- US Air Force Thunderbirds
- The 4CE Formation Aerobatic Team - Rob Holland, Bill Stein, Jack Knutson
- Firebirds XTreme - Rob Holland & Jack Knutson
- The Hoppers L-39 Jet Warbird Team - Tim Brutsche, Paul Wood, Dan Sullivan & Dave Mills
- Award Winning Rob Holland "Ultimate Airshows" MXS
- Jack Knutson "Firebird" Extra 300S
- Bill Stein Zivko Edge 540
- Kyle Franklin "Franklinstein" Super Cub Wing-Tip Draggin' Comedy Act
- Matt Younkin in the Twin Beech 18
- Susan Dacy "Big Red" Super Stearman
- Paul Stender Indy Boys Inc. TOP GUN Jet Truck
- Phil Dacy - Announcer
- Twilight Air Show - July 2nd
There is a chance of Thunder at this year's Field of Flight Airshow & Balloon Festival. The world famous US Air Force Thunderbirds Jet Demonstration Squadron return to Battle Creek following a sequestration hiatus.
Celebrating their 63rd Anniversary in 2016, the Thunderbirds will showcase the pride and precision of today’s US Air Force with over 70 performances at several different show sites. The team will proudly perform on behalf of the nearly 700,000 active-duty, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve & civilian Airmen serving at home and abroad. It’s from that diverse group of Air Force professionals that the Thunderbirds team is formed.
The Thunderbirds were first activated on May 25th, 1953 as the Air Force’s Official Air Demonstration Team. They were designated the 3600th Air Demonstration Unit and were stationed at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona flying the F-84G Thunderjet. Over the years, the Thunderbirds flew famous US Air Force Aircraft that have gone down in history such as the F-84F Thunderstreak, the F-100C Super Sabre, F-105B Thunderchief, F-100D Super Sabre, F-4E Phantom II, T-38 Talon…and into the Mighty F-16 Fighting Falcon (Block 52 model) that the team flies today.
According to Indian legend, the Thunderbird was a giant eagle (some envisioned a hawk) that was spoken about with great fear & respect. When it took to the skies, the earth trembled from the thunder of its wings and bolts of lightning shot from its eyes. Nothing in nature could challenge the bird of thunder, the story of the Thunderbird was repeated across generations…and today, it is now a legend.
The legend will take to the skies this summer in Battle Creek, Michigan as the thunder (known as the Sound of Freedom) and will represent not only the professionalism of the US Air Force, but the patriotism of our great nation of the United States.
The “thunder” will come from six F-16 Fighting Falcon jets painted in Red, White & Blue colors with the Thunderbird emblem on the bottom. Their show will rock the skies as the Diamond formation (Jets 1-4) perform a series of precision maneuvers, keeping their aircraft just INCHES from each other. This is in concert with the high speed & high G maneuvers performed by the Solos (Jets 5-6). This includes a series of head-on passes & solo maneuvers showcasing the tactical profile of the Block 52 Viper. In the end, all six jets team up and showcase the pinnacle of formation flying, the Delta Formation.
The Thunderbirds will be rocking the Battle Creek skies numerous times throughout the week. Don't miss their practice performance on July 1st (our gates will be open) and then their full-out demos on July 2nd, 3rd & 4th! That's FOUR times the THUNDER!
Returning to Battle Creek in 2016 will be the ever-popular"4CE" Aerobatic Team. Battle Creek was one of the first air shows to host this team formed by world renowned aerobatic pilots back in 2012 (before they even had a name, jokes ensued) and we can't wait for them to thrill you again in 2015. The team appearing in Battle Creek this year will consist of Bill Stein in the Edge 540, Rob Holland in the MXS, and Jack Knutson in the Extra 300S. This performance is filled with tons of aerobatic formation passes, solo maneuvers, squirrel cage maneuvers and the heart-stopping switchblade cross. You will not want to miss this act during our air shows on July 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th! FOUR TIMES THE 4CE!
XTreme is right!! Jack Knutson & Rob Holland return to Battle Creek in 2016 to perform their "Firebirds XTreme" duo act. This nationally and internationally renowned aerobatic team features two of the world's best aerobatic pilots. Having performed around the world, this two ship-act features precision formation flying along with breath-taking crosses andstunts that will thrill even the most seasoned air show goer. XTreme is just one way to explain it! Don't miss this Extra 300S/MXS two-ship act on July 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th
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 Paul Wood (from the Warbird Heritage Foundation), Dan Sullivan & Dave Mills 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!
