The County of San Bernardino
Planes of Fame 2008 Air Show May 17-18, 2008
Story and photos by Victor G. Archer
Photo coverage of the The Horsemen by Jeffrey Archer
on any image to enlarge
TThis year marked the 23rd air show at the famous Cal
Aero Field, Chino Ca. (CNO) The show recognized
aviation's role in the motion picture industry and the
flying display of historic aircraft that have been seen in
many famous films, including 30 Seconds over Tokyo,
Flying Tigers, The Flying Leathernecks, Pearl Harbor,
Midway, Tora Tora Tora, Baa Baa Blacksheep, Fighter
Squadron, Saving Private Ryan, The Hunters, The Bridges
at Toko Ri and many more. "Wings of the Silver Screen"
also featured Wing Walking, warbird formations,
aerobatics, an F-16 Viper demonstration and Heritage
Flight, additionally, the famous airpower flyover with over 20
The show started with a classic wing-walking performance
from Silver Wings, featuring pilot Hartley olstad, wing
walker Margi Stivers and their Stearman biplane. Stivers
thrilled the spectators with her unique poses, like the
upside down splits, standing splits, Victory pose,
back-layout off the wing rack, the n-strut "aerobesque"
and handstand on the top wing. Among her many
accomplishments it was interesting to note that Stivers
performed her 1,100th wing walk during the show.
NNext, a salute to the Doolittle Raiders attack on Tokyo. Two
North American B-25 Mitchells took to the air, the
Museums own B-25 Photo Fanny and the Aero Traders B-25
Pacific Princess made several mock bombing runs and
flew figure-eight patterns around the field. These
Aircraft have been in many movies and both the Pacific
Princess and Photo Fanny actually flew off the aircraft
carrier USS Constellation for the feature film, Pearl Harbor in
Aerobatics featuring Steve Hinton, flying Rod Lewis'
1945 Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat who put on a great demonstration,
which included loops, rolls and high-speed passes. Rob
Harrison, "The Tumbling Bear", was originally scheduled to
perform here but Harrison was involved in a crash at the
Modesto air show earlier in the airshow season. Harrison is recovering
from his injuries and hopes
to be up flying later this year.
A large group of aircraft representative of those that
fought in the Pacific Theater was next. The first two
aircraft to go up were the Douglas Dauntless, flown by
Ron Hackworth and the only known airworthy Grumman F3F "flying barrel" piloted by Rob Paterson. The F3F was the
Navy's last shipboard biplane fighter prior to WWII.
Some of the other aircraft that flew in this group
included a Lockheed P-38 Lightning flown by Steve
Hinton, North American P-51A flown by John Hinton, a
pair of Curtiss P-40 Warhawks piloted by Mark Moody and
Jim Thomas, a pair of Japanese built Mitsubishi Zeros
piloted by John Maloney and Jason Somes, Japanese Aichi
Val flown by Tom Nightingale, Grumman FM2 Wildcat and
F6F Hellcat piloted by Tom Camp and Ken Gottschall and a
Chance Vought F4U Corsair flown by Mark Foster.
The Japanese aircraft, a Val dive-bomber, escorted by
the two Zeros, made a run on the field. Then the Zeros
departed to fly top cover and got into a dogfight with
the two P-40s and P-38 also joining in on the air battle
was a rare P-51A. The Allied aircraft chased off the
Japanese Val and then made several low-level passes in
front of the crowd line.
During a short break from the flying, the California
Historical Group put on a military ground combat
demonstration which included a Sherman tank and many
other armored vehicles from both Allied and Axis powers.
The re-enactors wore uniforms representing U.S.,
British, German and Russian Soldiers all from World War
Back to the action in the sky, the next group of
aircraft represented the Korean Air War, with aircraft
such as the Stinson L-5 Sentinel, several North American
T-6 Texans and F-51 Mustangs and a pair of Chance Vought
F4U Corsairs. Also flying in this group were some of the
early jet aircraft, including a Lockheed T-33 Shooting
Star, North American F-86 abre and Russian Mig-15. Most
of the fighter aircraft made several low level passes,
while Steve Hinton at the controls of a North American
F-86 Sabre and Chris Fahey piloting the Mig-15 put on a
great tail-chase routine across the sky.
The next flying demonstration was breathtaking, The
Horsemen, Jim Beasley and Ed Shipley, performed a two
ship formation routine both flying P-51 Mustangs.
