My air show addiction

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Every year I try to get to a couple of really good air shows, I think the interest stems from growing up as an Air Force kid.

The shows in Atlantic Canada are fairly small, although I do attend them as well, so I have to travel some distance to find the bigger ones. In recent years Hamilton Ontario, Gatineau Quebec, Ypsilanti Michigan, Oshkosh Wisconsin, Reading Pennsylvania, Ohio and California.

This spring I had the pleasure of attending the Planes Of Fame Air Show in Chino, California.

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Chino is home to the Planes of Fame Museum where they restore, maintain and fly many rare World War Two and Korean War vintage aircraft.

During the show, many other war-bird owners and museums bring their vintage planes to Chino to display them to the public. This year there were at least forty planes in attendance and most flew during the show, so I do tend to take a lot of photos over the weekend. This year I took a little over 6800.  The amount of time and money spent restoring and maintaining these aircraft is mind boggling. Today the average fighter sells for a few million dollars.

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On Day One of the show, the temperature was 105 F. But is was a dry heat, whatever that means.

Day two and three the temperature went way down to 95 F.  So with the aid of bottles of water and maybe the odd adult beverage we spent the day wearing out our cameras on the sites on the ground and in the skies above.

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Some of the highlights of this year's show were a team of three P-51 Mustangs doing aerobatics, three F-86 Sabres doing a routine, P-47s, P-38s, Avengers, Corsairs, P-40s, B-17s, B-25s and C-47s to name a few.

At some points during the flying there are as many as 20 planes in a pattern, so there is always something in front of you. I get teased that my camera starts to smoke at these times.

As mentioned earlier, in addition to the World War Two aircraft, there were Korean War planes as well. T-33, F-86s, Mig-17, F-7F Tigercat to name a few.

Another interesting aircraft was the Northrop N-9M flying wing. This is the only example left and was part of the flying wing program of the 1940s.

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One act, that is a real crowd pleaser, is when a current military aircraft flies in formation with vintage war-birds, known as a heritage flight. This time it was the US Airforce F-22 Raptor in formation with a P-47 Thunderbolt, P-38 Lightning and a P-51 Mustang. I noticed my camera heating up on these passes.

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All too soon it is late Sunday afternoon and time to head out to fly home on the red-eye out of LAX. We have had a great weekend of air show action and the weather co-operated as well, which is always a concern with outdoor events.

Plans are already in the works as to where we will go next year, I think the Planes Of Fame show is going to be one of the trips.

After all, it never rains in California.

—Dave McMahon