Hollister is a quiet little agricultural town in Northern California that is probably best known for motorcycle rallies — being the inspiration for the 1953 Brando film “The Wild One.”
Hollister is also getting known for its fly-in, one of the few in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. This year marked the seventh year for this event.
Like a mini-Oshkosh, the Hollister Airshow was an opportunity for owners, pilots and aviation enthusiasts to gather and show off their aircraft. The relaxed atmosphere also allows for great access to the aircraft and their owners.
The weekend airshow, which fell on June 18-19, featured a number of aerobatic performances, made up of primarily local talent, plus a motorcycle stunt show.
A quartet of Harmon Rocket IIs, of the “Bakersfield Bunch,” flew some formation fly-bys before descending to land and check out the festivities.
Headliner Vicky Benzing performed twice, once with her beautiful red Stearman and later with her Extra 300.
Dr. Frank Donnelly — known as Dr. D — performed his old-time aerobatics routine with a clipped-wing Taylorcraft.
The Alabama Boys put on their version of the “untrained pilot takes off” routine that then morphed into landing a Piper Cub onto the top of a moving truck.
One of the unique aircraft attending was a gyroplane that Vance Breese flew up from Santa Maria. His demonstration took full advantage of all the agility a gyroplane offers. This two-seater, bristling with pods and a shark mouth motif, looked like it came right out of a Bond movie.
Kevin Walker, of Fox 3 Jet Warbirds, provided jet powered oomph to the show with his flight demonstration with the Czech produced L-39C Albatros jet.
The daily performances were capped off with warbirds taking to the air. Five P-51 Mustangs, a P-40 Kittyhawk, TBM Avenger and a Yak-9 made for an interesting assortment.
Parked on the tarmac were a wide variety of aircraft ranging from a 1926 Travel Air to a 2011 Cessna 162 Skycatcher LSA and a lot of vintage models in between.
Hollister is also a working Cal Fire airbase and they were busy throughout the show coming and going with their S-2 tankers and Bronco aircraft. The California Highway Patrol sent one of their patrol aircraft, a Cessna 206, to supplement the law enforcement presence at the show.
Hollister Municipal Airport (KCVH) is located near the Central Valley of California between Gilroy and Salinas.