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Your First Airshow

Posted By:
Doug Pherson
#1 Posted: 9/22/2009 18:54:24

If there is anybody here that lives in the Miami, FL region or near by, then you may have heard about the airshow that is making its return after 17 year absence.  This has special meaning to me due to the fact that it was the very first airshow that I went to as a kid.  Went with my dad and younger brother.  This was the very first time I also saw the Air Force Thunderbirds perform.   Ah yes, the good memories back then.  I am not quite sure what it was called back then, but it might have been the name they are using now called "Wings Over Homestead".


What about everyone else?  What was your first airshow that you went to?  When? Where? And if possible, what was there that you remember?

Oh, before I forget, here is the link to the airshow



Happy trails to all

Jessica Jones
#2 Posted: 9/22/2009 19:36:26

I don't exactly remember when my first airshow was, but I know it was more than likely the local NAS airshow here at NAS Jacksonville in Jacksonville Florida. They call it the Sea and Sky Spectacular now, and I've been going ever since I was a little girl.

Depending on where they hold it, the naval base or at the beach, they have a lot of different things. The one at the beach is my favourite because of the military demonstrations that they do. They used to storm the beach with the LCACs and a bunch of uniformed soldiers pointing guns at the audience and helicopters flying over, but they don't do it exactly like that anymore after 9/11. They ALWAYS have a Blue Angels show, no matter if it's at the beach or at the naval station, and one year they even had a B-2 Bomber fly over. That was neat as could be. You couldn't even hear the thing coming.

"For once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you long to return."
Bob Herrick
Young Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
#3 Posted: 9/22/2009 20:32:59

My first air show was at Chicagoland Airport, 20 miles north of O’Hare around 1964. I remember it was really windy and blew the parachutists all over the place. They landed everywhere except where they should have. One hit a little tent by the flight line and another just missed a hangar. The wind was blowing right down the runway and a guy took off with a Piper Cub in about 50ft, climbed about 50ft up and flew down the runway about 1000ft. Then he pulled the nose up and let the wind push him backwards to his point of takeoff and landed in another 50ft. Pretty cool. Then walking home, I lived next to the airport, I stopped to look at a P-51 Mustang that was based there and got a job polishing it for a $1 an hour or a ride once in awhile. A couple years later I got two rides in it, one to the EAA Convention in Rockford and to another air show at DuPage Airport, both in Illinois.


Jesse Schoolcraft
#4 Posted: 9/22/2009 22:00:12

I THINK mine was the Vectren Dayton Air Show in 1997, 1998, or 1999. If it wasn't that, then it was Oshkosh in 1998, if you want to call that an air show. It's more than an air show.

"Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."--- Leonardo da Vinci
Steve Buss
Vintage Aircraft Association MemberYoung Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
#5 Posted: 9/22/2009 22:24:21

Like Jesse said, "Oshkosh is more than just an air show," but my first in 1981.  I was working for a local radio station and I was assigned to do a live remote from EAA Oshkosh.  It was the weekend and featured a large Warbird show.  Needless to say, I was called into the program director’s office on Monday because there was so much dead air during my remote.  I kept going outside to marvel at the show, the records (yes, this was the old days!) kept ending before I could get back into the remote trailer.

It was the start of a beautiful friendship..



EAA Young Eagles -- EAA Chapters -- EAA Radio -- J-3 Cub Fan
Adam Smith
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or Craftsman
#6 Posted: 9/22/2009 22:45:08

Thanks to the fantastic online archive of Flight magazine (every edition all the way back to 1909 http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/index.html ) I can tell you that mine was June 1st 1980 when the Red Arrows flew a display over my hometown of Burnley, England.   

This was very meaningful to an impressionable an 8 yr old boy! One of the great highlights of my life was when, 19 years later, the Reds flew at an air show that I started in Scotland.  

Matthew Gjedde
#7 Posted: 9/23/2009 06:29:14

Oshkosh 2002. I remember it very well. The Air Atlanta Icelandic 747, KC-10 tanker, TWA Constellation (what happened to that?) and several others. Was the Orbis DC-10 there that year or was that 2003?

Green Dot, Runway 27, July 25, 2009 Follow Me at twitter.com/mdgjedde
Joe Norris
Vintage Aircraft Association MemberYoung Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or CraftsmanAirVenture Volunteer
#8 Posted: 9/23/2009 08:26:21

I don't have any idea when I attended my first airshow.  My dad used to take me to airports and airshows all the time when I was young, so it was no doubt in the late 50 or early 60s.  I do have memories of seeing the Blue Angels when they were flying Grumman Tigers, so that had to be in the 60s sometime.  I can also remember seeing Harold Krier perform, so that was also 60s era.

