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My hometown of Milwaukee Wisconsin has held a free airshow along the lakefront for the past several years. This year’s airshow was held on July 20th and 21st and is always held over Bradford Beach which is adjacent to Downtown Milwaukee. All of the airshow performers stage out of General Mitchell International Airport which is located a short 5 miles due South from the airshow box. As with previous years all civilian acts as well as the U.S. Army Golden Knights and the U.S. Navy Leap Frogs staged from Signature Flight Support, which is the FBO (Fixed Base Operator) on the North side of the field. All other military performers staged out of the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 128th ARW (Air Refueling Wing) located on the East side of the field. General Mitchell International Airports spotting locations provided plenty of opportunities to catch arriving and departing airshow aircraft. I attended the show itself on July 20th but spent plenty of time at the airport itself to catch the arriving and departing aircraft.

Top civilian acts this year included The Firebirds which features a three ship flight compromised of Bill Stein flying the Edge 540, Matt Chapman in the Extra 330LX and Jack Knutson and the Extra 300. All three performers were also scheduled to fly solo routines. U.S. Air Force LT. Colonel Josh Boudreaux brought his RV-8A Wild Blue this year. Mike Wiskus rounded out the civilian performers with his Lucas Oil Pitts S-1-11B. Unfortunately due to low ceilings most of the civilian acts performed a modified show or were not able to perform at all.

The same low ceiling kept the U.S. Navy Leap Frogs from jumping but their jump ship an Illinois Air National Guard C-130H Hercules 93-2042 assigned to the 169th AS (Airlift Squadron) out of Peoria IL still made a few passes.

The U.S. Army Golden Knights were able to jump after several delays from their jump ship, Fokker C-31A Troopship 85-1068 named Excalibur.

The U.S. Coast Guard out of Traverse City Michigan flew a SAR (Search and Rescue) Demo with the Sikorsky MH-60T Jayhawk 6044.

Boeing P-8A Poseidon 169007, the flagship aircraft of Patrol Squadron VP-8 “The Flying Tigers” based out of NAS (Naval Air Station) Jacksonville FL flew several passes. The P-8A is a militarized version of the Boeing 737-800 airliner but fitted with the wings of the Boeing 737-900, instead of winglets the P-8A has the same raked wingtips of the Boeing 767-400ER. Just like the P-3 Orion it is replacing the P-8A will fulfill the Anti submarine warfare, anti surface warfare, and maritime patrol roles.

Wisconsin natives Captain Dylan Meunch and Captain Will Reiman brought Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle 89-0492 assigned to the 4th FW (Fighter Wing) Seymour Johnson Air Force Base SC to Milwaukee for this years show.

Republic A-10C Thunderbolt II 81-0994 based at Selfridge Air National Guard Base Michigan and assigned to the 127th Wing made a very welcome appearance. This A-10C is very noteworthy as it is painted in a special color scheme to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 107th FS (Fighter Squadron).

Not to be forgotten is Milwaukee’s very own 128th ARW (Air Refueling Wing) Wisconsin Air National Guard flying KC-135R 59-1516, which flew several passes with the boom deployed.

The headliner this year was the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds flying the General Dynamics F-16 C and D Fighting Falcon. Due to low ceilings and a mechanical issue with Thunderbird number 5 the team flew a modified and shortened flat show.

It was fortunate that I attended the airshow on Saturday as the airshow on Sunday was eventually canceled due to low visibility and ceilings. Despite this year’s weather this continues to be a great show on Milwaukee’s Lakefront with plenty of opportunities at General Mitchell International Airport to photograph arriving and departing airshow aircraft as well. Until next time, “Blue Skies To All!”


Scott Jankowski

Scott Jankowski - Franklin, Wisconsin Like so many others my love of aviation started when I was young, very young. I was only three years old when my Parents took me to my first air show here in Milwaukee, the rest you could say is “history”. I would read aviation magazines instead of Comic Books. I would prefer my Dad take me to the airport to watch airplanes instead of throwing a Football around. I grew up watching Convair 580’s, DC9’s and 727’s from the terminal here in Milwaukee, no Stage Three noise compliance back then! I started to seriously take pictures in the Mid 1980’s , for my birthday that year I finally had my first decent camera. I would head down to the airport with my pockets full of Kodak Film and take pictures of anything and everything. It did not matter if it was a Air Wisconsin Dash-7 or a 128TH ARW KC-135E if it had an engine I took a picture of it. I would drop those rolls off to be developed and three days later tear into the envelopes to see the results, which to be honest were not that good but there were a few keepers every once and a while. Fast forwarding to today with much better equipment and skills I spend as much time as I can at both General Mitchell International and Chicago O’Hare which are my Hometown Airports. While times and aircraft have changed the excitement is still as great as it was back all of those years ago. It makes no difference if it is 737, P-51, F-16, or Lear 35 I will not pass on any photo opportunity as you may not get that chance again. Even though my primary focus is on Commercial Aviation I still frequent as many Air shows as I can in the short Summer Season. I am fortunate enough to have EAA Air Venture in my backyard only being only an Hour and Half from my home. I routinely attend Air shows here in Milwaukee, Rockford, Chicago, Ypsilanti and the Quad Cities. I am very fortunate to be part of the Photorecon.Net and PHX Spotters Team and am looking forward to bringing everyone some Air show and Airliner action from the Midwest Region!

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