2007 McGuire AFB Open House & Airshow

McGuire AFB, New Jersey

May 12-13, 2007

Airshow report updated on June 5, 2007.


Compared to the 2005 show, the 2007 edition of McGuire AFB's show was much better, in terms of the performers as well as the weather.  While this airshow report will not cover any one specific performer, it will outline McGuire's Open House as a whole.  One of the many reasons for anyone to travel to McGuire was to see an F-4 Phantom in flight.  Major John "Shamu" Markle brought a QF-4E Phantom from Holloman AFB in New Mexico out for the Heritage Flight and a short demonstration each show day as a special request, since he is originally from North Jersey.  The Phantom's appearance also brought back shades of McGuire's past, as the 108th Air Refueling Wing (then known as the 108th Tactical Fighter Wing of the NJ ANG) operated F-4s from the early to mid-1980s until about 1991.  Back in that time frame, the F-4 was the star of McGuire's shows, with multiple Phantoms performing bombing runs on the base.

Making its first appearance at McGuire was the F/A-18F Super Hornet.  The demo crew from VFA-106 flew a spectacular demonstration that was problematic in two ways.  The first of which was McGuire's layout, which prevented anyone from getting any pictures of the takeoff sequence and the first part of the demonstration, as they were flown at least a mile away from the crowd line.  I was hoping for a simulated takeoff/dirty roll to start the demonstration, but that did not happen.  The other problem had to deal with Sunday's show, where there was a stiff breeze blowing away from the crowd, preventing all of the aircraft from making a ton of noise - it was probably one of the quietest airshow days ever (even with the amount of jets in the show).  Two members of the demo team, Lieutenants John "TC" Desplinter and Lenny "Crack" Wise are both North Jersey natives, having been raised north of Exit 160 on the Garden State Parkway.

Team McGuire showed up in force this year over 2005.  In 2005, the KC-135, KC-10, and C-17 each made one pass and the C-17 performed a demonstration.  The three planes each performed two passes (the tankers performed the first pass clean and dipping their wings and the second pass in refueling configuration, with the C-17 being clean on both passes) and the C-17 performed a demonstration, but did not demonstrate backing up in front of the crowd like it did in 2005, which I missed.  I'd love to see a landing configuration pass thrown in there for the tankers as well, as I know there's no way to get a dynamic KC-135 demonstration like the one I remember seeing in 1996.  I wonder if there's a way to get the C-17 hanging off the boom of the KC-10 or KC-135 (not within hooking up distance but trailing less than 100 feet behind the boom).

Also returning this year were the Golden Knights, who were joined with the Canadian Sky Hawks.  Each day was opened by a single Golden Knight and a single Sky Hawk jumper freefalling from the Golden Knights' C-31 and bringing down their respective country's flags.  The Sky Hawks have one of the nicest and dynamic parachute team demonstrations, and I continue to enjoy the full show that the Golden Knights put on.  I should note that the Golden Knights have combined the baton pass jump and the cutaway jump into one jump, with one jumper performing the cutaway after separating from his baton partner.  It caught me off-guard, but was a nice change of pace.

Aerobatic performers were abundant this year, with Ron Saglimbene, Ed Hamill, and Patty Wagstaff (on Sunday only) performing.  Dan Buchanan also brought his hang glider and performed both days, rounding out the larger names in the show.  The Red Star Formation Team, flying a combination of six CJ-6s, Yak-52s, and one T-6 in formation was a nice touch, as all of the pilots were from South Jersey.  What was real nice was the fact that the aerobatic pilots all used the taxiway in front of the crowd as a runway to take off and land from, which helped immensely.  The Skytypers also performed, but they used Runway 6/24 over the entire weekend.

Air Combat Command provided one demonstration this year, which was a setback from 2005, when the F-15 and F-16 West Coast Demo Teams were in attendance.  Major Jeff "Roadie" Yost flew a very nice demonstration in the A-10 the entire weekend, with Sunday's demonstration being the quietest A-10 demo I had ever seen (remember that wind I mentioned earlier?) and following the demonstration, he joined up with Jim Beasley Jr. in the P-51D Mustang Bald Eagle and Shamu in the Phantom for a Heritage Flight.  Following Saturday's Heritage Flight, all three aircraft performed a rare second pass before recovering (and Shamu setting up for his demonstration).  The Phantom demonstration consisted of three passes - a photo pass, a high speed pass, and a gear and hook down pass to a vertical climb.  All of those passes emphasized how loud the F-4 is, as the old J79 turbojets still live and do their job like they were designed to do over fifty years ago!

