Moderators: richierich, ua900, PanAm_DC10, hOMSaR

 
canyonblue17
Topic Author
Posts: 754
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:22 am

Whats missing from US airshows

Sat Nov 14, 2020 5:10 pm

Most airshows these days include fighter jets like the F-22, F-16 and even the F-35. They also include old planes such as the B-25, B-17 or P-51. There seems to be a generation of aircraft in between that are rare to find on display. Why don't we see more aircraft like the F-104, F4 or F-14? It seems aircraft from the 50s to 70s are seldom seen. Thoughts.
Last edited by qf789 on Wed Nov 18, 2020 2:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Updated title for clarity
 
FGITD
Posts: 1876
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:44 pm

Re: Whats missing from airshows

Sat Nov 14, 2020 7:02 pm

I understand the reasoning, but it’s absolutely tragic that not a single F14 was saved for airshows or other demo purposes. I know the military isn't in the business of saving planes for nostalgia but still...it's almost definitely the US Navy's most famous type.

A shame the century series are virtually all gone as well. Would love to see them. But I suppose the point of air shows is recruiting, and you don't get recruits by showing off cold war fighters
 
petertenthije
Posts: 4394
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2001 10:00 pm

Re: Whats missing from airshows

Sat Nov 14, 2020 7:15 pm

On a hunch, the likes of F-4s, F-104s and F-14s are too advanced to be affordably kept flying by what’s typically a group of volunteers.

With a few exceptions only air forces keep them flying. Even if only by a heritage flight, such as Sweden with their Viggen and Draken. For them it’s not a necessity to break-even financially. It’s a way to honour the past, do recruitment/promotion and maintain technical skills (for example maintenance).

Mustangs, Spitfires and the like are relatively simple to maintain and, compared to jets, relatively cheap. They also got plenty of history making it easier to obtain sponsors and public interest.
 
User avatar
flyingturtle
Posts: 6202
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:39 pm

Re: Whats missing from airshows

Sat Nov 14, 2020 7:57 pm

In Switzerland there's a group that keeps a Hawker Hunter flying.

And I remember the shows that I've watched as a child during the 90ies. There was the Su-27 flown by a somewhat coo-coo pilot. Like, pointing the nose at the viewers, flying above the viewers with a rather low height... though I understand the safety concerns (Ramstein...), today's air shows look pretty tame.
 
User avatar
SheikhDjibouti
Posts: 2348
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:59 pm

Re: Whats missing from airshows

Sat Nov 14, 2020 11:12 pm

canyonblue17 wrote:
Most airshows these days include fighter jets like the F-22, F-16 and even the F-35. They also include old planes such as the B-25, B-17 or P-51. There seems to be a generation of aircraft in between that are rare to find on display. Why don't we see more aircraft like the F-104, F4 or F-14? It seems aircraft from the 50s to 70s are seldom seen. Thoughts.

You are absolutely right!

Airshows for years have included Eurofighter, Tornado and Mirage. And as you say, they also included old planes such as Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster (¹). But the generation between is now missing. We used to be able to rely on foreign nations to turn up with their hand-me-down cold war relics, for instance Switzerland only retired it's last de Havilland Vampire in 1990, and the last Hawker Hunters in 1994. And when it came to the century-series fighters, even Turkey retired it's final Starosaurus Fighterus eventually. Actually, I may be getting that wrong, it was Italy in 2004 that was last to retire the "Spillone" (Hatpin).

Here are two hatpins on their way into RIAT '95. Happy days!



(¹) That covers the UK, but for many European Air Forces, WWII wasn't an event to celebrate so much. And there wasn't much encouragement for the Germans to maintain historic flights of Bf109s and He111s after 1945. :white:
 
mxaxai
Posts: 2866
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:29 am

Re: Whats missing from airshows

Sat Nov 14, 2020 11:36 pm

canyonblue17 wrote:
Why don't we see more aircraft like the F-104, F4 or F-14?

