeat and Oliver’s Sky Dancer. The USAF Wings of Blue put on some great parachute demonstrations too.
All up this was a fun couple of days to soak up some sun and enjoy some fantastic flying displays. No better way to spend a weekend in my books!