On the weekend of May 22-23, my dad and I went to the Madera Airshow in Madera, California. The weather was perfect and we had a great time! I got to go on an aerobatic ride with Spencer Suderman and his Meteor Pitts! It was amazing!
When we got there on Friday, it was a beautiful day. We met up with Joe Conway, a really great guy. He gave us a ride to the performer’s hanger where we met Spencer Suderman and Bill Cornick. I can’t even begin to tell you how great these guys were. A real kick in the pants. Then I met up with USAF Captain Joe “Rifle” Shetterly, the A-10 demo pilot, to do an interview with him. After the interview, Spencer took me up for the aerobatic ride of my life. We did hammerheads, rolls, loops, 4 point rolls and more. It was great, despite the fact that I turned a little green!
Bill Cornick took my good friend and awesome photographer Clark Cook up for an aerobatic in his Pitts after I flew and Bill tried to do everything to make Clark sick and couldn't do it! Bill complains that trying to make Clark barf wore him out! I'm so jealous!
Then it was Rifle’s turn in Spencer’s plane. When they came back, Spencer said that he and Rifle tried everything to make each other barf, but it didn’t work. They had a great time, though!
The next day, the show started at 11:04 AM with the Ceremony Flag jump Circle Jumpers and Tim Decker and Doug Jardine circling them. Next up was my buddy Greg Colyer and his awesome T-33 Shooting Star “Ace Maker”. It’s amazing what Greg can do with that thing. Then Evan Wolfe and his T-28 Trojan ripped up the sky with a very cool aerobatic routine.
After Evan came my new friend Bill Cornick who went up to the sky in his Pitts S2C and awed the crowd. I mean, the guy is 77 and he’s doing aerobatics that make me want to blow chunks! That’s amazing! After him all the T-6 pilots went up with their planes and buzzed the crowd. Next up was Carl Liepold, a really great guy and pilot who went up in his Yak 55 and did an amazing job spinning, rolling, looping hammerheading and more all over the sky.
Then Hartley and Margi of the “Silver Wings Wingwalking” team went up in their awesome Stearman and completely amazed the crowd. Margi must have a lot of courage to stand up on top of a moving airplane! After them, Doug Jardine went up and did an astounding job in his Sukhoi SU-26. Then all the warbirds went up including P-51’s, a P-40, a Yak-11 and more. It was so cool!
After the warbirds, Spencer Suderman went up in his Meteor Pitts to make everyone’s eyes bug out and their jaws drop at the sight of all his moves. Remembering what he and I had done in his Pitts the day before, I thought I was going to hurl just watching him fly! Next up was Clay Lacy and his Lear Jet. Oh my goodness. He was amazing! Who knew you could do aerobatics like that in a business jet? Made to give business people a nice, smooth flight? Well, Clay can do anything! After him, Dr. D went up in his Taylor Craft airplane and his graceful energy management routine with his engine off was really cool.
Next up was John Collver in his AT-6 “Wardog”. He did lots of great and challenging maneuvers, but the remarkable thing is that he does them so close to the ground! After him came the Madera Skydive. They were so amazing and patriotic! Then the 4 B-25’s went up – that’s right, Four B-25’s - and gave us some great photos while they flew so close by you could almost see the color of the pilot’s shirt!
Then Tim Decker went up in his beautiful S2B biplane to totally wow the crowd! He is an amazing pilot. Then it was my new friend Captain Joe “Rifle” Shetterly’s turn. I think his flight with Spencer the day before must have influenced him because when he got up in the A-10 he flew all over the place, doing loops, rolls and more! It was so cool: an attack airplane doing aerobatics! After him Dan Vance and his Mustang Speedball Alice went up and flew and let everyone see what a Mustang can do!
Then it was time for the coolest race ever - Spencer Suderman vs. Bill Cornick in the Aerobatic racing Challenge. Bill and Spencer go in their planes and compete against each other at the same time next to each other to see who can complete the aerobatic routine the fastest. They set the sky ablaze, and this race Bill won by an inch and a half. And last but not least, the Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet burned the sky down in an awesome demo of the F/A-18’s power.
In all, the Madera Airshow was one of the best shows we’ve been to, so be sure to go to the 2011 Madera Airshow! See you there!