Aviation Nation 2016 celebrated “75 Years of Airpower” at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. In addition to all the modern flying tech of today (please see my previous post) the Nellis Heritage Parade component of the air show included various warbirds from World War Two and the Korean War era, accompanied with plenty of pyrotechnics!
These warbirds could also be seen on static display throughout the day. There was so much to see during the air display, I unfortunately didn’t get to spend a lot of time in this area and it really wasn’t until the end of the show that I wandered through there.
The Vietnam War era aircraft provided a real treat in the chance to see the last public air show flights of the McDonnell Douglas QF-4 Phantom II. A Cold War warrior legend that’s time is coming to an end. The F-4 was a major combat aircraft of the USAF from 1963 until 1996 but they will retire the last of these now aerial targets in December 2016 (please see my earlier post for more on saying Pharewell to the Phantom).
There was also a spirited solo flying display featuring the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star jet trainer known as “Ace Maker II” (many a fighter pilot earned their wings flying the T-33). The T-33 then joined in on a jet vs jetcar race against the impressive Smoke-N-Thunder Jetcar powered by a Westinghouse J34-48 jet engine that was originally used in a North American Buckeye T-2A trainer. From what I could tell it was a 1 all draw over the 2 days of races.
The military side of things was also complemented by some spirited civilian flying including aerobatic flying by Vickie Benzing in her 1940 Boeing Stearman and Chuck Coleman in his Extra 300. There was also an impressive “bit” of mass formation flying by the West Coast Ravens with up to 24 custom-built RV aircraft!
This was my second time at Aviation Nation. I cannot wait to attend another as it is action packed with fast jets, along with warbirds and other interesting aircraft and weaponry displays. People from around the world come to this show and it’s not hard to see why (some 300,000 people attended the event over the 2 days!). It is just one of those great aviation events that should not be missed!