BZ's 2011 NAS Lemoore Open House Air Show

Photo Gallery

Tucked away in the California central valley, NAS Lemoore is home to Pacific Strike Fighter Wing. Every once in a while, they have an Open House air show, and I was lucky enough to make it for their 2011 event. Only about 3.5 hours from the SF Bay area, NAS Lemoore nevertheless doesn't get much press around here. Too bad, as they put on a GREAT show!
- Bernard Zee

Showing up bright and early (when the gates first open) is one way to get some nice static shots without too many people cluttering it up! This is the sexy side of the B-25 'Executive Sweet'.

On the other side of the same B-25, is painted 'My Buck'. Not really sure why they did that. Maybe some kind of split personality thing!

But without a doubt, this B-25 is one fine looking plane.

Another awesome warbird on static display was this Corsair.

The Corsair fought as a fighter in the later part of the war in the Pacific, and then in the ground attack role in the Korean war.

The distintive bent wing bird was sure to strike fear in the enemy!

The morning light is really nice for pictures. But the low sun casts a long shadow that you have to watch out for.

This pretty looking yellow plane is a Navy SNJ-6 trainer.

I wish my cars were as immaculate as this yellow Stearman. Notice the modified gatorade bottle to catch the oil drips! That's really thinking ahead!

This unusual plane is a Seabee Warbird, which is a single engine amphibian.

The Mermaid is a nifty light sport flying boat.

The little amphibian plane can carry 500lbs, and is meant to be affordable, reliable, and fun.

This vintage PT-22 gives the pilot that wind-in-the-face exhiliration when flying.

'Semper Fi Mac' is a Vultee BT-13A trainer.

The T-28 Trojan is a big single engined trainer.

Also there was this C-47 in D-day colors.

Being the Centenial of Naval aviation, many of the F-18s were specially painted - like the 'Fist of the Fleet' here.

Closeup of the wingtip rails.

Digital Camo.

Other than being trendy, I don't think the digital camo style is here to stay.

Some other F-18s in more traditional WWII style colors.

View of the tail hook.

Really cool to see the planes in different color schemes. So much more interesting that uniform grey!

Unfortunately, there's no policy change - just something special for the anniversary celebration.

A different angle on the Hornet.

Closeup view of the F-18 'turkey feathers'.

More of the digital cammo plane.

Cockpit area

A partial digital cammo treatment. Sort of interesting effect.

Color scheme reminescent of the high visibility markings on the F-14s from days gone-by. I believe this is from VFA022, the Fighting Red Cocks.

This plane is from the USS Abraham Lincoln.

Rear view showing the 2 GE F404 engines.

This little tracked vehicle looks to be fun around the farm!

There was a couple of F-16s in attendance as well.

Single F110-GE-100 afterburning turbofan.

Paint is a little beat up on this F-16, from the Navy's Fighter Weapons School - also known as Top Gun!

Love that movie (cheese and all)!

The Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center (NSAWC) is located in Fallon, NV - having moved from Miramar, CA as part of hte base realignment and closure in 1993.

The EA-18G Growler (based on the Super Hornet design) looks really nice in the 2 tone blue camo scheme.

VAG-129 flies the new EA-18G Growler as part of training and developing operating procedures for the aircraft.

Sometimes hard for me to tell the Predator from the Reaper, but pretty sure this is a MQ-1 Predator UAV.

The Reaper is quite a bit larger, and a lot more capable than the Predator. But the Predator was first, and set the standard.

One way to tell when they're not side by side, is that the Predator has these 3 tail fins which point downwards - whereas the Reaper does not.

Another look at the Growler (meant to replace the Prowler - notice the names rhyme).

An interesting aircraft not often seen at shows is this Boeing E-6 Mercury. The E-6B functions in the 'Looking Glass' role, providing command and control of U.S. nuclear forces as a backup to ground control.

The EA-6B upgrade includes a battlestaff area, as well as 737 New Generation cockpit.

As the morning wore on, more people were streaming in.

Should have guessed with the Blue Angles Fat Albert sitting off the side, with one engine feathered and cowlings off, that it wasn't going to be flying that day (and it did not).

'Betsy's Biscuit Bomber' was there on static display only.

Front view of the C-47.

D-Day Doll however, did take to the skies - to drop some parachuters. Technically not a C-47, D-Day Doll is a C-53 Skytrooper (a specialized paratroop variant of the C-47).

West Coast Viper demonstration team checking out their F-16 prior to the show.

The T-6 Texan II is a single engine primary trainer used by the USAF and Navy.

