South Jersey Regional Airport puts on some nice airshows each year to raise funds for the Air Victory Museum. I have been going every year since 1996, and have not been disappointed since (even with last year's limited show). This year's show was a little different... different announcer, new performers, and a show themed towards women and flying.
We left the house at around 10:30AM (a little later than I wanted to leave, which was at 10 AM), and arrived at the South Jersey Regional Airport at roughly 10:40. There was nobody there (there were a few cars already parked) but we got into the place in time and looked around some of the vendors and a quick (and I mean quick) walk of the museum. The show started around 11:00 AM with Ned Surrat and his one-of-a-kind Midwing Special. The plane was originally a Piper PA-18 Super Cub (the only thing original are the main gear, and even that's modified). Ned did a very superb job flying that aircraft in a very nicely choreographed demonstration. Then there was Roger Lehnert and his Flying Farmer act. Now I had mentioned that there was a new announcer this year for the show, and that announcer was Al Loncto, from Northeast Airshows, from which I believe is out of MA. He's a good announcer...did a very nice job with the show, and for a second or two during each show, he sounded a little like Gordon Bowman-Jones. Don't ask me why...that's just the way I heard it. Anyways, back to the Flying Farmer... Roger put on his usual funny act together with announcing from Howdy McCann. Everyone loves his act...I'm part of that group! After him came a Primary Trainer Flight, which consisted of a pair of T-34 Mentors, an L-17 Navion, and a T-6D Texan. It was almost like watching a warbird review, yet like all reviews of aircraft, I really enjoyed this one. The T-34 pilots flew in pretty close formation, and yup, that was very nice! The paint scheme on that Navion was beautiful (as was the sound), and the T-6 had a nice paint scheme and a nice sound as always. Afterwards, Drew Hurley was up in his Yak-55. I had seen Drew perform at McGuire the past June and if you read that review, you noticed that I didn't really give him the good review he usually gets from me. His performance during both shows was, like always, excellent. It shows that you have to hear what the announcer says during a demo/routine to actually "enjoy" it. If you don't, you won't know what the guy up there is doing (unless you know what every maneuver looks like in the sky) up there. During the entire morning show, contact between the military aircraft were going through, as the KC-10 and C-141 were remaining in contact with the airshow, with their flybys being pushed to 12 noon, then to 12:30 PM. The official call to make the flybys at 12:30 came with a response that the KC-10 was scratched due to mechanical reasons (more on that later). The C-141 was up there, and did two passes, the first one being a normal flyby (very low) and the second being in the dirty configuration. Both of his passes were awesome! After the C-141 cleared the area, the warbirds, consisting of Terry Rush in the TBM Avenger and Dan Caldarale in the P-51D Mustang "Bald Eagle" (owned by Jim Beasley Sr.). This was really a review flight, and a very good one to say! Afterwards, Dan did an excellent aerobatic routine in the P-51, which actually was the first demo of its kind that I've seen for a while. That was the end of the morning show.
During the break, I photographed the entire static line, met up with Dan Caldarale at his P-51 and basically chatted for a minute or two and got his autograph. Dan is a very nice guy, and my dad's barber is actually friends with Caldarale. Also during that time, I caught up with Ned Surrat, with his Midwing Special. Ned is, again, another very nice guy. We chatted for a bit and got his autograph (and I gave him the address to the Airshow World). I never got a chance to meet Al Loncto, the announcer, but that's ok. NBC10 and WTXF Fox29 both had their news choppers there, and in the break, both departed. The 99's gave out free flights for kids 7-17... I didn't go up this year because I was busy photographing. As the afternoon show came on, the performers repeated their excellent performances each one did during the morning show. The Trainer Flight included Joe Borin in the BT-13 Valiant, which, I must say, is one loud plane! The noise reminds you of a Stearman and/or a T-6 Texan. Roger Lehnert did his Teenie Weenie Airport routine (a cartop landing) and it always impresses me every time I see it/watch it. It took him three times last year, but only two this year! The warbirds were up, Dan Caldarale was flying aerobatics in the P-51, and Drew was up there again doing another breath-taking performance. The last act of the day was with Split Image Aerobatics. These guys flew two Pitts S2 Special biplanes (one was a S2B and the other was an S2S) and did an awesome routine flying simple aerobatics in formation. It kinda brings tears to you if you watch it and think of the French Connection. At the end of the show, I caught up with Drew Hurley, showed him that I was who I was (Steve from Steve's Airshow World) and we talked about airshows, and routines in theirselves. I threw a few questions about the KC-10 and Nancy Lynn. The KC-10 had been set at the meeting at 6AM, was up in the air with the C-141, but ran into trouble and called in back to McGuire. Nancy wasn't at the show because her husband passed away three weeks ago, and because of the funeral and other arrangements, she didn't have time to practice, and thus, cancel her appearence at the show. I must admit... Drew (and Dan and Ned) are some of the nicest people I've ever met. Now I've got some bad sunburn that's gonna heal (hopefully soon) and there goes $8 that was spent wisely. David Schultz Airshows has provided everyone with another quality airshow! I will be back in 2001!
Entire show: 9.5