Sunday March 13th 2016
One of the things I wanted to do this winter was see the Tico Warbirds Airshow in Titusville. I have seen it advertised on a number of previous visits to Florida, but this is the first time I’ve been here at the right time. I almost missed it this year too. A comment on the TV Weather forecast last week reminded me of the schedule.
The forecast for today was not good; hot muggy with an 80 percent chance of rain. Luckily it didn’t rain during the Airshow. It was cloudy with occasional periods of sun. I got to the show at the Titusville airport about 11am. The arial part of the show started at 12:30. I started wandering through the static displays looking at the military aircraft.
All total, I took more than 170 pictures of the aircraft on the ground and in the air. I’ll share some of the better ones in this blog post and more in tomorrows blog post.
The show contained all types of aircraft from the World War I era to the present. The show started with a high level parachute jump by 5 jumpers. With their modern rectangular parachutes they all landed right on the mark. The heavy winds caused a later jump with the old style round parachutes to be canceled.
The wind didn’t prevent a WW-I era Sopwith Camel to have a mock dogfight with a Fokker Dr.1 Triplane. While this was going on in the air the PA system was playing the Snoopy vs. the Red Baron music. How often these two types aircraft actually met in the sky over France isn’t clear to me. At least they were both used in the war.
Next up was a flight of 3 B-25 bombers from World War II. They had guys setting off explosions across the runway to simulate bombs going off in Tokyo. The B-25 was the plane used in the famous Doolittle raid on Tokyo. They even had a 100 year old veteran of the raid present. He was the co-pilot in Doolittle’s aircraft.
Other World War II aircraft in the air included T-6 trainers, a P51, an F4U Corsair and the last B-29 still flying. The B-29 “Fifi” flew several low passes and simulated dropping the Atomic bomb on Japan. The guys with the explosives did their best to create a small mushroom cloud.
Jet aircraft of the Korean and Vietnam era included an F86 Sabre, an F4 Phantom and a MiG 17. The pilot of the F4 was retiring after this airshow. He is 74 years old and had been fly F4s since the Vietnam era. When he landed one of the fire trucks housed down his aircraft as a happy retirement salute. I have no idea if that’s some kind of tradition or someones idea of a prank. It was a planned event as all of the spectators were directed to watch.
The show ended with acrobatic flights by 4 T-6 Texans. The group is sponsored by Airoshell, an airplane lubricant manufacturer, and a demonstration by the Air Force of an F16 Viper. Combining these two acts fills the gap of not having the Thunderbirds or the Blue Angels. The slower T-6s of the Airoshell team are actually easier to watch. The F-16 Viper demonstration aircraft was all noise and speed.
At the close of the show the F-16 and the P-51 Mustang flew in formation. This bringing together of two generation of military aircraft in a memorial flight is intended to honor those who have served and those who have given their lives.
This airshow lived up to its hype. I’ve seen other airshows and this one is well run and has a diverse collection of warbirds.