FHC Skyfair 2016

FHC Skyfair 2016 poster
FHC Skyfair 2016 – another great aviation event for the year!

This years FHC Skyfair was another great one. This was the third annual air and ground show put on by the Flying Heritage Collection at Paine Field in Everett, Washington (my second attendance having gone to the first in 2014). This years theme was to commemorate the upcoming 75 years since the beginning of the Pacific War in December 1941.

The aircraft on the flying roster included US and Japanese aircraft from not only the FHC but also the Historic Flight Foundation (Paine Field), Commemorative Air Force – Southern Californian Wing and the Erickson Aircraft Collection (Madras, Oregon). Plus tanks and military vehicles from the FHC and other local groups!

The flying lineup was something else! It was a rare opportunity to see many of these aircraft representing the US Navy, USAAF, Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy flying together in pairs, massed formations and on solo displays.

Flying Heritage Collection

The FHC flying component for the day was a beautiful sight as always. They flew their USAAF Curtiss P-40C Tomahawk (Flying Tigers), North American B-25J Mitchell and Republic P-47D Thunderbolt alongside their US Navy Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat and Imperial Japanese Navy Mitsubishi A6M3-22 Reisen “Zero” fighter (fitted with a modified Pratt & Whitney R1830 engine though compared to the original Sakai engine – this one was recovered in New Guinea for restoration and rebuild in Russia in the 1990’s. The cockpit is slightly longer as a second seat is installed behind the pilot).

FHC P-40C Tomahawk FHC Skyfair 2016
FHC Curtiss P-40C Tomahawk of the “Flying Tigers” in China
FHC Curtiss P-40C Tomahawk FHC Flying Day 2016
Curtiss P-40C Tomahawk
North American B-25J Mitchell FHC Skyfair 2016
Firepower! FHC North American B-25J Mitchell
FHC North American B-25J Mitchell FHC Skyfair 2016
North American B-25J Mitchell in flight – USAAF WW2 air power!
FHC P-47D FHC Skyfair 2016
FHC Republic P-47D Thunderbolt – the Big Jug
FHC Republic P-47D Thunderbolt in flight FHC Skyfair 2016
FHC Republic P-47D Thunderbolt in flight
FHC Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat FHC Skyfair 2016
FHC Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat
FHC Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat FHC Skyfair 2016
Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat
Imperial Japanese Navy Mitsubishi A6M3-22 Reisen "Zero" FHC Skyfair 2016
FHC Imperial Japanese Navy Mitsubishi A6M3-22 Reisen “Zero”
IJN Mitsubishi A6M3-22 Zero with "tiger stripes" FHC Skyfair 2016
Mitsubishi A6M3-22 Zero with “tiger stripes”
FHC MiG-29UB Fulcrum B
FHC Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-29UB Fulcrum B combat trainer – ex Ukrainian Air Force (acquired in 2008 and restored to flight in 2009)

Erickson Aircraft Collection

Erickson provided a couple of US Navy aircraft – a General Motors FM-2 Wildcat (the most spirited low flying display of the day!), a Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber (the brief dive with the brake flaps down was something special). On the Japanese side they flew their Imperial Japanese Army Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa (Peregrine Falcon) “Oscar” (the first time I have seen one fly – it is fitted with a 1,200 hp Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp 14-cylinder radial engine). We were lucky to see the Ki-43 fly as it had a problem with its undercarriage the night before upon arrival to Paine Field which had the emergency services crews scuttling apparently but they got it down and fixed the problem before the flying displays began!

Erickson Collection General Motors FM-2 Wildcat FHC Skyfair 2016
Erickson Collection General Motors FM-2 Wildcat
Erickson Collection General Motors FM-2 Wildcat in flight FHC Skyfair 2016
General Motors FM-2 Wildcat in flight – this stubby was outperformed by Japanese Zero fighters but was tough and in the hands of a good pilot could put up a hell of a fight!
Erickson Collection Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber FHC Skyfair 2016
Erickson Collection Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber
Erickson Douglas SBD Dauntless in flight FHC Skyfair 2016
Douglas SBD Dauntless in flight – these types of dive bomber became the stuff of legend at the Battle of Midway in 1942
Erickson Collection Imperial Japanese Army Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa "Oscar" FHC Skyfair 2016
Erickson Collection Imperial Japanese Army Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa “Oscar”
The Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa "Oscar" in flight FHC Skyfair 2016
The Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa “Oscar” in flight

Commemorative Air Force – Southern Californian Wing

CAF SoCal had a couple of good looking aircraft fly at the Skyfair. They brought up their US Navy Grumman F6F Hellcat and Imperial Japanese Navy Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero (partially rebuilt using parts from multiple Zero airframes recovered in New Guinea and restored in Russia in the 1990’s with the FHC Zero. It too flies with a modified Pratt & Whitney R1830 engine to fit into the nose cowling of the Zero).