The Award Winning Rob Holland will return to Battle Creek in 2015 for his fifth year in a row, now becoming a staple at the event. Rob Hollandis 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. Later on, in August of 2015, Rob will represent the United States once again at the World Aerobatic Championship. 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 on July 1st, 2nd 3rd & 4th!
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 1st, 2nd 3rd & 4th!
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 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th!
Famed air show stunt pilot Kyle Franklin returns to Battle Creek in 2016. You're used to seeing him in his WACO known as "Dracula" as he has performed in this aircraft for the past two Field of Flights. However, this year, he is bringing an entirely new and different beast to the event in an act that you will certainly enjoy.
The Super Cub known as "Franklinstein" will make its Battle Creek debut in 2016. For the most part, this is a stock PA-18A Super Cub (with an awesome Franklin-style paint scheme), but it has faced some minor modifications. The plane has served as an integral part of Franklin's Flying Circus over the years for not only training, but numerous acts and stunts. This also happens to be the first plane that Kyle Franklin ever soloed in.
Back to the act, with a talented and well-known pilot such as Kyle gets behind the controls, you know you are in for a treat. Kyle Franklin will portray Ben Whabnoski, an annoying drunk who wants his airplane ride that is promised to him! Much different from your typical flying farmer routine, this routine will get everyone on their feet and roaring with laughter. The effort and skill Kyle displays is amazing to say the least. Most pilots only put a wingtip on the ground during ground loops. Kyle Franklin does it for fun so often, that his Cub needs skid plates taped on the wingtips! This is truly a show "stealing" act! It takes impressive skill to fly a plain this badly!
Don't miss this one-of-a-kind, wild and crazy, wing-tip draggin' comedy act on July 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th
Matt Younkin will be returning to Battle Creek this year in the beautiful Beechraft 18 warbird. 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 think a World War II transport plane can't perform aerobatics...then think again!
About the Pilot: Matt Younkin
Matt Younkin is the son of airshow legend Bobby Younkin and grandson of Jim Younkin (a well-known plane designer and airplane replicator). Bobby had performed numerous times in Battle Creek. His last time was in 2003, when he performed in his Learjet 23 and Samson biplane. Bobby Younkin was known for creating innovative airshow acts, from aerobatics in the amazing and powerful Samson Biplane, to aerobatics in aircraft that weren't designed for them, like the Beech 18 and Learjet. Today, Matt Younkin keeps his father's legacy alive by continuing to fly his father's aerobatic performance in the Twin Beech 18.
Matt learned to fly at the Age of 14 and was taught by the same instructor that taught his father how to fly. Matt soloed on his 16th birthday in his grandfathers 1928 Travel Air 4000 biplane. Matt has accumulated over 3000 hours of total flying time in his career and has flown over 75 types of aircraft, from the Piper Cub all the way to World War II bombers. Matt loves flying radio-controlled model planes and actually learned most of his aerobatic skills while flying them. He later went on to perfect these maneuvers in the Decathlon with the help of his father. Matt currently resides in Siloam Springs, Arkansas with his wife Michelle and daughter Kimmy.
In 2012, Matt Younkin was awarded the Bill Barber Award for Showmanship at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. He is the first second-generation recipient of the award (his dad previously won the award in 2004). "Considered young in the airshow industry by some and a veteran by others, Matt continues to amaze airshow goers with his unique ability to capture the crowd in the moment, much the same way his father Bobby and sister Amanda did for so many years".
About the Plane: 1943 Beechcraft C-18S (Twin Beech 18) "Miss Ellie":
The Younkin Family Beech 18 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 Army Air Field. The aircraft was re-designated as the C-18S when the Army transferred ownership of the plane to the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA). The plane served with the CAA until 1949 and then went through several owners (from serving as a VIP transport for the Department of Commerce, to being flown by a University). The aircraft was finally purchased by Younkin Airshows, Inc. in 2000. After a complete restoration, it came into service as a replacement for Bobby's original aerobatic Beech 18. After Bobby's untimely death in July of 2005, the Beech 18 spent two years in retirement as a static display in Tullahoma, Tennessee. Matt then debuted his version of his late father's airshow routine in the Beech 18 in Lakeland, Florida at Sun-N-Fun 2007. The Beech 18 is the flagship of Matt's Airshow Fleet. He feels it is the most special of his aircraft because his father first gained national notoriety by performing in the Beech in 1990 and continued to perform aerobatics in Beech 18s for 15 years.
