Planes of Fame Airshow 2012

This was my first time at the Planes of Fames Air show, located in Chino, CA. I first went on Friday for the semi-practice day, and then to the Saturday show. First off, the staff at the Planes of Fame was very nice and professional. Having never been there before, they were extremely helpful with getting me in and situated and offered some great advice for the weekend’s show.

On Friday, a lot of the planes involved in the show were doing practice runs, and it was quite enjoyable with the weather being sunny with a few clouds and a cool breeze blowing across the tarmac, and I was able to spend time with some other friends/photographers.

At one point, while I was standing with a few other photographers and joking around, I made the comment that I was really surprised that since the Collings Foundation was in Southern California at the time, that I would think that they would be here at this air show. Then about 5 minutes after this conversation died, I saw 3 blips flying towards the airport coming from the southeast. As the blips got closer, I recognized 2 large blips and 1 much smaller blip, and by the time, they were within a mile of the airport,  I just knew it was the 3 ship formation of the Collins Foundation, the B17 “Nine O Nine” Flying Fortress, the B24 “Witchcraft” Liberator, and the P-51 “Betty Jane” Mustang, after all, I had just flown on the “Witchcraft” and did some air to air with the “Betty Jane”, the week before in San Diego County. What a treat it was, that in two days, to be able to see the 3 major American Heavy Bombers from World War II flying once again, as the Planes of Fames folks had three B25 Mitchells flying once again for the show.

On Saturday morning, I setup along the flight line and was immediately joined by some WWII and Korean War vets. It was great to sit there, and chat with them and listen to them as they shared their memories and stories. The show also turned out to be a Fighter Pilot’s dream show with many, many P-51 Mustangs, P-40’s Warhawks, P-38 Lightnings, a P-47 Thunderbolt, a F-3Wildcat, a F-4F Hellcat, a F-6 Bearcat, a F-8 Tigercat, and my personal favorite an F4U Corsair, There was also British Spitfire, Hurricane, and Fireflies, a RussianYak-3, 3 Japanese Zeros, a German FW 109, and so many more planes. One of the exciting parts of the show for me was the Fighter jets, with a Russian Mig 15 and a US F-86 Sabre going back and forth in a simulated dogfight, and then for the end of the show, the Planes of Fame saved the Very Best for Last.

As the show was in its late stages, you could hear roaring every now and then coming from the foothills to the south of the runways. You could also pick up a dot going back and forth over the said hills, and then suddenly, there she was…The Phantom II! The F4 came cruising in over the show center, with her engines blazing. The noise was incredible. She was an US Air Force model painted in the green/brown camouflage that you may have seen if you were standing in a rice paddy in Vietnam. She was absolutely wonderful, she put on quite a show with her afterburners, and then they finished the show with her doing the heritage flight with P-51’s and P-38’s. The F4 Phantom II is special to me, as my late father was the DOD Publication Specialist for the Navy & Marine Corps F4’s, based out of NAS North Island, so if any modifications were to be done to the Planes, he and his staff would have to approve all of the manuals before the work could get done, and this his favorite plane. After spending 37 years in the Navy and Air Force. He was buried at Sea, by his favorite ship last November 2011, the USS Ronald Reagan.

I personally was not very impressed with my own photography, as I was having major dust issues, and could not fix it at the show, so my apologies, but this was my first Planes of Fame Air show, but won’t be my last.


(a few other pictures thrown in by Dave and Joe)

Douglas Aguillard

Douglas (Doug) Aguillard is a Freelance Photojournalist who specializes in the Military & Aviation fields. Based in San Diego, CA, he is a Marine veteran., He currently is a photojournalist for the Military Press Newspaper, the Historical / Archival Dept. photographer for the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum at MCAS Miramar, and a very proud member of Photo Recon, and has been published in various magazines and books such as "Combat Aircraft Monthly" magazine, "Vertical " magazine, "Wings of Gold" magazine, Sikorsky Frontlines newsletter, and the San Diego Air & Space Museum's Book: "Celebrating the San Diego Air & Space Museum: A History of the Museum and it's collections".

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