"Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- The United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan". Words that have gone down in history discussing the attack on Pearl Harbor spoken by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. At the 2017 Field of Flight, you will be able to experience "The Day of Infamy" brought to life by the Commemorative Air Force's long-running "TORA TORA TORA" act.
TORA TORA TORA began in 1972 when six replica Japanese aircraft used in the movie of the same name were donated to the Commemorative Air Force. Soon after, the act became one of the most sought after acts in the air show industry today. The act salutes those we have lost, not just at Pearl Harbor and World War II, but in every campaign we have ever fought. Tora's motto is "Lest We Forget" and the act is designed as a traveling air museum to honor all sides of World War II.
The show begins with ukelele music and a historical introduction where you are asked to close your eyes and learn about everything that lead up to the attack on that fateful day. When you open your eyes next, you are suddenly at Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. Japanese Aircraft are filling the sky and explosions are rocking the entire airfield, the Japanese have achieved total surprise. You are now not only learning about history, but experiencing it.
During the entire show, you will see 8 replica Japanese Aircraft and over 60 pyrotechnical effects. This is one "living classroom" that you will not want to miss. The act also serves as a salute to those in the Armed Forces.
**Note: The full TORA TORA TORA act (with pyro) will be performed Sunday, July 2 through Tuesday, July 4. No pyro will be used during the show on Saturday, July 1. Instead, a unique non-pyro version featuring the TORA aircraft will be performed on this day**
A mainstay in our air show lineup, Battle Creek's own, and Field of Flight Director on the Board Tim Brutsche will take to the skies with his Hoppers teammates in their ever-popular Aero Vodochody L-39 Jet Warbirds. Painted in awesome Soviet bloc paint schemes, the team will perform a series of formation passes, crosses, solo passes and low to the ground high-speed passes to show off every single angle of their beautiful birds. Don't miss this graceful and powerful warbird formation act during our air shows on July 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th!
Greg "Wired" Colyer will be making his Battle Creek debut in 2017. He will be performing in the T-33 Shooting Star known as "Ace Maker II".
Greg is an extremely experienced and talented pilot. He took his first flight at the age of 7 and has been hooked on flying ever since. He earned his pilots license in 1982 while serving in the Army and then served as an Air Traffic Controller for the FAA from 1988 to 2015. During this time, he would fly an occaisonal airshow in a Beech T-34 Mentor and then a Russian L-29 Delfin that he imported in 2003. However, he soon became hooked on the T-33 and set his sights high on an upgrade. He acquired the original "Ace Maker" in 2008, began performing airshows and also founded the non-profit (501c-3) T-33 Heritage Foundation to help in the preservation of the type. He, of course, acquired a second T-33 ("Ace Maker II", the one performing in Battle Creek) so now the foundation can even have further reach.
The Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star was the first jet trainer developed for the United States Air Force (Army Air Corps when originally developed). The aircraft is a variant of the P-80 Shooting Star, the first jet to be active in the United States Military inventory. The aircraft was originially planned in 1943. The aircraft was designed by famous aircraft designer Clarence "Kelly" Johnson. The aircraft was, notably, the first aircraft designed by the team that would become known as the "Skunk Works" division at Lockheed (going on to develop other major aircraft such as the F-104, SR-71, U-2 & F-117). The XP-80 was designed as a jet fighter and first flew before World War II was even over, on January 8, 1944. Eventually, the design needed a variation so pilots could learn to fly the newer jet aircraft. The T-33 first flew on March 22, 1948 and went on to train many of our flying aces of the Korean War. P-80s themselves met many MiG's over the area of northwest Korea known as "MiG Alley". The very first jet vs. jet victory occurred during the Korean War when a MiG-15 was downed by a P-80.
T-33's were designed themselves to become operational, if needed, in active fighting.
Greg "Wired" Colyer will take to the skies in the nation's #1 Classic Military Solo Demonstration during our air shows July 1 - 4.
Beauty has become the Beast! Bob Carlton returns to Battle Creek and will take to the skies in a plane that was meant to be powerless, but has become very powerful. We, of course, are talking about Vertigo Airshows' Jet Super Salto Sailplane.
Bob Carlton is an experienced, professional, and versatile pilot. He began flying at the age of 19 in 1979. Since then, he has logged over 2000 hours in a wide variety of aircraft, including hang gliders and helicopters. Bob began performing airshows in 1993 and has since flown numerous different acts all over the world. Bob Carlton was the creator of some of the most innovative acts of the Late 90s and early 2000s, leading right upt to the Jet Super Salto. Other innovative acts include the Starduster Biplane aerobatics, the World's FIRST Helicopter-Sailplane Tow, night aerobatics with strobes and pyro and the world's first and only twin jet sailplane.