The C-53 Skytrooper overhead checking the wind conditions for the drop.

With favorable winds, the Navy Seal parachute team (Leap Frogs) jumps out of a perfectly good plane, and shows off their wrestling skills! :-)

Mesmorizing the crowds below.

Takes great skills to stack up without tangling their chutes.

Hey, he's got a 'Go-Cam'. Should go looking for the footage. Might see myself!

Coming in with the large U.S. flag.

Packing up after another successful drop.

D-Day Doll back on the ground too.

In use for over 70 years, the DC-3/C-47 continues to be flown in daily use in various parts of the world.

Flying a nice aerobatic routine is Spencer Suderman.

Making a cloud of smoke in the equivalent of a Dougnut burnout is Suderman in his Meteor Pitts.

Wave Hi!

Popular at many of the Western air shows is the Silver Wings Wingwalking team of Margaret Stivers and Hartley Folstad.

Margaret has been wingwalking for 20 continous years!

Doug Jardine in the Sbach 342 'ThunderBolt' flies close to Dan Buchanan in his hang glider as his act is unexpectedly interrupted.

VERY close in this shot, as you can see his wings cutting some of the glider's streamers.

Dan was sent aloft in his glider after being towed by a pickup truck using a custom winch system.

There to 'arrest' Dan for his unauthorized flight was the sheiff in their Doge charger.

Doug back on the ground.

Dan hitches a ride in his wheelchair by grabbing on to Doug's wingtips. Yes, Dan is wheelchair bound, but that doesn't stop him from his love of flying and putting on a show!

Dan is an inspiration to so many others with his determination and spirit.

Making some beautiful passes is this unusually painted P-51.

Operated by the CAF So Cal Wing, the P-51D Mustang Man-O-War is part of their Warbird Ride Program.

Sigh, wish I could afford a ride! :-)

The P-51 is an awesome looking plane.

Sounds every bit as good as it looks too!

In the air once more, is the Silver Wings Wingwalking team. This time, with Marion Wagner outside the plane.

It's a very different routine with Marion, and has lots of high speed rolls, loops, and turns.

Marion was born in Germany and immigrated to the U.S. in 2011. She had her first Wingwalking performance with Silver Wings in 2011.

Here's Marion and Margeret back on the ground.

Captain Garrett 'Mace' Dover of the F-16 Viper West demonstration Team about to start his show.

Here's the F-16 Viper rolling past the parked F-18s of the Blue Angels.

After a short takeoff roll, he's in the air!

'Mace' puts the F-16 through its paces, and wows the crowd with its noise and power.

Lots of afterburner means lots of noize!

Viper West calls Hill Air Force Base in Utah home.

Coming around for a high speed dedication pass, the F-16 and the U.S. Flag (on an extended fire engine ladder) shares the same frame.

Lots of speed and power here!

Love it when I don't screw up the shot. :-)

The futuristic look of the F-16, as well as its blistering performance helped to earn it the nickname 'Viper'. As in the starfighters from the Battlestar Galactica Sci-Fi series.

Capt Dover waving to the crowds.

Next up in the air was Bill Cornick in his Pitts S-2C.

Capt Dover signing autographs for the air show attendees.

B-25 belching smoke on start-up.

The Leap Frogs jumped a second time that day. Showing off some kind of MMA submission hold :-)

Landing in front of the Blues.

USN F/A-18 Hornet West Demo team prepping the plane for the show.

A nice treat was seeing the B-25 and P-51 in formation flight.

Here's Executive Sweet making a bomb run.

Nice tight shot of the pair of planes.

Grumman F8F Bearcat. Developed at the end of WWII, it did not see combat then. It was the first plane used by the Navy's Blue Angles from 1946 to 1950.

Also making an appearance was this Mitsubishi A6M Zero.

Another bomb run by the B-25 and P-51.

Accompanied by some nice pyro too!

The F8F turning away.

Could not believe how low he was. How low?

Check this out, on his pull out, his wingtips were blocked by the F-18 canopy!

The Zero takes a mortal hit.


A very unusual formation of B-25, F8F, and P-51!

A final farewell blast of pyro!

Last pass of the Zero.

C-53 coming in for a landing.

Bill Braack is the jetcar man!

He gets to strap himself in front of that huge J34-48 Westinghouse afterburning engine.

Here he is getting the car in position for a start.

The B-25 is back down, and making a victory lap.

P-51 taxiis by.

I believe X-133 is operated by the CAF Camarillo.

