|Wings Over Solano 2017, May 6-7, 2017
|Location: Travis AFB, Fairfield, CA
|Admission: Free General Admission, $25 Box Seats, $125 VIP Seating
|Parking: Free on-site
|Rating out of 10: 9.0
For the first time in three years Travis AFB hosted their annual Open House known as "Wings Over Solano." Returning to the event as the headlining act was the United States Air Force Thunderbirds who have been a common attraction at the show for the past years. Other performers included the United States Navy F/A-18 TAC Demo Team and United States Army Golden Knights Parachute Team.
|Gates opened at 9:30 am and prior to aerial activities, people were able to walk around and look up close at the different aircraft on static display and visit the exhibits. Notable statics included the new F-35A Lightning II and assets from Travis which included the C-17 Globemaster III, C-5 Galaxy, and KC-10 Extender.
|Flying activities officially kicked off at 10:00 am with the opening ceremonies featuring flag jumps by the US Air Force Academy Wings of Blue Parachute Team. After the jumpers were finished, Team Travis showcased their own aircraft which included the C-17, C-5, and a 2-Ship KC-10 aerial refuelling demonstration.
|The show featured a nice variety of different aerobatic aircraft. Those performers included Barry Hancock in his T-6 Texan WWII trainer, Jacquie Warda in her Extra 300, Dan Buchanan in his Special Effects Hang Glider, Billy Werth in his Pitts S2C, and Anthony Oshinuga in his Pitts S1. Adding to the excitement of these aerobatic acts included multiple races between those aircraft and the Smoke 'n' Thunder Jet Truck driven by Bill Braack. Rich Perkins was able to fly in three different aircraft which included his L-39 Albatross "Firecat," SIAI-Marchetti SF-260 "Mako Shark," and Yak-54 "Russian Thunder." Bob Carlton also flew in his Super Salto Jet Sailplane and SubSonex Microjet.
|The US Army Golden Knights were among some of the military performers that participated in the event. During their demonstration they showcased various parachuting formations and capabilities which included bomb bursts and releasing backup chutes in case the primary one fails. The team used their Fokker C-31 as the aircraft to jump from for their act.
|Representing the US Navy at the show was the F/A-18 Super Hornet Tactical Demonstration Team flown by VFA-122 "Flying Eagles" based out of NAS Lemoore, CA. During their performance, the team showcased different tactical maneuvers and capabilities of the Super Hornet which included high speed passes and tight turns. On Saturday, the single-seat E model was used in the demonstration and on Sunday the two-seat F model was used.
Concluding the flying portion of the event was the US Air Force Aerial Demonstration Squadron known as the Thunderbirds. It marked the team's first appearance at Travis since the last show hosted back in 2014. Due to weather conditions on Saturday, a low level show was demonstrated which featured maneuvers that were closer to the crowd and even additional sneak passes. On Sunday, the weather was all clear for the team to fly their normal high show. Spectators were able to witness the many formations and precision flying by the Thunderbirds which included the diamond formation, head-on passes by the two solos, and multiple formation loops and rolls. After they were finished flying, the team walked over to the crowd to meet fans and sign autographs.
The show officially came to a close at 5:00 pm and people were able to continue looking at the different static aircraft and exhibits as they were exiting the gates. Special thanks to the performers, volunteers, attendees, and personnel of team Travis for making Wings Over Solano 2017 a success.
United States Air Force Thunderbirds
United States Navy F/A-18 TAC Demo Team
United States Army Golden Knights
United States Air Force Academy Wings of Blue
Team Travis: C-17 Globemaster III, C-5 Galaxy, x2 KC-10 Extender
Rich Perkins: Firecat, Mako Shark, & Russian Thunder
Bob Carlton: Super Salto Jet Sailplane & SubSonex Microjet
Barry Hancock T-6 Texan Aerobatics
Billy & David Werth Pitts S2C Aerobatics & Sibling Rivalry
Jacquie Warda Extra 300 Aerobatics
Anthony Oshinuga Pitts S1 Aerobatics
Bill Braack Smoke ’n’ Thunder Jet Truck
Lockheed Martin F-35A Lighting II - Luke AFB, AZ
Lockheed Martin F-16C Fighting Falcon - Luke AFB, AZ
x2 Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle - Seymour-Johnson AFB, NC
x2 A-10C Thunderbolt II - AFRC Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ
x2 T-38A Talon - Beale AFB, CA
U-2 Dragon Lady - Beale AFB, CA
B-52H Stratofortress - Barksdale AFB, LA
x2 C-17A Globemaster III - Travis AFB, CA
x2 C-5M Super Galaxy - Travis AFB, CA
x2 KC-10A Extender - Travis AFB, CA
KC-135R Stratotanker - Beale AFB, CA
MC-130P Hercules - California ANG, Moffett Field, CA
Report and photography by Geoffrey Arnwine for