Welcome to Airshow Traveler Magazine's Newsletter, Air Show Weekly, where we take a look at upcoming airshows and showcase current aviation topics.
All air show information listed is accurate as we know it. Still, it is best to check with the individual air show to see if there are any changes. Even then, scheduled aircraft may not appear due to bad weather en route, or because of mechanical breakdown.
Michael Jackson is no more a hero than Michael Jordan. The real heroes are the ones who put their lives on the line. This is the first in a series of articles spotlighting the real heroes of combat. First up is my good friend, L. Kirk John.
When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December, 1941, L. Kirk John was welding at Lukens Steel in Coatesville, PA. Because he was a Navy certified welder, he had a deferment from being drafted into the military, but that did not stop him from joining the war effort. He enlisted in September 1942, took operational training at Punta Gorda, FL, and then boarded the Queen Mary for Wormingford, England.
In Europe, Kirk flew the P-51D Mustang with the 338th Fighter Squadron. The 338th was assigned fighter cover for B-17 bombers crossing the English Channel into Germany. Kirk encountered air to air combat on only his fourth mission. His first aircraft, Krazy Kid, was shot out from under him on his tenth mission and he landed behind enemy lines near the Battle of the Bulge. The Good Lord was with him as he made it back to safety with the help of villagers in Belgium.
When he returned to Wormingford he had a new plane waiting that he named Ornery. On one mission with Ornery he found himself alone over Germany and running low on fuel. He came to a coastline but did not know which coastline it was. Rather than fly over water, he felt his safest bet was to double back and find an airfield to land on, hoping it was a friendly field. God was with him again as he landed near Bordeaux, France. After spending the night in a bombed out chateaux, villagers found him some gas for the Mustang and in the morning he took off across the Channel back to Wormingford.
With his new plane he continued on with the 338th completing 47 missions with 5 combat kills making him an ace. When the war ended, Mr. John continued flying in the reserves but took time out to marry his lovely wife, Linda. In June 1948, just after the birth of his son, Kirk left the Air Force to become an insurance agent for Prudential. He and Linda still live in Coatesville. They've been married for 62 years and they are a lovely couple and still very much in love.
L. Kirk John is as spry today at 90 years young as he was when he first joined the local YMCA 75 years ago. He still swims 2-3 times a week and still fits in his service uniform. Every June he puts on his uniform and spends a day at WWII Weekend in Reading, PA. He does not go to the admissions gate, but instead goes to the performers gate. No one ever stops him to ask for credentials, for he paid his credentials 65 years ago in WWII.
A Worthy Cause
Warbirds Over Long Island is continuing on in the tradition of its founder, Bob Baranaskas. In that vein, a commemorative patch is available for sale at $20. Proceeds benefit the Bob Baranaskas Scholarship Fund. It's a beautiful patch that measures 4 inches in diameter. To order, please click on the photo below. It's a worthy cause and one we support whole heartedly.
Canada continues to celebrate its 100 years of powered flight with another great air show, this one in Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada. Besides the headliner Snowbirds, there is the special F-86 Sabre, Hawk One, as well as the specially painted Canadian Hornet. The Pietsch brothers will be on hand for some aerobatics, as will Dan Buchanan and Bud Granley.
For us warbird nuts, the highlight of the show has to be a performance by the Avro Lancaster Mk.X bomber (C-GVRA, KB726). It is one of only two Lancasters that fly. The photo below was taken at the 2007 Gathering of Mustangs in Columbus, OH.
F-86 Hawk One Sabre
Bud Granley and his T-6 Texan
Bill Carter and his Pitts S2S
Warren Pietsch and his Taylorcraft
Dan Buchanan and his Hang Glider
Kent Pietsch and his Interstate Cadet
CT-155 Hawk 4 Ship Demo
Alberta Forestry 3-AT802
Avro Lancaster Mk.X Bomber
Seattle Sea Fair, July 31 - Aug 2
Location: Genesee Park, South Lake Washington, WA
Admission: There are so many ticket prices and options, it is best to go to the website listed below
As of this writing, there is a very short list of performers for this year's Sea Fair. The website says more performers will be added but it's less than a week to go for the show. Looks like the northwest is struggling like the rest of the country. Still, with the Blue Angels performing over the water, you can't go wrong.
It's been a long absence for a Texan II demo, but the Sea Fair website lists a pair scheduled to demo. We hope so for we like this aircraft and was sad to see it taken off the Air Combat Command list of air show performers. The photo below was taken at the 2006 Hill AFB air show. it shows a T-6A Texan II (03-3681) from the 12th Fighter Training Wing at Randolph AFB, TX.
Thank you for reading the latest issue of our newsletter.
God Bless Us Everyone,
Wayne Matusiak, Publisher Airshow Traveler Magazine
Visit Our Sponsors
American Airpower Museum:Republic Airport, Farmingdale, NY. Great aircraft and warm, friendly people. Very knowledgeable staff. A great place to visit any time of year. We thank them for their support over the years.
Warbirds Over Long Island: With the passing of Bob Baranaskas, the future of this top notch outfit remains bright. Bob's oldest son Chris will continue his Dad's vision and we support him 100%. These are trying times for the Baranaskas family so please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
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