Quite the treat to see it flying.

Jacquie Warda in her Extra 300 demonstrating some nimble moves in the air.

Close up of Jacquie in her plane.

Spencer Suderman and Bill Cornick demonstrates an aerobatic race. That's where both planes perform the same aerobatic routine side by side, and the one who finishes first wins.

Closer look at Bill Cornick's plane.

Spencer Suderman blowing some smoke in front of the Blues planes.

John Collver flies a sentimental tribute in his AT-6 'War Dog'.

The AT-6 makes a lot of noise while flying because the tips of the propeller are going supersonic. Like a series of continuous whip cracks!

Bill Braack gets cooking in his amazing jet car.

Called Smoke and Thunder, it's easy to see why when he lights those afterburners and shoots out a stream of fire!

Heat from the jet engine distorts the air as he makes his way past the Blues F-18s.

Sad to say though, that Lemoore isn't a real good place to see the jet car 'race'.

Can't hardly see anything! Between the shacks, parked planes, and other obstructions...couldn't really see much of the speed run.

After the race, John lands and waves as he taxis by.

This is Greg Colyer in his T-33 'Acemaker' making a nice pass.

The T-33 is the 2 seater trainer version of the P-80 Shooting Star.

The Shooting Stars were used in the Korean War, where a P-80 scored the first jet to jet victory by shooting down a Mig-15.

Nice looking view of the T-33 as Greg takes it by the Blues planes.

I can only imagine how Greg got his 'Wired' call sign! :-)

The F-18 takes off to start their tactical demonstration routine.

Puling up sharply, the F-18 Super Hornet generates some vapor at the leading wing edges.

The Super Hornet looks a lot like a legacy Hornet, but is bigger and can carry a lot more.

The twin afterburning engines don't put out as impressive a flame as the F-16 though.

One of the signature moves of the F-18 demonstration is the High Speed Pass. Zipping along right under the speed of sound, this is the best chance to catch a nice vapor cone.

Though the pass was very fast, the air was kind of dry that day.

As such, there was only a hint of a vapor cone. Still, very impressive and awe inspiring in person!

Here's the Hornet at the apex of a high speed loop.

At the bottom of the loop, and pouring on the power.

The F/A-18F is the 2 seater variant.

The demonstration F-18 along with another F-18 joins up with the F8F Bearcat for the USN Legacy Flight.

Pretty cool to see such a formation. More typically to see only 1 jet and 1 prop plane.

Noramlly, the prop planes are going full out, and the jet is doing it's best not to stall!

Break after the last pass over the audience.

The Bearcat makes a nice close pass going pretty fast.

Followed by the pair of Super Hornets.

Nice to catch the pair of them so close.

Getting ready to land.

Bearcat and F-18 taxiing.

Bearcat pilot (didn't catch his name) waving to the audience.

The 2 F-18s doing the close up thing.

Hey, you can see me reflected in the pilot's visor (if you use your imagination)!

Though not was crowded as some of the more major air shows, there was still quite a turn out.

The star attraction of the show gets underway, as the Blues ground crew removes the chokes.

Some young air show fans have their hearing protection on to best enjoy the show.

The Blues make their way to the main runway.

A 2 seater had to sub for the regular number 4 plane.

The 1-4 planes take off together in formation.

Coming around the Lemoore control tower.

The diamond pass in very tight formation.

For a while there, the lead solo had to do a lot of the passes without the opposing solo, as the #6 had some kind of issues and did not take off as scheduled.

Hard to have a cross with only one plane!

Really tight shot of the 'Double Farvel'.

Echelon Parade.

The #6 jet did make it up for part of the show - and one of my only crossing shots.

The dreaded 'Sneak Pass'!

Another view of the lead solo going pretty low.

Barrel Roll Break.

The tail end of the Section High Alpha Pass.

Close up of a 4 ship break.

All 6 ships together in the Delta Roll.

Audience craning their necks to keep up with the action!

The opposing solo pulling some serious Gs here.

The solos pass to rejoin is another nice and loud affair!

The Loop Break Cross often makes for some impressive imagery.

And they're off to different directions.

Where they perform half Cuban 8s, and then cross in show center.

Sparkling shot of the #4 plane.

Final manuever, is the Delta Pitch up break to land.

Back down after another successful show.

#3 Pilot Maj Brent Stevens signing autographs after the show.

#5 Lead Solo Lt Ben Walborn, happy to meet and greet the throng of fans.

All good things must come to an end. Thanks NAS Lemoore for putting on a magnificent show!!