I never made it to Rockford for an EAA convention, but I was at Oshkosh in 1970.  I remember plenty about that trip, as it was my first "unofficial" flying lesson (not logged, but plenty learned), first time camping under the wing of an airplane, and first time getting "up close and personal" with many of the legends of the time.  My pilot/host/instructor/mentor on that trip was Jim Miles of Hartford, WI.  We went to Oshkosh in his Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser, stayed for about three days, and made a lifetime of memories.  Jim was a heck of a guy, and definitely my strongest influence guiding me toward aviation.

I missed the next few conventions, but starting in 1976 I have attended each and every one, volunteered at many, and now attend as a member of EAA staff.

What a ride it's been!!


Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate
Penny Bowman
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or CraftsmanAirVenture Volunteer
#9 Posted: 9/23/2009 08:54:03

My first airshow ...

My first formal airshow was probably in the late 50's or very early 60's ... Somewhere in central or east Florida ... And the only act I remember to this day (but I don't remember the name) was a gal who was then in her 60's (I remember that she was about 20 years older than my folks who were in their 40's back then) ... and part of her act was to fly up-side-down down the length of the runway and cut a ribbon with her plane's tail ... 

I was in awe and thought that was so cool and that I wanted to someday be able to do that ...   oh, well ... I took a 15-minute non-stop aerobatic flight once in AZ (inside loop, outside loop, cuban 8's, hammer heads, immelmann, tail-slides, etc -- 6 positive and 2.5 negative G's -- LOVED it !! and wish I could afford to do it again), but I know now that I won't ever be able to accomplish (due to age, skills, and finances) what that gal did when I was a kid.

Somewhat related -- I grew up on Merritt Island, FL, and had an impromptu air show of sorts as the crop-dusting big bi-plane dumped mosquito spray (toxic by today's standards)over our house with his wheels just barely above the telephone poles ... I loved to watch as he darted back forth nearing us, doing his turns, but had to duck inside our closed-up house when he came over us (but I still watched from our big patio glass doors).

My fist time at AirVenture was 1988 ... A lot has changed ...  And I've been too busy to even watch the airshow some years, but love it when I do find time to watch!


President, Greater Boston EAA Chapter 106 - Come visit & find out why we have over 200 members in MA, NH, RI, & CT! www.EAA106.org
Mike Kern
#10 Posted: 9/23/2009 09:43:54

I believe my first airshow was in the 60's and I'm pretty sure it was at Fort Dix, NJ.  My father had been in the Air Force in WWII and I suspect it was the star attraction that drew him/us there. As a kid, I liked all the planes but all of a sudden the crowd's attention was torn from whatever else they were doing as four Air Force Thunderbirds roared overhead. I only remember standing there mesmerized as they did their routines, but the one I will never forget involved two of them in power dives together, relatively close and flying belly to belly.  Then as they got so close to the ground that their survival seemed in question, they both pulled up just in the nick of time.  As they flew up and away from each other, they somehow released (from 'bomb bays'?) a ton of multi-colored balloons that briefly seemed to fill the sky.

I can still see it all to this day.



Mike Kern 778436
Kelly Nelson
Young Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
#11 Posted: 9/23/2009 09:54:07

I dunno if it really counts, but the first airshow I ever experienced was AirVenture 2003. I had just started working at Basler Flight Service and thought it was wonderful to meet all of the people that came through the FBO. I'll never forget the day I went to go punch in and walked into the hangar to find an F-18 Hornet sitting there. The rest of the week I would sneek out to the hangar to get a soda during the daily air show so I could watch the performers from "afar". I think I got out to the grounds for maybe a half of a day that year.

I didn't actually get to experience more of the event until I started working at EAA in 2005, and I still think it's the coolest thing since sliced bread.

Sometimes I feel like I was a late bloomer in the aviation world -- GA didn't show up on my radar as even existing until I started college! -- so I'm super proud to be exposing my son to the aviation world at such a young age. His first air show was AirVenture 2008, when he was just under 3 months old!

EAA 787745 Associate Editor, EAA Publications
Mark Beattie
Homebuilder or Craftsman
#12 Posted: 9/24/2009 01:15:24

Think mine would have been at the Pt Mugu Naval Airstation in So Califronia back in 1968 or 69.  Blue Angels, Bob Hoover in his Shrike doing engine out loops and rolls, and just about everything the military was flying.  It was part of the Pacific Missle Test Range and the airstation is right on the coast.  Once the range offshore was verified as clear, they would drop a flare offshore and fly a sidewinder armed fighter over the field launching the sidewinder at the flare and hit it.  Never forget it.  Don't think you'll see that anymore in these liability conscience days.

