|Wings Over Wine Country Air Show, September 24-25, 2016
|Location: Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport, Santa Rosa, California
|Admission: $20 Adults, $10 Students (11-17), Museum Members Free
|Rating out of 10: 9
The annual Wings Over Wine Country Air Show hosted by the Pacific Coast Air Museum took place on September 24-25. This year's show featured the most jet demonstrations ever hosted at the venue. Highlighting the performers were the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Demo Team and Heritage Flight. Other major performers included the U.S. Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet VFA-122 TAC Demo and Canadian Forces CF-18 Hornet Demo Team. Also featured at the show were the USAFA "Wings of Blue" Parachute Team along with many different types of warbirds.
|Gates opened at 9:00 am to the general public and attendees got to walk up close to multiple static aircraft that were there including the aircraft that are displayed at the Pacific Coast Air Museum. Along with the museum's lineup were military displays like 2 Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets and a C-17 Globemaster III from March Air Reserve Base. Spectators were able to get up close to the performing warbirds and pilots. RC pilots flew their planes in the airspace while people were beginning to get seated.
|The opening ceremonies kicked off with the "Wings of Blue" Parachute Team performing during the National Anthem. Shortly after their performance was finished, the Sonoma Police Department flew their helicopter to demonstrate a rescue mission with the Fire Department. After the opening acts, a U.S. Coast Guard C-27 Spartan made a very special flyover on Saturday. Two T-38 Talons from Beale Air Force Base were originally scheduled to flyover but decided to cancel after the fatal U-2 crashed that happened earlier in September. In tribute to the fallen pilot, a group of 4 Nanchang CJ-6 WWII trainers of the Red Stars Formation team flew a missing man formation.
Every year, the air show has a stellar warbird lineup. Starting out the warbird routine was Gregory "Wired" Colyer in his T-33 Shooting Star called "Ace Maker II." After his flight, a group of vintage Navy aircraft took to the skies including the T-6 Texan, SBD Dauntless, TBM Avenger, and C-1 Trader. Rounding out the warbird highlights were the fighter class which included three P-51 Mustangs, a P-40 Warhawk, P-47 Thunderbolt, and F4U Corsair.
Aerobatic performers this year were much lighter compared to previous years. The only two aerobatic demonstrations came from Kent Pietsch in his Jelly Belly Interstate Cadet and Vicky Benzing in her Boeing Stearman.
|The event got loud when the jets took to the sky. The first fighter jet to perform was the Canadian Forces CF-18 Hornet piloted by Capt. Ryan "Roid" Kean. Every year the CF-18 has a special paint scheme with a unique theme. This year's theme was the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). The specially marked jet featured a black and yellow scheme similar to that of the T-6 Harvards used back in WWII by the British. Another major jet highlight of the show was the U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet TAC Demo flown by VFA-122. On Saturday, the team flew the twin seat F model which commemorated the late Blue Angels pilot Capt. Jeff Kuss who was killed earlier this summer. On Sunday, they flew the single seat E model, but had to limit their show routine due to aerial fire fighting operations.
|Concluding the show was the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Demo Team making it's first ever appearance at the Wings Over Wine Country Air Show. Piloting the F-22 was Maj. Dan "Rock" Dickinson. Maj. Dickinson showcased the raw power of the F-22 with it's highly manoeuvrable capabilities. After it's demonstration, the F-22 flew in formation with a P-51 Mustang known as "Dolly" for the Heritage Flight. It was a rare opportunity for the public to see a U.S. fighter from the past fly in formation with a modern fighter jet. After the demonstration, Maj. Dickinson flew the F-22 back to Travis Air Force Base where it was staged during the entire weekend.
|To learn more about the Pacific Coast Air Museum and the aircraft that they have on display, check them out at http://pacificcoastairmuseum.org/.
|To see our GoPro footage inside the cockpit of the T-33 Shooting Star "Ace Maker II" piloted by Gregory "Wired" Colyer during Saturday's performance, check it out at by clicking on the image below:
|Air Show Performers:
U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team & Heritage Flight with P-51 Mustang
U.S. Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet VFA-122 TAC Demonstration Team
Canadian Forces CF-18 Hornet Demonstration Team
USAF Academy "Wings of Blue" Parachute Team
U.S. Coast Guard C-27 Spartan Flyover (Saturday Only)
Gregory "Wired" Colyer and the T-33 Shooting Star "Ace Maker II"
Kent Pietsch in his Jelly Belly Interstate Cadet
Vicky Benzing and her Boeing Stearman
WWII Fighter Theatre: P-51 Mustangs, P-40 Warhawk, P-47 Thunderbolt, F4U Corsair
WWII Navy Theatre: T-6 Texan, SBD Dauntless, TBM Avenger,
Nanchang CJ-6 Red Stars Formation Team
|Report and photography by Geoffrey Arnwine for