The skydiver with the American flag was the signal that the Air Show had started.
First up was a Heritage flight for the Navy. The plane at the top is an A-4 Skyhawk. The middle plane is AD-1 Skyraider and the bottom plane is a Corsair.
The Corsair getting put through it's paces.
The A-4 Skyhawk getting put through its paces. The A-4 was originally designed to be a nuclear bomber to be launched off the deck of an aircraft carrier. It was likely this would have been a one way mission. Later it was converted to a ground attack aircraft and was used by many of our allies. This was the plane that John McCain flew (well not *the* plane but the same style). It first flew in the 50's and served in active duty until the 80's. Later it was used as an aggressor aircraft in training. The last Skyhawk was retired by the Navy in 2003.
Here the Skyhawk is in carrier landing configuration. The wingspan is so small that they can park it on the deck of carrier without folding the wings.
A P-51 going through its paces. This was one of the fastest piston engined fighters in the war.
And it's a pretty slick looking aircraft to boot.
One of the Airport Police officers patrolling the grounds.
This is Sean Whelen, stunt pilot. I'll have to admit, he did some pretty neat stuff.
One of the amazing dives.
During the Air Show itself, they had a Vietnam War re-enactment. No re-enactment would be complete without a Huey. Here the Huey is similuating jinking in an effort to avoid ground fire. The Huey had a very distinctive and loud sound, so the enemy could hear them coming from a long way. This made the life of a Huey pilot very dangerous.
As shot from the front.
The Huey flaring up as it prepares to let troops out.
In a picture from the war, you'd be seeing troops jumping out about right now but in the interest of safety, this Huey will actually land.
The American troops getting ready to deploy.
Putting down covering fire.
The Huey coming in for a landing again.
And getting closer to the ground.
The soldiers disembarking from the helicopter. Many times this would be under fire.
One of the soldiers.
The Americans start to advance.
The Huey pulls off to act in fire support.
One of the soldiers firing at the Viet Cong.
Normally, I wouldn't post a picture this out of focus but I kind of liked the effect. It was one of guys simulating going down.
This is a Cessna O-2 Bird Dog. It was an aircraft that was used as a forward observer and air traffic controller. It would try to spot the enemy and then bring in the heavier aircraft to take care of business.
The AC-47 Spooky in action. During the war, the Spooky would be called in for fire support. Typically, it would circle around the battlefield and rain death on the enemy.
This was the best shot I could get of one of the Viet Cong guys. I wasn't really positioned well for that side.
I think this guy would be simulating one of the Special Forces guys.
The AC-47 flies straight overhead.
A C-123 Provider. This was a cargo plane that was used extensively throughout the war.
Towards the end of the battle, we got to see the Skyraiders come in. The Skyraider was developed towards the end of World War II. It was meant to be both a dive bomber and torpedo bomber but entered service too late for that War. They were used quite extensively over Korea and Vietnam though. In many ways, it served as the prototype for the A-10 Thunderbolt.
As you can see, it can carry a heavy amount of ordnance. The plane served many roles during the Vietnam War. Probably one of the best was during search and rescue operations. It would provide fire support as the helicopters would come in to grab the downed pilot. This particular Skyraider is in the color scheme used by many of the Air Force planes over Vietnam.
They had four of these at the Air Show and it was pretty cool seeing them go through their paces.
A Skyraider in Marine Regalia. The plane was used by the Marines, Navy and Air Force.