Mark Beattie EAA Ch 494, Corona, Ca.
Jason Wodack
#13 Posted: 9/25/2009 10:24:23

My first airshow was in the early 90's for some reason I don't remember much of the show, but I remember the Bose tent, and the Fly Market.  I also remember my dad bought me a copy of "Fascination With Flight" (remember VHS?)  I took it home and watched it I don't know howmany times.  I still have it stashed in a box somewhere, You can watch it now on the EAA video site...and your dad doesn't have to buy it for you. 


Heather Gollnow
AirVenture Volunteer
#14 Posted: 9/25/2009 12:21:27

My first airshow was Airventure in 1984 or 1985 - although I don't think it was called Airventure then!  I was 6 or 7 and my step-dad brought me to see the show. If I remember correctly, you had to pay extra to get up on the flight line.  I think I remember that back in the early 90's too.


I also remember being there the year that you could pay for a flight on the Concorde to Canada and back. Maybe 1986 or 87?  I think the whole flight took 30 minutes.  That was my 2nd time.  My step-dad got a poster of the flight deck of the Concorde and I remember staring at it for hours looking at each individual instrument!


The engine is the heart of an airplane, but the pilot is its soul. ~Walter Raleigh
Eric Rood
IAC MemberAirVenture Volunteer
#15 Posted: 9/25/2009 13:54:21

Late-1950's/early 1960's. Wright Pat AFB, Dayton OH. Thunderbirds were flying the Hun. Kids could get a 3"x4" Polaroid print of themselves sitting in one of the Thunderbird aircraft wearing a Thunderbird helmet. I still have my photo.


Bob Gish
Homebuilder or Craftsman
#16 Posted: 9/25/2009 22:46:30

Soooo long ago they all seam to run together. The first made a great impression on me. The Thunderbirds were flying the Phabulous Phantom. Nothing will ever erase the sight of that big nasty jet spiraling straight up and out of sight as the team performed the bomburst crossover. I've since seen them in the T-38 and the "Fighting Falcon", not even close. All of the pilots were veterans of the Viet Nam war and I stood in line for an autograph from every one. I still have that airshow program with the autographs.

I think it was Kissimmi 1968-1970

I've been lucky to see some of the great ones, Art Scholl, the French Connection, Bob Hoover many times over, Jimmy Franklin, The Eagles, and on and on.

Thanks to all of the performers for what they do, We would have far less pilots today without their inspiration.

Rob Gish.

William Pierce
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerAirVenture Volunteer
#17 Posted: 9/26/2009 19:37:08

My first was at Ellington AFB in Houston in 1969 (I think). I would have been 11 then, and I can still remember the roar of the Blue Angels in F4 Phantoms!  

Laura Leonard
Homebuilder or Craftsman
#18 Posted: 9/26/2009 22:05:46

I recall the Mirror  Model  Flying  Fair in Bethpage, Long Island.  I think the year was about 1947 or 1948.  Bev Howard flew his great Lakes.  Pan Am pilot Kim Scribner did a Schweizer glider act which started with a roll under tow soon after takeoff.. Regettably he was injured doing that manuever some time later when a wing tip contacted the ground.

The name and date of the show may be off a bit. The names of the performers are probably correct.

Tempus Fugit

(Time Flies)

L. Leonard

Jim Hann
Vintage Aircraft Association MemberHomebuilder or CraftsmanAirVenture Volunteer
#19 Posted: 9/28/2009 11:14:18

I'm not sure which was first, but I saw the late Ed Mahler at Quakerstown, PA; and I went to the Reading Air Show in 77 and 78.  I think Q-town was first, I don't remember much of it, but the Reading Show, I have pics I took (including the Grimes Beech 18) and clearly remember one year being the Blues and the other being the Thunderbirds.  I also remember it raining, and seeing a brand new C-152 with radar (yes, now I realize how strange that was!)

I also spent many years going to Sussex, NJ's airshow.  Got to see a lot of neat things, especially the late Leo Laudenslager.  Fun times.



http://sites.google.com/site/jimscavaliersa1025/ http://picasaweb.google.com/CozyCanard http://sites.google.com/site/cavalieraircraft/
Mike Edwards
Vintage Aircraft Association MemberYoung Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
#20 Posted: 9/28/2009 15:03:05

The first airshow I remember my father took me to in the late '50s.  It was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, probably at Riverside Airport (RVS).  The main thing I remember was looking at a Cessna 150, probably not more than a year or so old at that point.  It looked awfully small.  I would not have believed then that a dozen years later I'd be learning to fly in an airplane just like that.

Mike E

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