Atlantic City Boardwalk, New Jersey
Practice Show on Tuesday August 14, 2007 Airshow report uploaded on August 17, 2007.
Full Airshow on Wednesday August 15, 2007
Airshow report uploaded on August 17, 2007.
I had been waiting for Atlantic City's airshow for a while, not only because it was because of a nearly two-month break since my last airshow, but also because the lineup for this year's show for basically out of this world. Four tactical demonstrations were set to perform, and that's basically what I will cover here. I was able to cover both the practice day and the show day once again this year, and this year's practice show was one of the best - all of the performers who had a demonstration or a routine flew, and we got to see the Thunderbirds fly more than thirty minutes as a result of establishing the show lines for their performance - especially for the high bomb burst. It all worked out great for the Thunderbirds, who put on an AMAZING performance for over 350,000 people on Wednesday.
It had been a while since I last saw an F-16 demonstration, and Atlantic City got one of the rare F-16 demonstrations. I say rare because you almost never see an F-16 demonstration at the same show that the Thunderbirds are performing (the same is usually true for shows with the Blue Angels and Hornet/Super Hornet demonstrations). It had been a while since I saw a good F-16 demo and Major Jason "Buzzer" Koltes managed to put on an amazing demonstration on Wednesday with a decent amount of afterburner. The only downside was that he flew very far away from the crowd, but the combination of afterburner and an on-crowd wind helped make it a good demonstration.
The Strike Eagle Demonstration Team from Seymour Johnson AFB in North Carolina returned for their second consecutive appearance at Atlantic City. Flying the Strike Eagle were Major Al "Jewel" Kennedy and Captain Jason "Woody" Stallworth, both of which are in their second year of flying the demonstration. It's always nice to see the Strike Eagle demonstration, as it is a completely different demonstration than that of the F-15 Eagle - also the Strike Eagle is powered by a much higher thrust rated engine than the Eagle (although Jewel had corrected me that some F-15Cs have the higher rated F100-PW-229s instead of the F100-PW-220s). Jewel and Woody put on a spectacular demonstration of the Strike Eagle both days and managed to grab some vapor during both performances, especially during the vertical climb. It's a shame that I have yet to grab the Strike Eagle on the back side of the first attack pass, but that should change in a few weeks when I see them at NAS Oceana.
Appearing for the first time over the skies of Atlantic City was an F/A-18C Hornet demonstration from VFA-106, the Gladiators, from NAS Oceana. Lt. Jason "PADI" Naidyhorski was the demonstration pilot, who sadly, flew his last demonstration as a Hornet demo pilot at Atlantic City, but promised to put on a spectacular demo, and he had done so. It had been a few years since I had seen a decent legacy Hornet demonstration, and PADI finally broke that streak with the practice demo and the show demonstration - even for being a staged demonstration! There had been a debate on a well-known aviation photography website forum regarding how there are few topside passes in the legacy Hornet demo profile and that the legacy Hornet is not flown as aggressively as, say, the CF-18 demonstration or the Super Hornet demonstration. My belief is that the best demonstrations require the strategic use of afterburner at the right time and that the profile need not to be changed. After seeing PADI fly, I remain where I stand regarding the profile, since it demonstrates the Navy's ability to "employ" the Hornet. It's just that the Canadians, Finns, Swiss, Spanish, Kuwaiti, Malaysians, and Aussies employ their Hornets differently in their demo profiles.
Finally, the AV-8B Harrier, which made its second appearance over Atlantic City (the first being in 2005). The Harrier isn't fast, although it can get pretty fast, but not in the levels as the three aircraft I just talked about! I had lucked out in picking out a very good spot on the beach (I wanted to be on the pier on Tuesday but the police and officials from Caesars would not let me on there until after 11 am, which would have made me miss some of the practice show) since the Harrier managed to be hovering directly in front of me and about three hundred feet out into the water. It was one of those rare times when you could just walk out towards the Harrier hovering in front of you, but you are limited to if you can swim and not get taken away by any rip currents. Tuesday's demonstration was cut short as a result of the pilot saying he did not have enough fuel to do a full demonstration, but it was still an excellent demonstration. I think my hearing's coming back too!!!
Overall, this was one of the best Atlantic City airshows ever, probably the second best show, ranked behind last year's show with the Blue Angels. David Schultz and his team seemed to have worked out all the kinks in putting a beach show together, as the longest gap between acts was less than one minute. As good as that was, it was bad on Wednesday because of a stiff on-crowd breeze, bringing some sea spray on shore (but not as bad as it was in 2005!). The on-crowd breezes have the advantage of bringing the aircraft noise towards the crowd, but the disadvantages are sea spray - when on a lakeshore or oceanfront airshow, and for the pilots, who have to work harder to watch their show lines.
I am already looking forward to 2008, and there might be plans for a huge show in the works!
There were no aircraft on static display, but there were some VERY NICE static displays!
Military Demonstration Teams
Tentative Military Demonstrations
In addition to their solo performances, Matt Chapman and Michael Mancuso will also fly their formation performance.
Announcer: Howdy McCann
Gates Open: N/A - Beach Show
Showtime: 10:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Click here for my videos from the
2007 Thunder Over the Boardwalk Airshow.