The only operational F-104 outside of the US is this one based in Bodo, Norway, I believe: http://www.starfighter.no/indeng.html

Challenges:
- some materials age even in storage, can be difficult to replace. Newer aircraft tend to use more exotic / unusual materials.
- some parts have almost reached their certified lifespan, less of an issue with old unpressurised WW2 aircraft
- some complex parts are just not supported anymore, e. g. the original ejection seat, and need to be replaced with a modern equivalent. Happens to WW2 aircraft too.
- some parts sales need to be approved by the (US) government since they are still used for jets in active military service. Not an issue with WW2 aircraft.
- spare parts stockpiles and total number of produced airframes tends to be smaller, especially for the F-14.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 8941
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Whats missing from airshows

Sun Nov 15, 2020 12:06 am

FGITD wrote:
I understand the reasoning, but it’s absolutely tragic that not a single F14 was saved for airshows or other demo purposes. I know the military isn't in the business of saving planes for nostalgia but still...it's almost definitely the US Navy's most famous type.

A shame the century series are virtually all gone as well. Would love to see them. But I suppose the point of air shows is recruiting, and you don't get recruits by showing off cold war fighters


There’s a Hun owned by a UA pilot in KFWA that was doing shows. Not sure if it’s still active. They’re awesomely expensive to operate, if you can get the regulators to approve any jet fighter of that era.
 
Ozair
Posts: 5582
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Whats missing from airshows

Sun Nov 15, 2020 3:17 am

mxaxai wrote:
- spare parts stockpiles and total number of produced airframes tends to be smaller, especially for the F-14.

F-14 is a somewhat special case though. It and the F-111 are not flying preseved because of the parts commonality and decision to scrap then post retirement. That scrapping was almost exclusively to prevent Iran from acquiring additional spares for their fleet.

I went to a Battle Of Britain airshow in 2018 which was fantastic and had a lot of older airframes instead of newer aircraft but agree there is a dearth of 50s to 70s airframes.
 
ThePointblank
Posts: 3882
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:39 pm

Re: Whats missing from airshows

Sun Nov 15, 2020 4:43 am

Some of the older, less advanced jets are still kicking around with certain Red Air groups; I am aware of just over two dozen Hawker Hunters in service with two air training companies in Eastern Canada, and Top Aces has a few A-4 Skyhawks. Draken International has Mirage fighters, and Starfighters Inc has F-104's.

You'll occasionally see these groups bring their aircraft out to air shows, but they are fairly rare appearances.
 
bennett123
Posts: 10929
Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2004 12:49 am

Re: Whats missing from airshows

Sun Nov 15, 2020 9:06 am

I went to the Bournemouth Airshow last year and the line up included a MIG 15, T33, Strikemaster and Drake.

Scheduled for September 2021.

Happy days.
 
FGITD
Posts: 1876
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:44 pm

Re: Whats missing from airshows

Sun Nov 15, 2020 4:50 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
FGITD wrote:
I understand the reasoning, but it’s absolutely tragic that not a single F14 was saved for airshows or other demo purposes. I know the military isn't in the business of saving planes for nostalgia but still...it's almost definitely the US Navy's most famous type.

A shame the century series are virtually all gone as well. Would love to see them. But I suppose the point of air shows is recruiting, and you don't get recruits by showing off cold war fighters


There’s a Hun owned by a UA pilot in KFWA that was doing shows. Not sure if it’s still active. They’re awesomely expensive to operate, if you can get the regulators to approve any jet fighter of that era.


Apparently the Collings Foundation has one as well, kept somewhere down south with their other Vietnam era aircraft. I’ve heard their American Heritage museum in MA is outstanding as well.
 
superbizzy73
Posts: 129
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 5:43 am

Re: Whats missing from airshows

Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:21 pm

I know there's (or, has been) an A-4, F-4, F-100, F-104 (Starfighters, Inc., if I remember correctly), MiG-21, and others of that era that have been flying. I agree with the previous post, though...to see a F-14 once again ripping up the sky would be epic! (Personally, to see a F-106 flying again would be absolutely amazing...)
 
petertenthije
Posts: 4394
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2001 10:00 pm

Re: Whats missing from airshows

Sun Nov 15, 2020 11:47 pm

superbizzy73 wrote:
I know there's (or, has been) an A-4, F-4, F-100, F-104 (Starfighters, Inc., if I remember correctly), MiG-21, and others of that era that have been flying. I agree with the previous post, though...to see a F-14 once again ripping up the sky would be epic! (Personally, to see a F-106 flying again would be absolutely amazing...)
normalize relations with the Iranians. With some luck they’ll offer to bring one to the international airshow circuit. LOL
 
User avatar
smithbs
Posts: 578
Joined: Wed May 17, 2017 6:09 pm

Re: Whats missing from airshows

Tue Nov 17, 2020 12:44 am

And sadly the Vulcan project has been parked for good.