"Miss Ellie" is the mascot for Younkin Airshows and is the nose art/name of the Beech 18. The aircraft, with the exception of the paint scheme, is essentially the same as when it was sold from military surplus in 1945. This classifies the aircraft as a true warbird, hence the reason it features nose art. How did the name come about? Check out more information about the act to learn. Let's just say, the Beech 18 has been referred to as the "White Elephant" of the airshow industry. Jeff Gibbs is the crew chief for the Beech 18 and one of Matt's good friends.
About the Act:
Matt Younkin flies one of the airshow industries loudest and smokiest acts. Not only that, but he performs it in the Beech 18, the largest civilian aerobatic plane on the circuit. The act is considered to be the most unusual act on the airshow circuit today. The performance is almost a mirror image of the one his father flew for many years. The performance begins and ends to light-hearted music ("Pink Elephants" from Disney's Dumbo). Why? Well, it's an overly obese plane executing maneuvers that its designers and airshow patrons never thought it could. The show ends with the "Elephant Waltz" dirty pass, which is a spectacle to believe. "The majority of the performance flows with beauty and grace to equally beautiful music and a tribute to Bobby Younkin". This is a powerful plane doing something it wasn't designed to do, but that doesn't mean it can't be done.
Don't miss this SHOW-STOPPING performance at this year's Field of Flight Air Show.
We welcome Susan Dacy to the Field of Flight for the first time. She'll be roaring into our skies with a Golden Age Salute to Barnstorming performance in her Super Stearman known as "Big Red"
Susan Dacy is one of only a few females performing airshows in a biplane, and is the only woman flying exhibition in the Super Stearman. Wanting to fly all of her life, and working at her family's airport in Harvard, Illinois, Susan began working on her Stearman project. At the age of 16, she learned to fly in a Piper Cub. After graduating from Southern Illinois University, she pursued flying jobs throughout the country. She has amassed more than 28,000 hours of flight time in more than 60 different types of aircraft.
Finally, her Stearman was ready. "Big Red" started life as a World War II trainer for young naval aviatiors. Originally powered by a 220 horsepower engine, Big Red is now outfitted with a powerful Pratt & Whitney 450 horsepower, supercharged engine. This plane is designed for barnstormin', classic style aerobatics and is "at home" both right side up and upside down.
So don't miss your chance to step back in time as Susan Dacy puts her 450 horsepower, Super Stearman, 'Big Red', through its paces with a dazzling display of barrel rolls, slow rolls, Cuban eights, hammerhead turns, loops and much more, in a style reminiscent of the barnstorming era of flying.
Barnstorming will be recreated right here in Battle Creek: July 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th
Since the dawning of Jet Vehicles, everyone has been searching for "MORE POWER!". Paul Stender has built the answer. The ALL-NEW "TOP GUN" JET TRUCK is a jet truck that has the most powerful, single engine in the jet truck field today. This jet truck will make its air show debut in 2016 and may thrust itself right into the record books with speeds that may approach 400 miles per hour with its light aerodynamic design and its powerful, afterburning engine. It is also the BIGGEST jet truck ever built!
The "Top Gun" is based on a 2016 International Lonestar Semi, which builder and driver Paul Stender picked for its sleek, updated vintage design. The engine is a Pratt and Whitney F-100, directly out of a F-16 fighter jet, producing 29,000 pounds of thrust and 58,000 horsepower. This engine will be the most powerful ever incorporated into a jet truck for the airshow industry, Stender said.
Do not miss this AMAZING, loud and fast jet truck at this year's air show July 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th!
Back by popular demand will be Mr. Phil Dacy, "The Voice of the Field of Flight". This is the TENTH 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 on July 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th. He'll even announce our Spectacular Twilight Air Show on July 2nd.
Bob Seger said it best in his song "Night Moves", and the fun doesn't end when the sun begins to set...instead, it HEATS UP!
This year's event will take place on SATURDAY, JULY 2ND and feature some of the Best & Most unique twilight acts in the world today. Whether the sky is illuminated with fireworks, sparks & pyro, or lights, this year's Twilight Show will be one you won't forget. Let's not forget about the ground either as you will surely feel the heat from flames being shot out of a jet engine. You won't want to miss this year's Twilight Spectacular.
TWILIGHT AIR SHOW
While our Twilight Lineup is still being determined, it will feature teaser acts and performances by some of our AMAZING civilian air show performers. Stay tuned here for more information when it becomes available. The fun doesn't end with the Twilight Air Show. Make sure you stick around for our FIREWORKS DISPLAY that will also take place on July 2nd at 10:30 PM