2016 Event Review

2016 Defenders of Liberty Airshow – Barksdale AFB, April 30 - May 1, 2016
Location: Barksdale AFB, Louisiana
Admission: Free
Parking: Free
Value: Excellent
Rating out of 10: 8.5
 

B-29 "Joltin' Josie"

Situated in the NW corner of the beautiful state of Louisiana and within the confines of Bossier City, Barksdale AFB held its annual air show on April 30 & June 1. Officially named the Barksdale AFB 2016 Defenders of Liberty Airshow, this event was very well attended and brilliantly organized. THis report is based upon Saturday's performance only.

The approaching very bad weather during the previous day cast a huge doubt on whether the show will be held on the Saturday. The omens were not good as the planned Friday evening twilight show - a private show for performers, families and partners of the air show - got cancelled and the weather forecast for Saturday looked bleak. Friday's weather also hampered the set-up on show ground and the aircraft that flew in on the day had to be put away in hangers etc due to the forecasted incoming storms. For a period of time on the Friday afternoon all personnel had to leave the hardstands and open spaces due to a thunderstorm occurring within 5 miles of the airfield.

Come Saturday morning and after a night of torrential rains and thunderstorms the skies were overcast but not that menacing. Contrary to most predictions the clouds disappeared and by late morning the sun was out with not a cloud in the sky. A brief welcome speech by Col Kristin Goodwin, 2nd Bomb Wing Commander followed by a great rendition of the American National Anthem by a young servicewoman kicked off the aerial events. And what a better way to start a show at Barksdale AFB than with a B-29! Fifi taxied out for the start of an astounding flying display programme and what a show that was, including Fifi leading a B-52 for an airfield flyby. At that moment, the commentator reminded everyone present the age of the Buff citing the fact that there's only ten years between the first flights of both aircraft. Amazing indeed.
The flying display was varied and alternated between warbirds, sports aircraft, the Canadian Armed Force Parachute Team - the Skyhawks, early years jet aircraft, the arrival of a B-2 and of course culminated with the spectacular USAF Demo Team, the Thunderbirds. The static display included F-15s from Seymour Johnson, T-38s, a B-1 from Dyess and other assets from the Air Force and various other services..

It was not easy to have everything set up for Saturday morning, what with the inclement weather and aircraft that could not take their static display spot due to the impeding storms the night before. For this reason alone, the organizers of the Barksdale AFB 2016 air show deserve a huge thank you for being able to still provide the thousands that attended the show on Saturday a memorable day out. The flying was great, the static display included a good representation of the present and past Air Force and I'm sure that people enjoyed the event. From a fellow organizer, kudos to all involved at this year's Barksdale AFB Defenders of Liberty Airshow. You sure made the Air Force and the Nation proud.

Performers included:

USAF Thunderbirds

Canadian Armed Force Parachute Team - the Skyhawks

MiG-17 - Randy Ball

T-33 Ace Maker
MX - Rob Holland Ultimate Airshows
EXTRA 300 - Kevin Coleman,
P-51D - Scott Yoak
Pitts - Dave Leedom
B-29 Superfortress
B-52 Stratofortress

B-1B Lancer
B-17 Flyingfortress
B-25 "Special Delivery"

P-47 Thuderbolt

A-37 Dragonfly

Shockwave Jet Truck

Static displays included:

Rockwell B-1B Lancer

Northrop GrummanB-2 Spirit of Nebraska

Beeing B-52 Stratofortress

McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender
McDonnell Douglas  F-15 Eagle and F-15E Strike Eagle

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III
Northrop T-38 Talon
Raytheon T-1 Jayhawk

Bell Boeing CV-22 Osprey

Lockheed HC-130 Combat King II

Lockheed C-130J Hercules

Boeing RC-135 Rivet Joint
Boeing T-45 Goshawk and many more...

 
Report and photography byJoe ‘Chili’ Ciliberti for The Aviation Magazine

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