Wings over Texas
Texas was home to two shows a week apart in October: Wings over Houston, 20-21 and Wings over Dallas, 26-28.
Wings over Houston at Ellington Airport has gained an excellent reputation in recent years as a warbird-filled event. Not so this year, partly due to the first day’s weather and partly because the organisers seemingly favoured aerobatic acts and explosions. Saturday’s early rain cleared to leave the cloudbase persistently below the show’s 1,000-foot minimum. Consequently, only Sean Tucker− giving his final solo aerobatic performances over the weekend− and the US Navy Blue Angels’ six F/A-18 Hornets displayed.
Sunday brought much improved conditions but little significant to photograph in the static and warbird parks. C-47A
That’s All Brother, Super Guppy N941NA and a NASA T-38 Talon astronaut trainer were highlights but the resident Lone Star Flight Museum provided only its SNJ-5 Texan, B-25 Mitchell Doolittle
Raiders and B-17G Thunderbird. With its P-40, Avenger and Zero sold, and most remaining aircraft now absorbed into the Dakota Territory Air Museum in Minot, the Texas Flying Legends hangar contained no aircraft.
There were thus just four fighters, three bombers and one ground attack aircraft in the flying display. Two Mustangs, including Comanche Fighters’ TF-51D Bum Steer, got airborne, as did a P-40 and P-63, B-17G
Texas Raiders, PBJ-1J Devil Dog, the B-25 and a Skyraider. On the plus-side, the Commemorative Air Force’s Tora Tora Tora re-enactment was as good as ever and stayed visible through the pyrotechnic smoke−not always the case! The Collings Foundation’s TF-100F Super Sabre and F-4D Phantom II were test-flown early Sunday morning but played no further part, while its Me262, TA-4J and UH-1E were sadly hangar-bound throughout.
Wings over Dallas started a couple of years ago after the CAF’S headquarters moved from Midland to Dallas Executive Airport. Despite being scaled-back from previous CAF airshows, this was an excellent event combining static exhibits and hangar displays, morning joyrides, fly-bys and ground presentations and allwarbird afternoon flying displays. Flights were available in a range of types, from a Fairchild PT-19 up to B-29 Superfortress Fifi. As these took place, aircraft histories were recounted and veterans told their stories at crowd-front.
Again, only four fighters were displayed: a P-51D, P-51C
Tuskegee Airmen, a P-63 and an F6F Hellcat all the way from Camarillo, California−but they were presented more engagingly.
Trainers included four Beech 18s, unfortunately not in formation, but the bombers stole the show. Star item the B-29 was joined by Texas Raiders, Devil
Dog, B-24A Diamond Lil making its first public appearance in several years following extensive maintenance work, and two Invaders: A-26B Night Mission and B-26K Special K.
The D-day Squadron mounted four C-47s for a mass ‘paratroop’ drop as a prelude to next June’s Atlantic crossing for the Daks over Normandy anniversary event. The closing item was the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team’s four T-6s.
ABOVE: TF-51D Mustang Bum Steer joined this F-16 for the USAF Heritage Flight display
Liberator Diamond Lil rejoined the US airshow circuit at Dallas after several years' absence
The Collings Foundation's Phantom and Super Sabre, seen here, each made only one brief non-display flight before the show
Replica 'Kate' and 'beleaguered' B-17GTexas Raiders performing in the CAF'S long-established Tora Tora Tora setpiece