Bob will be performing an amazing demonstration in his Jet Super Salto Sailplane, the world's most powerful self launching jet sailplane. The aircraft is powered by a PBS TJ-100 jet engine (military-grade with 225 pounds of thrust). The aircraft is capable of self-launching and climbs to altitude without a tow-plane. From there, Bob will spool down the engine and perform graceful sailplane aerobatics in an aerial ballet. As he spends his altitude and air speed up, he will kick the engine back on and perform a low-level jet aerobatic display filled with smoke, power and noise! No other sailplane or pilot in the world today is capable of performing such an act.
Don't miss Bob Carlton in the Jet Super Salto Sailplane at the Field of Flight this year, performing July 1 - 4.
Matt Younkin will be returning to Battle Creek this year in the beautiful Beechcraft 18, an old cargo/airliner aircraft. You will not want to miss this act as it is a performance that will shock everyone in attendance, even those aviation buffs. If you don't think an old 1940s style airliner (that was also retrofitted for military cargo purposes) can't perform aerobatics....then think again!
Matt Younkin is the son of airshow legend Bobby Younkin and the grandson of Jim Younkin (a well-known plane designer and aircraft replicator). Bobby Younkin is a name well known in Battle Creek, having performed here last in 2003. Bobby developed some of the most unique airshow acts in the world, including aerobatics in a Learjet as well as a Beech 18. While Bobby is no longer with us, Matt keeps his legacy alive by continuing to fly his father's aerobatic performance in the Twin Beech 18. Matt, who has been flying since Age 14, has over 3000 hours of total flight time in over 75 different types of aircraft. He presently resides in Siloam Springs, Arkansas with his wife Michelle and Daughter Kimmy. Matt Younkin was the 2012 recipient of the Bill Barber Award for Showmanship.
The Younkin's family Beech 18, named "Miss Ellie", was built in 1943 by the Beechcraft Corporation in Wichita, Kansas (built as an AT-7C for military service). The airplane went into service with the Army Air Corps, being based at Houston's Ellington Field. It was re-designated to the C-18S when the Army transferred ownership to the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA). The plane has seen tons of owners over the years until Younkin Airshows, Inc. purchased it in 2000 as a replacement to Bobby's original Beech 18. After Bobby's untimely death in July 2005, the plane spent two years in retirement in Tullahoma, Tennessee before Matt debuted his version of his fathers Twin Beech routine at Sun-N-Fun 2007 in Lakeland, Florida. "Miss Ellie" is the mascot for Younkin Airshows and the nose art/name of the Beech 18 because, with the exception of the paint scheme, is essentially the same as when it was sold from military surplus in 1945. It's a true warbird and a large aircraft performing aerobatics. So, of course the mascot would be an elephant.
Don't miss Matt Younkin performing in the LARGEST CIVILIAN AEROBATIC PLANE on the airshow circuit, ending with the amazing "Elephant Waltz", a maneuver you will not see anywhere else. It is truly a spectacle to believe. This SHOW-STOPPING performance will be performed July 1 - 4.
You thought you had an extreme rivalry with your sibling? Think again! The heat is on!
Brothers Billy Werth and David Werth will square off head-to-head in the most unlikely of races...a motorcycle vs. airplane drag race! The thrill doesn't end there though. Good sportsmanship abound, the race culminates in a spectacular ending that no one will forget as Dave "shakes hands" with Billy from his motorcycle while Billy is still in flight. Talk about skill on both ends!
David is Billy's younger brother and is no stranger to airplanes or adventure. He attended college at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in Florida and graduated with a degree in Advertising Design in 1993. After working for several years in print design, he ventured out on his own and opened his own company, IDEAS Design, Inc. in 1997. In addition to running his busy web design company, now located in Albuqueurque, New Mexico and fulfillung his marketing director duties for Grayout Aerosports, he manages to make time for his thrill seeking hobbies; snow boarding, mountain biking, motorcycle racing, and the latest adventure....stunt racing his motorcycle up against his big brother Billy on the runway. With his creative style and perpetual enthusiasm, David fits in perfectly with the Grayout crew.
Don't miss this epic race pitting brother vs. brother at this year's Field of Flight, July 1 - 4.
Fun fact, the crew chief for the team is their father, Gerald Werth. This truly is a family affair!
Growing up in an Air Force family, Billy has been around some sort of airplane his whole life. He started flying in 1988 and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Professional Aviation Technology from Indiana State University in 1994. In 1992, he started teaching aerobatics and has been hooked ever since. In 1997, he graduated from Undergraturate Pilot Training and started flying the KC-135R for the Air ForceReserves. He was hired by Chautauqua Airlines in 2001 and is now a Captain on the Embraer 145, based in Indianapolis. Billy has over 6000 hours of flight time in 20 different aircraft, with 600 of it teaching folks how to fly upside down.
