STORY and PHOTOS By HAYMAN TAM
Colorado is the home of several airshows and mile-high airshow fans turned out in force to welcome the birth of a new airshow in the state. The inaugural Pikes Peak Regional Air Show took place in August at Colorado Springs Airport (COS). The show benefits two museums in Colorado Springs: The National Museum of World War II Aviation and the Peterson Air and Space Museum.
While the airshow theme certainly favored warbirds, many vintage GA aircraft were flown in for the show. Beechcraft, Cessna, Waco and Fleet were all represented on the display ramp. The Fleet owner even brought a matching classic MG TC sports car to accent the plane, or vice versa.
Festivities started off with the U.S. Air Force Wings of Blue Parachute Team followed by an aerial parade of trainer aircraft. The Trojan Phlyers, two combat veteran pilots who perform aerobatic routines in 1950’s era T-28B Trojan trainers, were next on the bill.
Next were flybys with a B-25 Mitchell and TBM Avenger as part of a bomber display. A Mitsubishi A6M Zero took to the sky with an impressive exhibition of the aircraft’s maneuverability. This performance was then combined with a P-40 Warhawk for a mock dogfight, ending with the Zero spewing smoke after being caught in the P-40’s gunsights.
The Commemorative Air Force Red Tail Squadron had a large display for the Tuskegee Airmen, complete with a semitrailer housing a 40-foot panoramic movie screen showing the documentary “Rise Above.” They also brought their restored P-51C Mustang. The distinctive red-tailed fighter took to the air for a demonstration flight.
Warren Pietsch returned with the P-40 for a display of its aerobatic ability. Thunderbolt fans were rewarded with two airborne P-47s, one from the National Museum of World War II Aviation and the other, Hun Hunter IV, from the Tennessee Museum of Aviation.
Other aircraft flying in the show included two rare North American NA-50s, a single-seat fighter version of the T-6, a stunning F7F Tigercat, and a pair of Corsairs. The Tigercat cut short its Saturday performance due to a problem with a landing gear door, and the final performance were abbreviated when a thunderstorm advanced towards the airport. Sunday’s thunderstorms were not very conducive to an airshow and rained out the last half of the performances.
The National Museum of World War II Aviation opened in October 2012. The museum campus occupies 20 acres with three hangars at the Colorado Springs Airport, and is co-located with WestPac Restorations’ restoration facility, one of the nation’s premier restorers of World War II-era aircraft.
The Peterson Air and Space Museum is one of 12 museums that make up the US Air Force History and Heritage Program. It is located at Peterson AFB, and the main museum building was once the original terminal building for Colorado Springs Airport. The airport is co-located with Peterson Air Force Base.
For more information: PPRAirshow.org