Air Show ROCKS Fort Wayne Skies!!!
There’s just something so familiar and comforting about a hometown air show. I can’t really tell you if it’s the faces you already know or the ease of moving about the grounds. For me, it was a little of both. Being from Fort Wayne, I am able to see the A-10s practice as they fly over my home. The 122nd Fighter Wing has a dominating presence in Fort Wayne. This past weekend was no exception. The 2016 Fort Wayne Air Show took place on the 10th and 11th of September. Four A-10s, once again, took to the skies to demonstrate their force and precision.
Precision: the quality, condition, or fact of being exact and accurate. Perfectly exhibited not only by members of the 122nd Fighter Wing, but of also with the United States Air Force Thunderbirds Demonstration Squadron. With thoroughly choreographed routines, the squadron moves in sync showing off maneuvers such as their signature “bomb burst” and “delta” passes. They thrill the audience with opposing knife edge passes and arrowhead loops. With a climb rate of 30,000 feet per minute, the F-16 Fighting Falcon can reach speeds of over one thousand five hundred miles per hour! Typically, they perform shows from February to November around the country and are booked up to 2 years in advance. To see Fort Wayne, Indiana on their schedule is nothing short of impressive and a credit to our community.
Also performing was the “Sibling Rivalry” act. Showing their brotherly love for each other, Billy Werth took to his “Miss America” Pitts while his brother David Werth rode his non- street legal motorcycle in a race down the 11,000 foot runway! The Werth brothers hail from Indianapolis, IN and can be seen in shows across America. National aerobatic competitor and champion Patty Wagstaff also showed off her aerobatic skills dazzling the skies in her Extra 300S. Low level snap rolls, torque rolls, and tail slides made for an exciting fifteen minutes ending her portion of the show with an inverted ribbon cut. Patty has been performing airshows since 1984 and has her own aerobatic school located in St. Augustine, Florida.
Ending their season with two shows in Fort Wayne and one in Oceana, the U.S. Navy F-18 TACDEMO team was also on hand to fly their Super Hornets. Via Facebook, “On this 15th anniversary of 9/11, (we are) deeply honored to be flying the F/A-18 Super Hornet at the Fort Wayne Airshow. The Tactical Demonstration or “TACDEMO” is designed to highlight the mobility, versatility and power of the F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet for the citizens who look to the Navy for the defense of freedom.”
As some remember, Fort Wayne hosted several air shows in the 1980s and 1990s when Fort Wayne International was then known as Baer Field. There was a thirteen year hiatus before the show returned in 2012, bringing in more than 84,000 spectators. 2016 brought with it some unfavorable weather, and parking was limited to the Fort Wayne downtown area as a result of the 9/11 tragedy – and extra security was needed to ensure safety on base and during the show. While it was once rumored that the 122nd Fighter Wing would host an air show every 2 years, Public Affairs Superintendent, MSgt Darin Hubble stated that “we are planning to accomplish this task every four years due to mobilization cycles and deployments.” With 2020 looming in the distance, I believe that the Fort Wayne Air Show will continue to grow. We’ll be seeing more static displays and will be bringing more national acts to the city. With the success of this years show and that of 2012, there’s no reason to believe 2020 won’t be bigger and better making it the largest air show in the state!