Shipley in Wee Willie flew right on Beasley's wing
flying Spam Can as they did a series of loops and rolls,
then they change to a stacked formation where Shipley
was underneath and a little behind Beasley as they once
again performed a loop and a roll, throughout the entire
routine they were never more than a few feet apart. (click
here for photo essay by Jeffrey Archer)
Bombers and little friends of the European Theater, next
up was a flying display of bombers and fighter escort
aircraft. The first two planes to go up were Museums own
B-25 Photo Fanny and a Boeing B-7G Flying Fortress
Fuddy Duddy. The two bombers made passes in tight
formation as they were followed by a pair of P-51D
Mustangs, Lady Alice flown by Ken Wagner and Kimberly
Kay piloted by Tony Banta. Joining this group was Eddie
Kurdziel flying his beautifully restored Fairey Firefly
AS-6, one of only three Fireflies in airworthy
condition. John Maloney went up in the Museums 1944
Griffin powered Spitfire Mk XIV along with Kevin
Eldridge in very rare 1942 Republic P-47G Thunderbolt,
joining this rare and unique group was Jeff Harris in a
Lockheed P-38 Lightning. The P-38 was originally bought
for a grand total $1,250 in 1946 from the giant aircraft
bone yard at Kingman, AZ.
Reno Unlimited Racers at Chino and a little bit of a
historic moment as Steven Hinton flew Bill Tiger
Destefanis highly modified P-51 Mustang racer Strega
along with Mark Watt in the Brian Sanders modified
Hawker Sea Fury Dreadnought powered by massive 4,360
cubic inch 28 cylinder engine. Steven Hinton, Steve
Hintons son is one of the youngest pilots to ever solo
in a Mustang and this was the first time Steven had
flown at an air show. Strega the Mustang Steven was
flying is one of the fastest racing Mustangs at the Reno
National Championship Air Races and with Tiger at the
controls has won the Unlimited Gold Race six times.
Bent wing birds take flight, a tribute to the TV series
Baa Baa Black Sheep. A flight of four F4U Corsairs made
several formation and single passes for air show fans.
The Museums own Corsair an F4U-1 was once owned by MGM
Studios and was flown in the TV series. Two of the
Corsairs were actually built by Goodyear and are FG-1D
models; these two aircraft have crossed paths many times
during their life. One owned by Rod Lewis is Bu. # 67070
and the other owned by Chuck Wentworth Bu. # 67087 were
together on the assembly line, after the war both saw
service in the El Salvadoran Air Force as FAS-202 and
FAS-211. Over sixty years after they were first built
they sat side by side on the ramp at Chino. The fourth
Corsair was a later model F4U-4 with a four bladed prop,
this aircraft was just recently brought back to the
States after spending the last ten years in France.
Brian Sanders' Sea Fury aerobatic routine, was a real
treat for the crowd. With smoke generators on the
wingtips, Sanders put his Sea Fury Argonaut through an
amazing performance filled full of high speed loops,
rolls and passes. It's more like watching a
military-style demonstration than just aerobatics.
Next was the mass airpower formation flightsomething
only seen at Chino's air show. Aircraft in this year's
group included two P-38s, four P-51s, two P-47s, two P-40s,
F6Fs, four B-25s, a Spitfire, two B-25s and a B-17. This
special formation usually has between 20 and 30 aircraft
flying at one time and is truly an amazing sight.
The Air Force F-16 Viper tactical demonstration team
took to the sky with high-speed maneuvers, including a
knife-edge pass, high G turns and mock ground attacks.
The F-16 viper designed to perform air-to-air and
air-to-ground missions at low altitude, day or night,
and in all weather. After the demonstration, a P-51
Mustang and P-38 Lightning, flown by Hinton, joined in
for the USAF Heritage Flight.
Several more aircraft, military vehicles and other
aviation-related items were on display for guests to see
close-up. There were also opportunities to experience
the thrill of flying in warbirds, such as the P-51
Mustang and P-40 Warhawk. Theres always great variety of
food and memorabilia available from vendors as well as
information booths from the Air Force, National Guard,
Sheriffs Department and more.
Planes of Fame was the first permanent air museum on the
West coast, and is a major center for restoring aircraft
to flying condition. Donations and admission fees
provide most of the operating funds for the museum which
is staffed by a group of dedicated volunteers. For more
information about the Air Museum Planes of Fame, call
909-597-3722 or visit
The Horsemen By Jeffrey Archer
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