2018 Fort Worth Alliance Air Show, In Pictures

Someone said a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll stop writing now. I took over one-thousand pictures at this airshow, so know you’re getting the best of the best right here.

“Yeah! Airshows are awesome!”
Samaritan’s Purse DC-8, used to provide aid where it is most needed around the world in Jesus’ name.
Admiring the many .50-cal machine guns on this A-26 Invader.
Bell 505, the exact helicopter Dad got to ride in (there are benefits to working for a helicopter company).
Bell 47, the kind of helicopter that evacuated my grandfather after he suffered a facial wound during the Korean War. He was later awarded the Purple Heart.
The mighty C-17 Globemaster III.
Dad explaining the horizontal and vertical stabilizers on the C-17 and how they were built. He oversaw production of these.
Inside the C-17, the American flag on the left and the Mississippi state flag on the right.
Two F/A-18E Super Hornets.


Weather doesn’t stop the family from having a good time.
U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules.
A-10 Thunderbolt II. Daniel took this picture.
You don’t want to be on the receiving end of the .30-cal GAU-8 Avenger autocannon. Fun fact: the A-10 was more or less built around the GAU-8 gun. Daniel took this picture.
A T-38 Talon called “The Spirit of Alliance” and owned (possibly flown?) by Ross Perot, Jr. Daniel took this picture.
Who’s moving, the plane or the ground?
The C-47 Skytrain known as “Southern Cross.” We’ve seen her at many an airshow in the area, but this time she’s not wearing as much. I personally thought the former girl on the nose was prettier.
F-16C Fighting Falcon.
F-16D Fighting Falcon. Note the second seat and hence longer cockpit.
Remember the MiG 28s from Top Gun? Those were actually F-5 Tiger IIs. In reality, these F-5s are used by the Navy VFC-13 aggressor squadron to test real Top Gun pilots, which is why they are painted like Soviet-era MiGs.
KC-10 Extender, used for aerial refueling of other aircraft. The KC-10 is based off the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 airframe.
Canadair CT-114 Tutor, flown by the Royal Canadian Air Force aerobatics team, the Snowbirds.
Matt Chapman in an Extra 300LX.
Two T-28 Trojans taking off.
A P-51D Mustang taking off. There’s nothing like the sound of a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine!
The P-51 Mustang in the foreground, the two T-28 Trojans in the background.
The next-generation multi-role fighter, the F-35 Lightning II.
Afterburner’s on, baby!
Afterburner’s still on, baby!
The P-51D Mustang and the F-35 Lightning II, together as the Heritage Flight celebrating Air Force history and supremacy.
The F-35 taxiing after a great performance.
Fighter pilots make the coolest hand gestures.
The Snowbirds wrapping up their preflight procedures.
The first vic formation of Snowbirds takes off.
Nine Snowbirds total, in three vics.
What does it take to get a spot on top of the control tower, I wonder?
The Snowbirds gliding into view behind Old Glory.


The Snowbirds are as graceful as their name sounds, and keep it tight.


A rare break in the clouds!
The DEA demonstrating an op with the help of a UH-1 Iroquois, more commonly known as a Huey.


When these guys surround your truck, you’d better get out with your hands up.
“Getting high” with the DEA.
Not for the faint of heart.
Definitely not for the faint of heart.
Sean D. Tucker performing in the one-of-a-kind Oracle Challenger III biplane.


…do it?
Bob Carlton in the Super Salto jet sailplane.
Some graceful wisps of smoke left in the sky.


Rob Holland flying the one-of-a-kind MXS-RH.


The Shockwave jet-powered semi. Always a fun event at the air show!
I wonder what kind of gas mileage it gets?
Racing, jet vs. propeller, upright vs. inverted.
A Thunderbird taking off.
Thunderbirds 1-4 taking off.
Thunderbirds 1-4 overhead.

At this point, my camera battery died, so I had to watch the rest of the Thunderbirds’ performance with my own eyes, instead of through a camera lens. And that’s not a bad thing!

I hope you enjoyed seeing these photos as much as I enjoyed taking them. Likes and comments are always welcome.

On Airshows

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Snowbirds performing at the 2018 Fort Worth Alliance Air Show. They are as graceful as their name sounds.

Airshows are awesome. If you’ve been, you know; if you haven’t, go and find out.

I grew up going to airshows. My dad worked in the aerospace industry and took our family to as many airshows as he could in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I’ve been to at least fifteen by my reckoning, maybe as many as twenty. I’ve seen both the Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels at least three times each, likely more. I’ve also seen a very realistic Pearl Harbor/Tora! Tora! Tora! reenactment with Mitsubishi Zeroes, several AV-8B Harrier demonstrations, and a rare Russian Mi-24 Hind helicopter flight. (If you don’t know what those are, follow the links!)

Yours truly with the Mi-24 in 2016. “Never smile at the crocodile.”

My earliest airshow memory was talking to the pilot of an E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft at age three. He let me sit in the pilot’s seat, wear the headset, and play with the throttle controls. I then remember walking through the aircraft, past the computer workstations (where seats would normally be on a commercial aircraft), out the aft door, down the mobile stairs, and to where Mom and Daniel were waiting in the shade of a B-52 Stratofortress, Daniel still being in a stroller at the time. It’s all documented on an old camcorder tape somewhere, along with plenty of shots of vacant sky as a fighter jet whizzes past!

Airshows never get old for me; in fact, I appreciate them more and more as I get older. I still enjoy seeing the aircraft, but now I also enjoy talking to the pilots and crew. Most of them spend the day standing around in the heat, cold, or rain, just waiting for someone to ask them about their planes. You can learn some interesting things from striking up a conversation with them, and they’re more than happy to talk. I got to speak with a B-2 Spirit pilot this past weekend (though he left his B-2 back at Whiteman AFB, darn!). Dad told me that one time, back in the late 80s, he asked an F-14 pilot about the video targeting pod on his aircraft. The pilot looked at Dad incredulously and asked, as if it were classified info, “How do you know about that?” Dad replied, “Tom Clancy wrote about it in Red Storm Rising!” (It pays to read good books.)

Perhaps above all else, I enjoy airshows because they are tangible reminders of the sacrifices that American men and women make so that we can be free in this country. For every B-17 Stratofortress that survived World War II, there were hundreds that bit the dust or limped back home over European skies; and the life expectancy of a B-17 crewman was just a handful of missions, if he was fortunate. The men and women who build, fly, and support military aircraft do it not for their own sakes but for ours, so that we may live freely, safely, and comfortably on our own soil. They have my fullest respect.

Yours truly with the “Texas Raiders” B-17 Stratofortress in 2016. This particular B-17 was used in a very iconic Don’t Mess with Texas commercial.

So, get online and find out if there’s an airshow near you. If there is, go. Bring your friends and family. Take good walking shoes, sunglasses, and sun protection—and a camera, too. Even if you know nothing about airplanes or aviation, go. Watch some air performances. Walk around the static displays. Talk to some pilots: ask them about their aircraft and what a day in the flight suit is like. Smile and thank them for their service. Many will autograph bulletins or even have posters they will autograph.

And, most importantly, have a great time and make great memories.

Coming soon: pictures from the 2018 Fort Worth Alliance Air Show. Stay tuned.