I would also throw in my complaint that even the airshows themselves are getting rare. I remember going to lots at my local AF and navy bases in the 90s. Most don't do them anymore.
 
ThePointblank
Posts: 3882
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:39 pm

Re: Whats missing from airshows

Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:33 am

smithbs wrote:
And sadly the Vulcan project has been parked for good.

I would also throw in my complaint that even the airshows themselves are getting rare. I remember going to lots at my local AF and navy bases in the 90s. Most don't do them anymore.

It's getting very expensive to run air shows these days, from insurance, paying performers, renting equipment, staffing, and even using airport property. It's really only the big air shows that have had luck surviving, as they can draw in the numbers of visitors and sponsors to stay afloat financially.

Also, the post-Cold War drawdowns have meant budget cuts for Air Forces around the world, reducing their ability to support air shows.
 
User avatar
smithbs
Posts: 578
Joined: Wed May 17, 2017 6:09 pm

Re: Whats missing from airshows

Tue Nov 17, 2020 2:54 pm

ThePointblank wrote:
smithbs wrote:
And sadly the Vulcan project has been parked for good.

I would also throw in my complaint that even the airshows themselves are getting rare. I remember going to lots at my local AF and navy bases in the 90s. Most don't do them anymore.

It's getting very expensive to run air shows these days, from insurance, paying performers, renting equipment, staffing, and even using airport property. It's really only the big air shows that have had luck surviving, as they can draw in the numbers of visitors and sponsors to stay afloat financially.

Also, the post-Cold War drawdowns have meant budget cuts for Air Forces around the world, reducing their ability to support air shows.


Yep, I'm familiar with those reasons. Still don't like it though. It's one of the factors that pulls the military away from the community, and they become less familiar with each other. When I was in the Air NG, a similar thing happened - all of the geographically separated stations were closed, and everyone had to go to The Big Base, even if it meant a hundred mile commute. And so even the NG is no longer a community presence anymore.
 
User avatar
LyleLanley
Posts: 524
Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2019 9:33 pm

Re: Whats missing from airshows

Tue Nov 17, 2020 9:40 pm

canyonblue17 wrote:
Most airshows these days include fighter jets like the F-22, F-16 and even the F-35. They also include old planes such as the B-25, B-17 or P-51. There seems to be a generation of aircraft in between that are rare to find on display. Why don't we see more aircraft like the F-104, F4 or F-14? It seems aircraft from the 50s to 70s are seldom seen. Thoughts.


Remembering the govt surplus sales that happened after WW2, where a person with means could score a P-51 or F4U for a few grand, it makes sense there would still be a sizable number of those aircraft airworthy. They're relatively easy to maintain, are fairly fuel efficient all things considered, and had plenty of life left in them. Bonus: they're iconic and are recognizable even if you're not an aviation or history buff.

Contrast with the Century series (and beyond) of jet fighters: instead of being sold to the public after obsolescence, they rotted in the desert or were scrapped. Sure, a very select few groups had the VERY deep coffers necessary to buy, restore, insure, and maintain - not to mention fuel! - these very, very temperamental aircraft, but they're few and far between. Uncle Sam had deep enough pockets, but most don't and the US government eventually balked at how much those jets cost. Remember, the F-4 was too expensive in the long-term for even the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds! They're also insanely loud and smoke. Great for you and I, but most people are turned off by that nowadays, for good reason, and when people are turned off their wallets are also turned off. No bucks, no Buck Rogers!

Then there's the F-16 and its generation... Still being used by frontline air forces around the world, so on top of the issues with early jet fighters, you also have problems with de-militarization. Generally speaking, they're also retired when their useful life is fairly well depleted, so there's that aspect.

WW2 surplus aircraft were in that nice sweet spot between cost and presence. Aircraft since then were far greater on cost without a huge increase on presence.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 14 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos