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2009 Air Shows

Scott AFB, Illinois

Location: Scott Air Force Base, located by Shiloh, approx. 19 miles east of St. Louis. 
Admission: Free
Parking: Free
Value: Excellent

The Scott AFB Air Show, located just east of St. Louis, in Illinois, had a terrific line up of performers and of larger static aircraft on the weekend of September 19-20. We have been to several air shows both at military bases and civilian locations, but as military air shows go, we would rate the Scott AFB Air show one of the best, despite the poor weather on Sunday only, which unfortunately cancelled the flying part of the air show.

The Scott AFB personnel who were involved in hosting the event, were outstanding! Very friendly, welcoming, capable and helpful, but most of all, showed pride in their work that caused their hospitality to stand out even more! They knew how to treat a visitor to the event, and to make a positive impression from the first second, forward. Often organizers and personnel involved hosting a show tend to forget that a great air show is not just about the quantity of the aircraft on the ground and in the air that makes a show poor, good, or great, but simply being organized, having clear and informative answers to questions, and warm sincere hospitality can make all the difference between a so-so air show and a great one!
Even before we got to the Scott AFB, we received several communications via e-mail and even by cell phone about updates to the air show, and offered assistance in case if we required any! Led by Karen Petitt, the Chief of the 375 th Airlift Wing Public Affairs, and her staff, especially Master Sergeant Sabrina Foster, they did an outstanding and very appreciated job!! Our gratitude goes to them and to their staff for making the event such a positive and memorable event! We believe,they could offer courses to other air shows: how to be organized, handle media requests, and provide valid and up to date information. Most essential too, providing real and sincere help in order to facilitate their guests needs, providing information to the public at large about the air show. It was not just the Public Affairs personnel who provided such friendliness and hospitality, but all the personnel at Scott AFB, our gratitude goes to Michael Zipfel, Deputy Director; Mary Robles, Scott Club Manager; and Missi Spiller, Club Operations Assistant.
The actual air show performances on Saturday started at 11 am with the opening ceremony which included the Golden Knights jumping with the Canadian and US flags from two Tora, Tora, Tora aircraft which was quite unique. They were followed by aircraft from Scott AFB, C-21 and C-40 and a KC-135R fly-by, shortly followed by the Viper North’s MiG-15 and L-29, from Toronto. Then came one of the major acts, the Tora, Tora, Tora demo team, flying in their WWII Japanese replica warbirds, with the stimulated attack on Pearl Harbor, which would have been outstanding if the wind would not have blown all the smoke from the pyro explosions toward the crowds which, unfortunately, then blocked viewing the aircraft as they flew by with their simulated bombing attacks. The F-16 Viper West team had to wait until the grass fires were put out, but soon after that the thundering roar of the F-16 livened up the crowds quickly. These days, a rarely seen F-4 Phantom, then continued with the thunder and the F-15F Strike Eagle Demo team led by Captain Phil “Ritz” Smith, and Captain John “Gizmo”Cox, WSO, did their ear drum splitting and visually exciting performance. To stimulate the visual senses even further, a WWII P-51D Mustang joined the already flying warbirds: the F-4, F-15 and the F-16 in a rare four ship Heritage Flight to the enjoyment of all who attended and all the base personnel who had the chance to see them. There were other performances such as of the MiG-17 Fresco, the Navy’s F-18C Hornet, the aforementioned US Army Golden Knights Parachute Team, and a couple of civilian acts which did dazzle all the crowds, numbering around in the 60 thousand range for Saturday. The show was closed by the Snowbirds, Canada’s Aerobatic Team flying their ancient CT-114 Tutor aircraft, who did a good show, considering that they had to cancel their practice on Friday due to mechanical issues and even had to fly an additional aircraft down from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, in order to fly their usual 9 ship formation routines. As for static part of the show, there were several large aircraft on display including the C-5 Galaxy, the C-17 Globemaster (one also flew during the show displaying its short take-off and landing capabilities) C-141 Starlifter, C-130H Hercules, KC-110 tanker and KC-135R tanker, just to name a few.

The layout of the show provided a good vantage point to the flight line, and with the sun behind the spectators most of the day excellent photographic opportunities, as long as the spectators had good telephoto lens 400mm and upward for the fly-bys. A wide angle lens was mandatory for the larger jets at the static display. There were plenty of expensive food and refreshment vendors at the show, with adequate sanitation facilities and trash bins.

The Scott AFB air show, is one of the air shows that I would highly recommend for all people who are interested in visiting a great air show, not just from Illinois or Missouri, but from all of the States, Canada, and world wide
Over all the air show at Scott AFB was outstanding, and when combined with the excellent hospitality and friendliness, I can honestly rate it as 9.9 out of 10!!

Some of the Teams and warbirds participating were:

Snowbirds

Tora, Tora, Tora

The US ARMY Golden Knights Parachute Team

F-15 Eagle Strike Eagle Demo Team

F-16 West Coast Demo Team

F-18 Hornet

C-17 Globemaster III

MiG 15 & 17

P-51D Mustang

F-4 Phantom

and many others.

Rating: 9.9 out of 10
     
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