August 26-27, 2006 Airshow report written on August 27, 2006.
Airshow report written on August 27, 2006.
Performer Brief - Skip Stewart
I've seen many aerobatic pilots fly their aircraft to the extremes of the aerobatic envelope dozens of times over the last several years and I've never seen anyone like Skip Stewart. Skip has one of the most interesting aerobatic performances I've ever seen, and to paraphrase another performer, Skip is the one aerobatic pilot who "doesn't need anything more than 500 feet of altitude to fly his full show." At Lancaster, that somewhat held true, but I think that was a bit of an exaggeration, because the ceiling never got any higher than 1,500 feet at any point of the day. Once again, Skip flies an airplane that's unique to his needs. To the untrained eye, it looks like the standard Pitts S-2 biplane, but in reality, it once was a Pitts S-2. It has a strengthened fuselage, along with new wings that feature much larger control surfaces than one would find on the standard Pitts.
At an airshow, Skip's plane is unmistakable. The black biplane, outlined by a checkerboard pattern on the wings, elevators, and rudder and a fire red outline from the engine cowling and wheel pants stand out from the others. Skip flies a double ribbon cut like none other. I don't think I was able to fully grasp it at Lancaster because of the visibility and the low clouds (and lighting), but it appeared he has two ribbons at different heights on the poles or he cuts two ribbons from two different sets of poles at two different parts of his performance. In keeping with the performance, he likes to keep the show close to the ground - probably as close as Jim LeRoy or Jurgis Kairys. I highly recommend you to go check out his performance if you haven't seen him fly.
2006 was the first time I had gone out to Lancaster and I have mixed feelings about the airport. The small static ramp helps out for walking around, but it crowds in everyone, since I think 10,000 people showed up for the airshow. I don't know if it has to do with the runways, but the aerobatic box was set up along Runway 13/31, while I was set up along Runway 8/26. While it took me two hours to get there, driving through Amish country was something different, but I expected to see a lot more in terms of horse and buggies than automobiles. The weather sucked, as the ceiling was stuck at or below 1,500 feet all day, preventing the Black Daggers from jumping, but somehow allowing the A-10 East Coast Demo Team to fly an abbreviated performance as well as the Heritage Flight, which involved Ed Shipley forming up in his F-86 Sabre.
I might be back for the next show... as long as it's not as cloudy as it was this year. The show definitely has a lot of potential to grow into a two-day event.
Military Demonstration Teams
Tentative Military Demonstrations
Announcer: Howdy McCann
Gates Open: 10:00 AM
Showtime: 11:45 AM - 5:00 PM