Wings over Texas

Pilot - - OLD TIMERS - Re­port & pho­tos: Nigel Hitch­man

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

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