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2005 Minter Field Air Museum "Warbirds in Action" Airshow
Shafter, California
May 14, 2005
Airshow Photo Report
Story and photos by: Victor Archer

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Minter Field is always an interesting place to go to. You never know exactly who or what might show up.

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Who:

This year was kind of a who's who of Reno with race pilots like Steve Hinton, Skip Holm, Tiger Bill Destefani, Dan Martin, Eddie Van Fossen, Al Goss, Bob Button and a few more. There was a couple crew members from the Bear team and even a race Merlin engine builder present as well.

What:

A few rare warbirds showed up. Mike Coutches flew in his very rare P-51H-5NA.

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Skip Holm brought the Hispano ME109 and Steve Hinton came up from the Planes of Fame in the P-38. Ellsworth Getchell was also there with his Bristol Centaurus powered Hawker Sea Fury Mk II.

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Unfortunately this year's show was not planned out as well as it was in years past. This year a part of the flight line was blocked by a few planes which took away one of the better viewing areas. The ropes were allover the place creating a maze around different sections of aircraft. In some places I wasn't sure which side of the rope I was on and toward the end of the day most of the ropes were on the ground anyway. It did make it difficult to photograph the planes on display.

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The Show started off with R.G. Smith in his bright yellow Stearman followed closely by the "Reno Champs" in formation. Al Goss in Warlock, Eddie Van Fossen in Miss TNT and Tiger Bill Destefani flying Strega. Tiger Bill did make one moderately fast pass in Strega. It's nice to see the Witch in the air again.

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Next was Eddie Andreini in his Super Stearman. If you have never seen him fly the Super Stearman you're missing out on a great aerobatic performance.

The Viper West F-16 Demo was scheduled after Eddie Andreini's aerobatics and unfortunately they were having technical problems and were over half an hour late.

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After a short demo by Viper West, Chuck Hall went up for the Heritage flight.

Next on the schedule were the trainers and other light aircraft including the Storch.

The 805th Navion Squadron managed to sneak in between the light aircraft and the heavy trainers.

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The Heavy trainers only put up a couple planes two BT-13. The program really started to fall apart from here. The T-28's were suppose to fly here but didn't make it.

Eddie Andreini went up for some aerobatics in his Yak-9. It was a pretty good performance but the Yak was popping and yakking quite a bit.

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Next was scheduled for the Helicopters but they didn't go up. They were running behind. When they were ready to go they had to stand down because two F-18's were suppose to fly by but they never showed up. I hate to say it but the military was responsible for most of the delays and no shows, not the Minter Field Museum. It was very unfortunate because most of the people complaining about the lack of action thought it was the lack of planning on behalf of the Museum.

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The T-28's decided to go up for a few passes after the long delay and the fighters went up after that. This, I have to say, was also a disappointment. Imagine this: Skip Holm shows up in a Hispano 109 and Steve Hinton is there with a P-38. Dogfight of the century right?

Nope... I would have paid $25 to watch an aerial display by the two. Skip made two passes on the field very far away and was never seen again. The P-38 flew in formation with Blyak and I heard someone say "man I'll have to clone the yak out of the picture."

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Ellsworth Getchell, Dan Martin and Al Goss flew in formation and made a few nice passes. Mike Coutches made a pass in his P-51H and then disappeared.

After the fighters came back some other aircraft left and half the crowd decided to leave.

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Somewhere around this time the announcer asked if any T-6 pilots wanted to go up but that didn't happen.

The Heavy Iron was next, a B-17, B-24, Howard C-45 and Chuck Wentworth in a TBM Avenger. For some reason the B-17 and B-24 did not fly until some time after the show.

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Some Jets went up. A Jet Provost, one L-29 and Bob Button in his American Sprit L-39.

The Show closed with four T-6's performing the missing man formation.

The best part of the day was going back to the Warlock hanger and getting buzzed by a bunch of Stearmans, a couple low passes by P-51's and some crazy guy in a yellow Grumman. I sat out on the runway marker for a bit and got buzzed by a few more interesting planes.

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Minter is a great little place to go and there are always a lot of warbirds to see. Not too many people, easy to get in and out of and surrounded by aviation history.

The show is held at the Minter Field Air Museum, 401 Vultee Ave. Shafter, CA 93263 (661) 393-0291. The site is approximately twelve miles north of Bakersfield, California.

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For further information, visit their website, located at: http://www.minterfieldairmuseum.com/

You might ask are you going back next year? There's airplanes flying… right?

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See you there.

Story and photography by: Victor Archer

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