The 2000 Sounds of Freedom Airshow at NAS/JRB Willow Grove

In memory of Lt. Bill Dey and Lt. David Bergstrom.

June 17-18, Father's Day Weekend

Written on June 19, 2000.

We took Father's Day to the Sounds of Freedom Airshow. It was a great day, except at the end, which I will appropriately describe what I saw, and what the camcorder picked up. Read away!

Show Review

Willow Grove did it again! Overall, it was an excellent show. The weather was playing games with the airshow all day. Most of the day was under 1200' ceilings, but many demonstrations still flew. Starting off the show was the AN-2. The AN-2 put on a nice demo. A Seasprite helicopter showed off an alright demo. The C-9 finally showed off a few passes, but was limited to what it could do because of the ceiling. The Red Barons, despite the weather, put on an awesome display for everyone. There was no Golden Knight flag jump, though. The MAGTF demo went on as planned, and was excellent. The abscense of two F/A-18 Hornets that departed never took part in the demo. Essel & Falkner and their untralight was something you couldn't believe your eyes. The MATS Connie showed off the craft very nicely today. The warbirds did a great job flying around, and so did the F-4U. There was no P-3C Orion demo today... not sure why, though. Otto, the clown, showed off unique things with the Hughes helicopter. Kent Gordon, Frank Ryder, and Ian Groom were excellent performers in this year's show. Some interesting races during the show were between someone on a bicycle vs. the AN-2 (the biker won), and Frank Ryder vs. Smoke-N-Thunder. The F-15 and F/A-18 demonstrations were excellent, and so was the Heritage flight (awesome crossover!). The F-14 was the last military demo of the day. He put on a nice demonstration with the aircraft up to one point in the show.

While performing the wave-off demonstration, he accelerated, and did a dirty roll. Apparently some sources have said he was rolling too slowly (I couldn't see that), airspeed-wise. As he went to bank left, some other sources say there was a flameout (I didn't see one). A jolt sent the aircraft in a steeper angle with the nose pointing more towards the ground. He went beyond the trees, and the next thing that I saw was black smoke rising in the air. My heartfelt condolences go out to the pilots, their families, close friends, and anyone else related to them. The crash also cancelled the Legacy flight and the Golden Knights show-closing jump. I should mention that Gordon Bowman-Jones did an excellent job handling the crowd with the pending event that took place right in front of their eyes.

Overall Score

Before crash: 9.5

Including crash: 2


Military Demonstrations

Civilian Demonstrations

Annoucer: Gordon Bowman Jones