Billy's performance in his Pitts S2C aircraft is a thrill show that you will not soon forget. He will take the agile biplane, dubbed "Miss America", and kickstart a performance that will leave you on the edge of your seat from the very beginning. Don't miss it July 1 - 4 only at the Field of Flight in Battle Creek!
The Award Winning Rob Holland will return to Battle Creek in 2017 for his fifth year in a row, now becoming a staple at the event. Rob Holland is one of the most famous and popular aerobatic pilots on Earth.
Rob has won the Gold Medal in the 4-minute freestyle numerous times at the World Aerobatic Championship. In addition, he has placed first at the U.S. National Aerobatic Championships as well. In 2013, he was the highest ranked U.S pilot at the World Aerobatic Championships. In 2015, Rob represented the US once again at the World Aerobatic Championship. In 2016, Rob did something COMPLETELY UNPRECEDENTED at the U.S. National Aerobatic Championship. Rob won his 6th Consecutive U.S. National Aerobatic Title and his 7th Consecutive 4-Minute Freestyle Title. In addition to his numerous first place finishes, he has received the coveted Art Scholl Showmanship Award from the International Council of Air Shows as well as winning "AirShowBuzz's Person of the Year". Anyone who has attended the Field of Flight knows that Rob does things with his MXS that are just unexplainable. Don't miss his adrenaline pumping, gyroscopic show at this year's Field of Flight!
Bill Stein is one of the most-experienced and sought after pilots on the air show circuit. Bill began flying aerobatics when he was still a student pilot and has been dedicated to perfecting his skills ever since. He has been performing air shows ever since 1995 and has entertained millions of air show fans. For years, he performed as a member of the world famous Red Baron Stearman Squadron (including right here in Battle Creek). He also mentors and coaches many future aerobatic pilots including being a coach for the famed "Stars of Tomorrow" team.
Bill also serves as an Aerobatic Competency Evaluator, proving his dedication to aerobatic safety. When it comes to professionalism, there isn't anyone quite like Bill. He'll take to the Battle Creek skies in his Zivko Edge 540 aircraft. This aircraft is popular among aerobatic pilots, but Bill's plane is different! His Edge 540 uses cutting edge paint technology, Bill has designed the spectacular look of his airplane using a paint that continuously changes color based on the constantly varying angles between the spectators, airplane and the lighting. The plane can be any one color and even be a mix of colors numerous different times during the performance, changing from green, purple, blue, gold, yellow, pink, orange and everything in between. See how many colors you can count on July 2nd, 3rd & 4th
**NOTE THAT BILL STEIN WILL ONLY BE PERFORMING JULY 2ND - 4TH IN 2017**
Jack Knutson is no stranger to Battle Creek, having performed here numerous times since the Mid-90s with the American Firebirds, Firebirds Delta Team, Firebirds XTreme, The 4CE and as a solo performer. Jack will take his "Firebird" Extra 300S and put it through its paces as he flies an amazing and graceful aerobatic routine filled with numerous traditional and hardcore aerobatic maneuvers. The Extra 300 is a popular aerobatic aircraft and with one of the best and most experienced aerobatic pilots in the industry at the controls, you'd better be prepared to be thrilled on July 1st, 2nd 3rd & 4th!
Hold on to your hats, Patrick McAlee will be making his Battle Creek debut in 2017. The name of his company is "Extreme Flight" and you will find out why within seconds of him taking to the sky.
While Patrick may be newer to the world of aerobatics, he is extremely experienced in aviation. He grew up in an aviation family and was exposed to flying at the age of 5 and aerobatics at the age of 7. He worked so hard wanting to become a pilot that he started saving for his first plane at the age of 12 and took on two aviation jobs at the age of 16 and was mentored in the aerobatics and airshow world by legends such as Sean D. Tucker, Skip Stewart, Debbie Rihn-Harvey, Billy Werth (one of our performers this year) and Greg Koontz. It was only natural, at this point, for Patrick to break into the airshow industry. And that he did. Since beginning to fly aerobatics 7 years ago and beginning to perform in airshows 4 years, Patrich has becoming a rising star and has traveled all over the US. He has logged, in total, over 1000 aerobatic hours and over 10,000 hours of total flight time in over thirty different type of aircraft.
