Wings Over Wine Country 2019
This September, the Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa, CA hosted its annual Wings Over Wine Country Airshow at the Sonoma County Airport. The airshow provides people a unique look at the Pacific Coast Air Museum’s aircraft, as the museum rolls out all of its aircraft to be viewed as static displays for the airshow. This includes famous airplanes such as: the F-14 Tomcat, A-6 Intruder, EA-6B Prowler, F-105 Thunderchief, F-4 Phantom, F-15C Eagle, A-4 Skyhawk, F-5 Tiger II, and much more. The F-14 at the museum is painted in the famous VF-84 Jolly Rogers livery. The F-15 at the museum is serial number 77-102, the first aircraft to respond to the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. All of the cockpits are open for people to climb up and see.
In addition to the static aircraft from the museum, a C-17 Globemaster III flew in from March AFB, and an SH-60 Seahawk from HSC-3 came from NAS North Island. One of the unique features of the Wings Over Wine Country Airshow is the opportunity for the people to walk out on the flight line and get up close and personal with all the warbirds that would be flying later that day. They had six P-51 Mustangs, a TBM Avenger, a Hawker Sea Fury, a T-6 Texan and the Pacific Coast Museum’s own C-1A Trader all available for morning photos before flying later that afternoon. The C-1 Trader is only one of 9 remaining in flyable condition.
To set the ambiance for the show, the USAF Travis Brass Ensemble played a variety of songs from the Air Force’s repertoire to make the audience feel like they were back in WWII while walking around the warbirds. The airshow also hosted two WWII veterans that were celebrating their birthdays. Both were over 100 years old and received a great standing ovation from the crowd.
The winds were so extreme on Saturday that the Wings of Blue Demonstration Team had to cancel their routine since it was unsafe for the skydivers, but they did perform on Sunday. When their Twin Otter passed over the crowd for the streamer drop, the wind was so strong that the streamers didn’t even land on airport property. The local Sheriff department put on a short demo with their helicopter inserting a SWAT team into a tactical scenario. A couple other performers during the show were Dennis Sanders in his Hawker Sea Fury and Brad Wursten in the MXS-R. Both put on an amazing display, and the one benefit with the high winds was that the smoke cleared after every pass they made, making it great for photographers. Next to fly were the P-51s, Avenger, Texan and C-1 Trader. They made several passes in a racetrack pattern for the crowd. It’s always great to hear that many heritage aircraft in the sky at once.
The hot ramp is set up in a unique configuration compared to other airshows. The Canadian Forces Snowbirds and the A-10 Warthog were actually parked behind the airshow crowd. The taxiway ran from behind the crowd, to along the right side of airshow display and out to the runway. This gives the crowd the chance to line up along the back and right sides of the display area to wave to the pilots of the A-10 and Snowbirds while they taxi out for their performances.
The Snowbirds flew a graceful routine as always. Their female pilots in the squadron were popular with the kids, and they were happy to inspire the next generation of pilots.
This airshow was also the debut of the A-10 Demo Team’s new heritage paint scheme. They told us that even though it was intended for the 2020 airshow season, they were so excited and received so much positive feedback on social media that they decided to fly it for the last couple shows of the 2019 season. We were glad they did! The A-10 flew as the final act, and even though the sun was directly in front of the crowd by the end of the day, that didn’t stop us from enjoying seeing that beautiful airplane. Steven Hinton joined the A-10 at the end of the demo with the P-51 painted in the identical scheme as the A-10. It was a great day and we look forward to attending again. Thank you Pacific Coast Air Museum for hosting a great air show!