2018 Event Review

Hangar 24 Airfest - May-19-20 May 2018

Location: Redlands Municipal Airport, Redlands, CA
Admission: £33.95 (Day)$20 General Admission, $30 2-Day Deal
Parking: FREE on-site
Parking: Excellent
Rating out of 10: 9
Hangar 24 Airfest 2018


On May 19-20, 2018, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery celebrated their 10 year anniversary at their home airport in Redlands, California during their annual Airfest. At the show, many spectators were able to witness a wide variety of aircraft in the air and on the ground along with live music, kids activities, and a beer festival. Highlighting the show was the F-16 Viper Demo Team, CF-18 Hornet Demo Team, 144th FW F-15 Eagles, and much more. Due to the short runway at Redlands, the fighters staged out of March ARB for the entire show weekend. Aircraft from Redlands departed back and forth from March both days with the pilots of each team to allow them to visit the Airfest activities and meet fans.

Gates opened at different times on both days. The show opened Saturday at noon with aerial activities starting at 2:45 pm. On Sunday, they opened earlier at 10:00 am with aerial performances beginning at 10:20 am. On each day, the flying kicked off after the opening ceremonies and National Anthem along with flybys by 2 T-38 Talons from Beale AFB, a C-17 Globemaster III and KC-135 Stratotanker from March ARB, and a C-27J Spartan from USCG Station Sacramento.

The show featured a nice variety of aerobatic performers including Jon Melby who represented Hangar 24 in his Pitts S-1 biplane, Vicky Benzing in her Boeing Stearman, Kent Pietsch in his Jelly Belly Interstate Cadet, Aaron Fitzgerald in his Red Bull helicopter, and Redlands local Tony Higa in his Pitts S-1. Along with their solo routines, a couple of the aerobatic planes raced Bill Braack on the ground in his Smoke 'n' Thunder Jet Car.

An impressive variety of warbirds was featured for display including a WWII parade consisting of warbirds from Planes of Fame Air Museum and the Commemorative Air Force including the P-40 Warhawk, F6F Hellcat, T-28 Trojan, and SBD Dauntless. John Collver also performed a solo routine in his SNJ Texan known as the "War Dog." Representing the Korean War era of military aviation was Gregory "Wired" Colyer who performed in his T-33 Shooting Star trainer jet called "Ace Maker II." During the airshow weekend, Colyer staged out of San Bernardino due to the short runway circumstances. The Red Eagles Formation Team also performed in their 4 Yak-52 Russian trainer aircraft. The team flew a variety of maneuvers including different formations, loops, and head on passes.

One of the major military flybys was from the 144th Fighter Wing of the California Air National Guard in 2 of their F-15C Eagles. The F-15s dazzled the crowd with multiple afterburner passes, dirty passes, and a 2-ship formation flyby. The 144th Fighter Wing is based out of Fresno and has operated the F-15 since 2013.

Representing the Royal Canadian Air Force was the CF-18 Hornet Demonstration Team. Every year, the CF-18 Demo Team has a different theme. This year's theme is the 60th Anniversary of NORAD. The demonstration jet features a full dark blue top side paint job with ribbons, globes, and lightning bolts to commemorate NORAD. The pilot of the team is Capt. Stefan "Porcelain" Porteus. Capt. Porteus performed in the beautifully painted CF-18 and showcased many passes that displayed the magnificent colors of the 2018 demo jet. On Saturday, the CF-18 performed a twilight show which featured full afterburner in the night sky, and on Sunday, it performed a full daylight show.

Highlighting the show was the U.S. Air Force F-16 Viper Demonstration Team based out of Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. The F-16, piloted by Maj. John "Rain" Waters, showcased an incredible performance to spectators which included various tactical maneuvers and high speed passes. In dedication to the late Thunderbirds Slot pilot Maj. Stephen Del Bagno, the team payed tribute with a memorial sticker on their aircraft. After completing the solo routine, Maj. Waters joined with a P-51 Mustang for the Heritage Flight. The Heritage Flight is a formation of fighters from past and present to commemorate the history of U.S. Air Force aviation.

After aerial activities concluded, spectators had plenty of time before gates closed to hear live music from the local bands in attendance, enjoy the beer festival with Hangar 24 crafted brewery, and visit the many vendors. Special thanks to the organizers, volunteers, performers, attendees, and sponsors for making the 2018 Hangar 24 Airfest 10th Year Anniversary a success!! the show.


F-16 Viper Demo Team & Heritage Flight with P-51 Mustang

CF-18 Hornet Demo Team - Twilight Show on Saturday

F-15 Eagle 2-Ship Flyby - 144th Fighter Wing, Fresno ANGB, CA

T-38 Talon 2-Ship Flyby - 9th Reconnaissance Wing, Beale AFB, CA

C-17 Globemaster III & KC-135 Stratotanker Flyby - March ARB, CA (Saturday Only)

C-27J Spartan Flyby - USCG Station Sacramento, CA (Saturday Only)

Gregory "Wired" Colyer - T-33 Shooting Star "Ace Maker II"

WWII Warbird Parade - P-40 Warhawk, F6F Hellcat, T-28 Trojan, SBD Dauntless

John Collver - SNJ Texan "War Dog"

Vicky Benzing Stearman Aerobatics

Red Eagles Formation Team

Aaron Fitzgerald - Red Bull Helicopter

Jon Melby Hangar 24 Pitts Aerobatics

Kent Pietsch Jelly Belly Aerobatics

Tony Higa Aerobatics

Bill Braack - Smoke 'n' Thunder Jet Car


Static Displays
MV-22 Osprey - VMM-166 “SeaElk,” MCAS Miramar, CA
AH-1Z Viper - HMLA-267 “Stingers,” MCAS Camp Pendleton, CA
UH-1Y Venom - HMLA-267 “Stingers,” MCAS Camp Pendleton, CA
CH-124 Sea King - Royal Canadian Air Force

Report and photography by GeoffreyArnwine for

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