As a side note with the Mustang, Sunday's crowd got to see the debut of Patty Wagstaff's performance in the P-51.  While she was limited to her flying experience in the Mustang (she couldn't go lower than 100 feet rather than her surface level card for the Extra), she put on a VERY nice performance.  Patty is supposed to fly a P-51 performance at the Gathering of Mustangs and Legends in Columbus, OH this September as a dedication to the WASPS.

Finally, the Thunderbirds, returning for their first McGuire show since 2000, put on an absolutely spectacular performance.  Saturday's performance was interrupted towards the beginning as Major Weeks' jet had an instrument problem, which was cleared up so that the remainder of the performance could continue as expected.  Both Saturday and Sunday featured high shows, while Friday's practice was a flat show.

Overall, the 2007 show was much better than the 2005 show, but no matter how long the show is and how tightly packed the lineup is, there will always be gaps in the show.  I'll tell you what - it was nice seeing a Hornet on static!

I want to thank Majors Greathouse and Markle, Lt. Lenny "Crack" Wise, and Ms. Angel Lopez for their help over the course of that weekend.

Static Display Listings for the 2007 McGuire AFB Open House & Airshow


Aircraft Unit/Squadron Home Base Registration Notes
A-10 Thunderbolt II 103rd FW Bradley ANGB, CT 81-0960  
A-10 Thunderbolt II 103rd FW Bradley ANGB, CT 82-0646  
B-17F Flying Fortress     41-24485, N3703G Memphis Belle
B-25 Mitchell   Farmingdale, NY NL2825B  
B-52H Stratofortress   Minot AFB, ND 60-0056  
Beech 18     N45GC  
C-5B Galaxy 436th AW Dover AFB, DE 84-0061 New stripe
C-17 Globemaster III 305th AMW McGuire AFB, NJ 04-4130  
C-21A Learjet   Bradley ANGB, CT 84-0103  
C-21A Learjet 89th AW Andrews AFB, MD 84-0119  
C-54E Skymaster BAHF Queens, NY N500EJ  
Cessna 172 Civil Air Patrol   N19NJ  
Cessna 172 Civil Air Patrol   N355CP  
Diamond DA-20     N280DB  
F-15E Strike Eagle 4th FW Seymour Johnson AFB, NC 90-0228  
F-16C Fighting Falcon 177th FW Atlantic City, NJ 85-0457 GE F110 Engine
F/A-18A+ Hornet VFA-87 NAS Oceana, VA AJ-400, 162886  
F-22 Raptor   Tyndall AFB, FL 02-4034  
Gippsland GA-8 Civil Air Patrol   N613CP  
KC-10 Extender 305th AMW McGuire AFB, NJ 85-0032  
KC-135E Stratotanker 108th ARW McGuire AFB, NJ 58-0087  
L-6     N46336  
OE-1 Bird Dog     136889, N715DT  
P-40E Warhawk   Brookhaven, NY N740RB  
P-51D Mustang   Brookhaven, NY 44-13903, NL751RB  
PT-17 Stearman     N53292  
Piper Cherokee   Medford, NJ N83993  
Ryan Navion     N611H  
Staggerwing     NC47024  
T-1A Jayhawk 12th FTW Randolph AFB, TX 91-0099  
T-28C Trojan     138245, N65491  
T-37 Tweet 14th FTW Columbus AFB, MS 57-0258 Reg. doesn't match.
Maybe 59-0258?
T-45C Goshawk VT-9 NAS Meridian, MS 165603  
TBM Avenger   Farmingdale, NY N9586Z  
UH-1 Huey     0-23290  

Military Demonstration Teams

  • USAF Thunderbirds
  • US Army Golden Knights
  • Canadian Sky Hawks

Tentative Military Demonstrations

  • A-10 Thunderbolt II East Coast Demo Team
  • C-17 Globemaster III Demonstration
  • F/A-18F Super Hornet Demonstration Team
  • HH-65 Dauphin Search & Rescue Demonstration
  • KC-10 Extender Flyby
  • KC-135E Stratotanker Flyby
  • QF-4E Phantom in Heritage Flight & Flybys

Civillian Demonstrations

  • Patty Wagstaff (Sunday only)
  • Ed Hamill
  • Dan Buchanan
  • Dr. Smoke Airshows
  • Martin Sheehan
  • The Skytypers
  • USAF Heritage Flight

Participating Organizations

  • Warbirds Over Long Island

Announcer: Larry Strain

Gates Open: 9:00 AM Saturday and Sunday

Showtime: 11:00 AM - 4:30 PM Saturday and Sunday

2007 McGuire AFB Open House & Airshow Home Page