Patrick flies an amazing "to the max!" performance in the "Blue Demon", a highly modified Pitts S1SS biplane. He executes maneuvers to a choreographed music playlist; all while practicing precision, professionalism and safety. During his 15 minute routine, Patrick will experience G-Forces in excess of 8.5 positive G's over 65 times. Now THAT is what we call EXTREME!
Patrick would like to invite you all out to the show and encourage everyone, young and old, to follow their dreams. His mantra is simple: "HOLDING ON TIGHT! HOLDING ONTO THE CONTROLS AND GO FOR IT"
Don't miss Patrick McAlee's amazing performance in the "Blue Demon" Pitts S1SS July 1st through the 4th at the Field of Flight in Battle Creek.
Don't miss Kent Pietsch in his "Jelly Belly" Interstate Cadet "power-off deadstick act".
Kent will climb to altitude in the Jelly Belly aircraft, ignite the beautiful wingtip smoke and then shut his engine off. The thing is, the Interstate Cadet's engine can only be restarted while on the ground (its a hand cranked starter). So once it's off...it's off! Kent then begins flying a graceful aerobatic routine in his "plane turned glider". Once he runs out of airspeed, Kent will land the aircraft and, through energy management, place the spinner of his non-moving prop into the hand of an airshow volunteer at the very end as he comes to a complete stop! There is no other show like it!
Kent Pietsch has been performing in airshows since 1973, performing incredible routines in more than 400 shows in front of millions of people. One of the most sought after acts on the circuit today, Kent is the 2005 Recipient of the Bill Barber Award for Showmanship, the 2007 Art Scholl Showmanship Award and and Honorary Member of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds. Kent grew up in Minot, North Dakota and would find a way to the airport every day after school, doing whatever he could to get an airplane ride. It all started with him falling in love with flying at the age of four and he has not let up after over five decades. He truly is a showman!
Kent flies an 800-pound Interstate Cadet with a 37-foot wingspan. The plane's horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine can generate 90 horsepower and a G-force ranging from -3 to +5. Interstate Cadet's were produced between 1941 and 1942, with around 320 being produced total. The aircraft was designed as a utility and training aircraft. Kent takes it and, pun intended, puts a new "spin" on what it was built for.
Ironically, with our headliner this year being "TORA! TORA! TORA!", the Interstate Cadet rose to prominence as being the first United States aircraft to be shot at during the Pear Harbor attack on December 7th, 1941. 22 year old woman aviator Cornelia Fort was a flight instructor for Andrew's Flying Service in Honolulu, Hawaii. On that Sunday morning, she was out with a student when she saw a shadow of a another plane. As it began to pass her, she started to hear machine gun bursts. It was a Mitsibuishi A6M2 Zero taking part in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Cornelia took control of the Cadet and was able to land it, riddled with bullet holes. Both she and her student survived by running for cover. Just a bit of a history lesson for you.
Don't miss Kent Pietsch's "power-off deadstick act" at this year's Field of Flight.
Hold on to your hats! Chuck Dramamine just recently escaped from the penitentiary and he is going to interrupt our airshow. Flying in a plane he constructed in prison (hence the reason it literally will start to fall apart before your eyes) and entering our airspace while another performer is in the sky, Chuck will try his best not to crash his plane.
Of course, Chuck is really Kent Pietsch and the act is just one of the most hilarious comedy acts on the airshow circuit! The act is complete with hilarious dialouge, some crazy bad flying, wing tip dragging, props and more! You truly will not want to miss this act flown in the "Jelly Belly" Interstate Cadet.
Kent Pietsch will perform his comedy act July 1 - 4 at the Field of Flight.
You thought Kent Pietsch's Comedy Act was cool? Well, wait for his RV Top Landing. In this attemptive act, Kent Pietsch will try (up to four times) to land his "Jelly Belly" Interstate Cadet on the "Jelly Belly" RV while both are moving. It takes massive skill to be able to land on-board a moving target.
Do not miss Kent Pietsch's attempt to land on the "World's Smallest Airport" July 1 - 4, only in Battle Creek!
Back by popular demand will be Mr. Phil Dacy, "The Voice of the Field of Flight Air Show". This is the 11th Field of Flight that this award winning announcer will be announcing. Phil will set the pace for the air show and provide announcing that is 'second to none'. Phil not only provides some of the highest energy announcing on the air show circuit, but he backs up that energy with incredible knowledge. After being on the air show circuit for so long, Phil definitely knows the performers, knows the performances and knows his stuff. Phil is a very experienced pilot in his own right with over 8000 hours of flight time in all different types of aircraft. Even today, when not announcing, he is the Chief Pilot for Priester Aviation out of Chicago, Illinois. Phil will help bring you the ULTIMATE Air Show Experience and he'll even announce our Spectacular Twilight Air Show.