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2008 Air Shows

Victory Days, Terre Haute

Location: Hulman International. Airport, Terre Haute, Indiana
Admission: $20.00 at the Gate, per day. + $60.00 for Dinner Dance
Parking: Free on the airport grounds.
Value: below average
The air-box corridor for the air show portion provided excellent viewing and photographic opportunities with a longer lens 300mm and up, when the air show portion was actually on.

Victory Days was an interesting event, as events go. It wasn't technically an air show, it wasn't technically a static WWII memorabilia event, and while the organizers, I personally think, intended it to be an event like the WWII Weekend, in Reading, Pennsylvania, it wasn't.

The event had potential, a lot of potential, but somehow the events' organizers missed their target, as hardly any spectators attended, and the two flying schedules on Sunday, were cancelled due to the lack of audience. That potential revenue from the attendees, would have provided the funds necessary for the event to pay for the fuel for the aircraft. Pilots were ready to participate on Sunday in the air show, if the fuel would have been paid by the organizers. Without the paid fuel, aircraft owners and pilots didn't fly, which is quite understandable since aviation fuel is $6.00+ a gallon, and some of the warbirds do consume a fair amount. All the aircraft and most of the pilots just sat on the tarmac all day until the pilots were paid for attending. Soon after that, most left the event. The only aircraft that flew on Sunday was the C-47 Black Sparrow, in the morning for the paratrooper jump, which was privately funded by the Liberty Jump Team organization, and again in the afternoon, giving rides for a few adventurous attendees.

The event lasted from Oct. 3-5. There was a lot to see and photograph. And in some ways, that too was the problem with the event. It tried to satisfy too many diverse interests, which to me, was a huge mistake. It is much better to have a smaller venue and to concentrate on events which truly draw the crowds such as a good air show made up of rare warbirds and advertise that on the web site vs., other information which do not generate much interest.

It had WWII re-enactors, a mock battle, parachute jumps using WWII style parachutes, antique cars from the era, tractors, and other displays with period style entertainment, a dinner/dance, and the list goes on. The venue was spread out in approximately a mile long area, on a very large airfield too; this was a bit much to walk back and forth.

One more very important fact was also overlooked; the bang for the buck! The event was expensive. These days with the cost of gasoline, job losses, financial chaos that is rampant, it is difficult to get people to come to an event, and it has to be enticing, price wise.

Personally I did have fun, with less crowds, as I had more opportunities to take photos of static aircraft on Sunday.

To summarize, the potential was there for an exceptional event, just look at the list of aircraft, however, the execution and timing of the show left something to be desired. I truly hope the organizers learned a valuable lesson, and I do wish them better luck for next year, if there will be one at all!

Some of the participating aircrafts were:

  • Beech AT-11 "Tantalizing Takeoff"
  • Boeing B-17F "Memphis Belle"
  • Boeing PT-17 Sterman biplane
  • Douglas A-26B Invader "Lady Liberty"
  • Douglas DC-3 Piedmont Airlines
  • C-47D Skytrain or Dakota "Black Sparrow"
  • C-47D Skytrain or Dakota, "Yankee Doodle Dandy"
  • C-47 Skytrain "Judy
  • Grumman FM-2 Wildcat
  • Grumman TBM-3E Avenger "Ida Red"
  • Grumman TBM-3E Avenger
  • North American P-51D "Geraldine
  • North American P-51D "Cincinnati Miss"
  • North American P-51D "Big Beautiful Doll"
  • North American P-51D "Petie 2nd"
  • North American P-51D "#44-63889N"
  • North American P-51D "Happy Jack's Go Buggy"
  • North American p-51D "MoonBeam McSwine"
  • Republic P-47D "Wicked Wabbit"
  • Republic P-47D "Hun Hunter XVI"
  • WACO UPF-7
  • and the list just goes on and on!
Rating: 2 out of 10 due to the cancellation of air show events on Sunday, and general lack of organization direction. This was painfully evident by the lack of attendees.
The highlight of the event was the air show portion on Friday and Saturday with the B-17F Memphis Belle in the air.
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