Did you make it to the 2019 Toledo Air Show? Have you ever attended an air show? This year’s air show at the Toledo Express airport was nothing short of extraordinary. From the heart pounding aerobatic single pilot props and stomach dropping suspenseful Jelly Belly act to the ear crunching 180th F-16’s and historically correct Tora, Tora, Tora reenactment of the 1941 Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor. This year’s air show was something to see and if you missed it, you will definitely want to take note and be sure to catch the next one.
The show kicked off just after noon on Saturday, July 13th 2019 with the Black Dagger Parachute team gliding to the ground displaying a massive American flag. This shortly before the US Air Force’s 180th Fighter Wing and their F-16’s took the stage. The F-16’s started by taking off, pulling up on their aircraft and disappearing into the clouds, followed up by flying close knit group formations. What a fitting way to start as there is nothing like the site of an American flag high in the sky prior to the roar of these jet engines to awaken the American spirit.
Ken Holland was next up and in the air performing breath taking acrobatic flips, stalls and high speed close encounters to the runway in his single engine, black and yellow prop aircraft. While focusing on Ken and his performance a little yellow airplane resembling what we all would believe was a type of ‘crop duster’ with all of our favorite jelly bean brand painted on the side, Jelly Belly, coming into view and seemingly heading straight for Ken. It was a quick and scary moment as it appeared that Ken Holland’s plane and the Jelly Belly crop duster collide in midair, with the crop duster losing part of its wing! The Jelly Belly plane started bobbing and weaving as if out of control, left to right up and down and at one point heading nose first into the ground while sounds of worried screams filled the ramp. The announcer over the PA started speaking as if there were a collision but was eerily calm and with all emergency personnel remaining in position, you quickly draw to the conclusion that this was all part of the show. A scary moment quickly turned in to a rush of suspense and amazement at the pure skill of these pilots.
Soon after, a P-51D Mustang “Quick Silver” took to the air, partnering with the classic F4U-4 Corsair “Korean War Hero”, together known as “The Class of ‘45”. As these aircraft take off, you almost feel as if this is their maiden voyage and you’re witnessing a part of history. These two aircraft flew in tandem shortly after the P-51D performed and showcased its maneuverability with agile turns and quick elevation change and displayed its sheer power as the engine winds.
Other planes took to the air for fly-by’s, such as the F-100, primarily used in Vietnam, displaying its speed and the Russian built Mig-17, another aircraft that just amazes you with its maneuverability and acceleration out of turns.
This year’s air show was headlined by Tora, Tora, Tora a multi-plane reenactment of the Japanese surprise attack of Pearl Harbor and the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet. At approximately 2:20 a grouping of slow moving aircraft appear on the horizon. As they get closer red dots get clearer on the bottom of these low flying airplanes. As they pass, you are amazed by consistent buzz of these planes as they fly so low and steady, you feel as though something big was going to happen as they pass by, three in the first group, two in the second and another three to follow behind. These planes are Japanese replica Zero’s, most carrying a single torpedo underneath its hull. They pass by and as time passes you wonder, was that it? And then all hell breaks loose. Out of the clouds these planes start their dive bombing maneuvers, going faster than you would think they had the ability to even travel. The sound is almost like massive bumble bee’s diving in, mimicking dropping torpedo’s as the sound of explosions appear directly under them followed by flames and smoke quickly rising from below. One after another, weaving in and out of their assuming target as more smoke and flames erupt. The story is told that only 2 American aircraft got off the ground to engage with these Japanese Zero’s in the 1941 attack, and Tora, Tora, Tora left no detail undone. Soon enough you see two American aircraft in the air each tailing a separate Zero. It was amazing to watch in wonder on how they perform so well, keeping a far enough distance to be safe but flying to close for comfort from a ground perspective. This reenactment left you with the feeling of extreme gratitude to those who battled, helped save lives and joined the fight on that day of infamy, Dec. 7th 1941.
Other notable mentions are Shockwave Jet Truck, pilot Jacquie B another impressive acrobatic pilot that joined in the air as well as many other aircraft that were static on the ramp. Overall, this was an amazing display of American engineering and ingenuity. For full descriptions of the performers above, please visit https://toledoairshow.com/performers/.
Grand Aire plays a vital role in the planning and execution of this show. We hosted many safety meetings in our corporate meeting rooms, hosted several aircraft in our hangar, as well as provided smoke oil and fuel for most all aircraft involved. When making your way through KTOL, stop in and see us, we would be happy to assist in any way needed. To contact us, please email FBO-Lineservice@grandaire.com or give us a call at 800-704-7263.
To view videos and images of the 2019 Toledo Airshow Festivities, visit the official facebook page here.