The Bremont Horsemen at Chino 2014

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The Planes of Fame Airshow at Chino is without a doubt the finest Warbird show in the country. This year they managed to attract one if the few F-22 Raptor flight demonstrations. But there were other, even better acts at Chino this year.

The Horsemen were at the show.  The Team started 10 years ago with Tom Freidkin, Ed Shipley, and Jim Beasley flying P-51s in a three ship formation show.  They flew a some other acts including a rare three Bearcat show.  Jim Beasley left the team and was replaced by Steve Hinton.

“To call them highly qualified is an understatement, they are all past that point. They are simply the best.”Chino is Steve’s home field and he is widely regarded as the finest stick and rudder pilot since Bob Hoover.   He has flown virtually every Warbird out there.  Not just different types but most of the individual airframes.   I heard that a one point he had flown about half the fly able Mustangs in the world. Of course he’s been flying these planes since he was in his late teens.  While I can’t say he’s the highest time current F-86 pilot in the world he’s right at the top.

Dan Friedkin on the right wing has been flying warbirds since he was 20 or so.   He’s a resident of Houston and has amassed a great collection of aircraft through “Comanche Fighters LLC”. He is also the founder and chairman of the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation.   He is one of a handful of civilian pilots who can fly the single-ship heritage flights. Dan flies the P-51, P-38, F-86, Hellcat, Corsair, Hurricane and Spitfire on a regular basis.

Ed Shipley on the left wing has had 20+ years flying the P-51, Corsair, Bearcat, and F-86. He’s flown shows for that long too, starting out with the “Six of Diamonds” T-6 aerobatic team. He’s a board member of the International Council of Airshows and is the ICAS ACE evaluator for warbirds and jets. Ed used to fly a 747 for Atlas Air.

To call them highly qualified is an understatement, they are all past that point. They are simply the best.

So in the past few years the Horsemen started an F-86 act too While there are few flyable F-86s, there are fewer that regularly fly. That was possible since Steve Hinton had access to the POF Museum’s F-86.

They compare two of the greatest American fighter aircraft of all time while doing formation aerobatics.  One needs consider their P-51Ds were built in 1944 and the first F-86 flew in 1946.   In that 2 years aviation evolved from a piston engined to a jet that could slide past the sound barrier in a dive.  Watching them perform in the hands of skilled pilots is simply awesome.

They flew P-51D “Miss February” N351MX from Comanche Fighters LLC; P-51D N7TF “Double Trouble” owned by the Friedkin Family since 1976; P-51D “Fragile But Agile” N98CF from Comanche Fighters LLC.

The F-86s were F-86F FU-012 N186AM from The Air Museum; F-86F FU-666 NX860AG from Comanche Fighters LLC; Canadair CL-13 MK.6 FU-756 “Hell-Er-Bust x” from Comanche Fighters LLC.

This was a performance that was easily as good if not better than those of the Thunderbirds or Blue Angels, yet it isn’t backed and funded by the Department of  Defense. It’s funded by a few individuals, in particular Mr. Friedkin and Mr. Shipley, well as Mr. Hinton, as well as the money raised by local airshows.

Gentlemen, let me thank you on behalf of the many people who enjoy your performances.  We look forward to seeing you next year.

You can contact the author Mark Hrutkay at TNMark1@GMail.Com.

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Mark Hrutkay

Mark has been a member of the International Association of Aviation Photographers (ISAP) for several years and attends all their events and seminars. He has won several awards for his work and has been published in several aviation magazines, domestic and foreign. You can contact Mark Hrutkay at TNMark@Me.Com.

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