CAF SoCal US Navy Grumman F6F Hellcat FHC Skyfair 2016
CAF SoCal US Navy Grumman F6F Hellcat
CAF Grumman F6F Hellcat FHC Skyfair 2016
CAF Grumman F6F Hellcat
CAF SoCal Imperial Japanese Navy Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero FHC Skyfair 2016
CAF SoCal Imperial Japanese Navy Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero
CAF Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero in flight FHC Skyfair 2016
CAF Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero

Historic Flight Foundation

HFF conducted a very spirited flying display in their Douglas DC-3 1930’s era airliner. The sharp turns were very un-airliner like and something to behold!

HFF Douglas DC-3 Skyfair 2016
HFF Douglas DC-3
A spirited flying display in the HFF Douglas DC-3 at FHC Skyfair 2016
A spirited flying display in the HFF Douglas DC-3
Museum of Flight Goodyear F2G Super Corsair FHC Skyfair 2016
A non flyer but nice to look at – Museum of Flight Goodyear F2G Super Corsair

In addition to the World War Two aircraft, the flying display included a Vietnam War era Bell UH-1 Iroquois and a Hughes OH-6 Cayuse observation helicopter from a private collection in Battleground, WA. There is always something special about that thumping noise from the rotors of a “Huey”! Cue Ride of the Valkyries!

Vietnam War era Bell UH-1 Iroquois and a Hughes OH-6 Cayuse observation helicopter FHC Skyfair 2016
Vietnam War era Bell UH-1 Iroquois and a Hughes OH-6 Cayuse observation helicopter
Bell UH-1 Iroquois and a Hughes OH-6 Cayuse FHC Skyfair 2016
Bell UH-1 Iroquois and a Hughes OH-6 Cayuse dust off
Bell UH-1 Iroquois "Huey" FHC Skyfair 2016
Bell UH-1 Iroquois “Huey”
Bell UH-1 Iroquois in flight FHC Skyfair 2016
Bell UH-1 Iroquois
Hughes OH-6 Cayuse FHC Skyfair 2016
Hughes OH-6 Cayuse
Hughes OH-6 Cayuse observation helicopter flying FHC Skyfair 2016
Hughes OH-6 Cayuse observation helicopter

The vehicle show was cool too and included the firing of a German 88mm Flak gun (loud!) and various driving demonstrations and battles with military re-enactors on the FHC purpose-built display track (yes don’t worry the Germans lost – they always do!). The days events had a German Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer tank destroyer and included a number of US Army vehicles such as an M4A1 Sherman medium tank, M3 Half-track (that was also carrying the NFL Seahawks cheerleaders the Sea Gals around for a bit), M3A1 Scout Car dubbed “Rat Turd” (that had a little dog onboard enjoying the ride!) and a couple of Willy MB Jeep’s driving about the track. The Hetzer and Sherman fired off a round or two of blank shells for dramatic effect too!

FHC Skyfair 2016 Vehicle Show
FHC Skyfair 2016 Vehicle Show
Firing 88mm Flak Gun FHC Skyfair 2016
Firing the big 88: People are blocking their ears for good reason – even when firing a blank round it is very loud!
FHC Skyfair 2016 Vehicles M3A1 Scout Car
M3A1 Scout Car “Rat Turd” with a little dog along for the ride!
FHC Skyfair 2016 Vehicle Show
FHC Skyfair 2016 Vehicle Show
WW2 military re-enactors FHC Skyfair 2016
WW2 military re-enactors
FHC Skyfair 2016 Vehicles German Jagdpanzer 38 (t) Hetzer WW2 tank destroyer
German Jagdpanzer 38 (t) Hetzer WW2 tank destroyer
M4A1 Sherman medium tank and a huge German Sd.Kfz. 8 half-track FHC Skyfair 2016
M4A1 Sherman medium tank and a huge German Sd.Kfz. 8 half-track

The finale of the show was multiple wave formation passes. This was great to see and mostly flew right over the top of where I was standing but made it a little tricky to get photos!

FHC Skyfair 2016 formation
Incoming!
Flying Heritage Collection formation pass FHC Skyfair 2016
Flying Heritage Collection formation pass
Grumman F6F Hellcat formation FHC Skyfair 2016
Hellcats
Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero formation FHC Skyfair 2016
Zero x 2
Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero formation FHC Skyfair 2016
Zero x 2

The only “disappointment” of what really was a great day was a missed opportunity to fly the Ki-43 Oscar in formation with the two Zero fighters or even the Wildcat leading the Hellcats to show the progression in Grumman fighter aircraft (they all flew as part of the group formations but were generally with their owners stablemates rather than grouped by nation or designer). That could have been a great moment and a very rare sight indeed but alas history slipped through their fingers! Oh well, another time perhaps but we did get to see two Zero fighters fly side by side though plus the Hellcats, so that was something special to see!

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9 thoughts on “FHC Skyfair 2016

  1. Woah! Awesome! I am very jealous! 🙂 One of the things that always surprises me about some of these aircraft is their diminutive size – obviously the Thunderbolt is pretty big, but some of the others were basically just the smallest aircraft they could wrap around the largest engine. Here in NZ I’ve seen the non-flying Mitsubishi Zero our guys captured in the Solomons, now in the Auckland War Memorial Museum. It’s not all that big. Of course that doesn’t reduce the awesome factor of being able to see all these aircraft flying today!

    Liked by 1 person

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