Hire Laszlo as your aviation photographer click here for details
2011 Air Shows

Joint Service Open House, Andrews Air Force Base, Md. May 19-21.

Location: Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland
Admission: Free
Parking: Free with shuttle bus service to the spectator area.
Value: Excellent
The first time an F-35 flew over an air show!

Joint Base Andrews (JBA) is a joint military airbase of the USAF and US Navy. It is located 8 miles east of Washington DC. It was originally known as Camp Springs Army Airfield when it became operational in 1943. In 1945 it was renamed Andrews Field to honor Lt. Gen. Frank M. Andrews, one of the Air Force founding fathers. In 1947 after the birth of the United States Air Force it became Andrews Air Force Base. The latest change in the name of the base happened in 2009 when, along with Naval Air Facility Washington, it became Joint Base Andrews.

JBA is home of the 89th Airlift Wing which is responsible for the air transportation of the President of the United States in the Air Force One.
This 3-day show is held annually in mid-May. Friday is for Department of Defense members and school groups. Saturday and Sunday is open to the general public.
This year the 50-year old 9,300 feet long west runway was under a yearlong 81million dollars repair contract that made photographing the air show very challenging since aircraft was taking off , landing and performing over the east runway which is farther away from the crowd line. This condition required lens in the 300 to 600 mm range to get decent images.
The highlight for this year was when the F-35C CF-2 flew over the air show grounds on Saturday. Making its first public appearance piloted by US Navy Lt. Cdr. Eric Buus from NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. Unfortunately the F-35 did not fly over on Sunday.
The Open House draws large crowds 150-200,000 is not uncommon for the weekend. On Saturday a crowd of more than 65,000 people gathered to watch aerobatic demonstrations and synchronized skydiving by service members and veterans. They were also able to inspect a wide array of warbirds with some civilian aircraft on display such as the An-124-100 cargo from Russia.
This was a good weekend for warbirds. Chris Baranaskas flew the P-51D Glamorous Gal, Korean War veteran F4U-4 Corsair flown by Jim Tobul, a FM-2 Wildcat also flew in formation with the only air worthy SB2C Helldiver from the Commemorative Air Force and North American SNJ-2s flown by the Geico Skytypers. Skydiving teams were represented by the U.S. Army Golden Knights and the E-Team Skydivers carrying a very large U.S. flag.
Fast jets in the flying program were the F-15E Demo Team from Seymour Johnson AFB, A-10 East Demo Team and F/A-18C from VFA-106 Gladiators. There were flights by the Air Force Heritage Fight flying the A-10C, F-15E and P-51D and the US Navy Legacy Flight flying the F-4U Corsair and F-18C.
The United States Air Force demonstration team, The Thunderbirds, performed all 3 days on their last U.S. air show before flying to Europe for performance there in June and July. Two of the F-16s flying with the Thunderbirds this weekend were burning bio-fuel instead of JP-8 fuel. They flew with Cameline-based hydro treated renewable jet fuel. They are the first Department of Defense aerial performance team to fly on the alternative fuel.
The highlights of the static display were the Boeing B-29 Fifi, Lockheed U-2S Dragonlady and several naval aircraft wearing retro paint scheme to commemorate 100 years of Naval Aviation.
It was a hot and steamy weekend. The base provided 25-400 gallons water buffaloes dispersed throughout the grounds. There were sufficient bathroom facilities. There were areas for children to play and designated spaces for people to smoke, away from the aircraft. Food vendors were plenty with the usual air show high prices, cheeseburgers $7 and water bottles at $3.
Some of the aircraft participating were:
  • USAF Thunderbirds
  • F-15E Strike Eagle Team
  • A-10 East Demo Team
  • Navy's Legacy Flight
  • Heritage Flight
  • P-51 Mustang
  • F-18 Super Hornet
  • John Klatt ANG
  • B-29 "Fifi" (static)
  • B-17F Memphis Belle (static)
  • U-2S Dragon Lady (static)
  • C-5 Galaxy (static)
  • An-124-100 (static)
  • and many others.
Rating: 8 out of 10 due to the distance between the performers and the public due to runway construction. Next year this will not going to be a problem.
F-35 and F-18 Chase photo plane
Heritage Flight: P-51, F-15E and A-10
USAF Tunderbirds
Review by R.von Puttkammer, images by Joe Osciak and as noted.
© 2011 AIRSHOWSREVIEW LLC. All Rights Reserved.
All trade names, trademarks and manufacturer names are the property of their respective owners.