Aerobatic and Air Show Performers
The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a single-seat, multi-mission fighter with the ability to switch from an air-to-ground to air-to-air role at the touch of a button. With its lightweight airframe and powerful engine generating 31,000 pounds of thrust, the F-16 can fly at speeds in excess of Mach 2.
The US Navy's Tac Demo Teams are made up of actual Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) instructors flying the same jets used to train new students. The primary mission of an FRS is to train newly designated aviators, as well as transition aircrew into the F/A-18A-F Hornet and Super Hornet. The Tactical Demonstration or “TACDEMO” is designed to highlight the mobility, versatility and power of the F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet for the citizens who look to the Navy for the defense of freedom.
The United States Navy Parachute Team, commonly known as the Leap Frogs, is the parachute demonstration team of the United States Navy. It consists of an all volunteer team of active-duty personnel drawn from Naval Special Warfare (NSW), including Navy SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) and support personnel. The team is sanctioned by the Department of Defense and recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration.
After performances, the Leap Frogs enjoy signing autographs and making themselves available to answer questions about what it's like to be a Navy SEAL or SWCC.
To Patty Wagstaff the sky represents adventure, freedom and challenge. A six-time member of the US Aerobatic Team, Patty has won the gold, silver and bronze medals in Olympic-level international aerobatic competition and is the first woman to win the title of US National Aerobatic champion and one of the few people to win it three times.
Patty one of the world’s top airshow pilots, flies thrilling, low-level aerobatic demonstrations before millions of people each year. Her breathtaking performances give airshow spectators a front-row seat view of the precision and complexity of modern, unlimited hard-core aerobatics. Her smooth aggressive style sets the standard for performers the world over.
The team is built around the T-28 Trojan aircraft for several reasons. The T-28 is a crowd pleasing large, fast and loud warbird with combat history and a growling 1425 HP radial engine. Six of these warbirds have a commanding presence on your ramp and generate excitement in the air. The aircraft have smoke systems and sport authentic U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy paint schemes and markings to compliment the patriotic theme.
The 16-member team consists of former military pilots, decorated veterans, instructors, airline pilots, and experienced civilian air show pilots with hundreds of years combined experience, unblemished safety records and all required credentials.
As the recipient of the 2013 Bill Barber Award for Showmanship and the 2015 Art Scholl Award, Skip Stewart has proven to be one of the most entertaining Airshow pilots in the world today. With over ten thousand hours of flying experience, being an Airline Transport Pilot, Boeing 727, and MD-11 Captain, a Certified Flight Instructor, having owned and operated an aerobatic flight school, earned Gold Medals in regional aerobatic competitions, served as Chief Pilot for a Fortune 100 company and with more than fourteen years entertaining airshow fans around the World, Skip feels comfortable saying that he is one of the very best in the business today. Skip's flying has been featured in magazines that include Plane & Pilot, Smithsonian Air & Space, AOPA, Sports Illustrated, World Airshow News, Auto Pilot, as well as in multiple other domestic and international publications.
Matt Younkin’s Beech 18 performance is likely the most unusual act on the airshow circuit today. The Beech 18 was never designed for aerobatic flight; however that doesn’t make it incapable of doing just that.
The performance is almost a mirror image of the one his father Bobby pioneered and flew for over 15 years. It begins with a roll on takeoff followed by a series of Cuban eights, point-rolls, and even a loop.
Bill Leff has had a passion for aviation ever since he was old enough to talk. Perhaps that passion was born in him or maybe it came from the energy emanating from his hometown, the birthplace of aviation, Dayton, Ohio.
Bill’s aviation career includes more than 30 years of corporate flying, several years as President of an internationally known corporate aircraft maintenance company, and flight instructor for Trans World Airlines. Today, he also does test flying for defense related research projects as well as initial and recurrent training in Aero Commander aircraft.
Bob Carlton began flying in 1979 at the age of 19. He has since logged over 2000 hours in a wide variety of aircraft and holds a commercial pilot certificate. Bob has flown hang gliders, airplanes, helicopters, and sailplanes from hundreds of sites in the US, Canada, Mexico and Australia. Bob has flown airshows professionally since 1993. He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife Laurie and their dog, Ginger. He is a member of SSA and ICAS.
Bob is one of the most versatile airshow performers in North America. He began flying airshows in his Salto sailplane, and over the years has continued to add innovative performances such as barnstormin' biplane aerobatics, helicopter sailplane tow, night aerobatics with strobes & pyro and the world's only twin jet sailplane. The tradition of innovation continues with the recent addition of the Super Salto jet sailplane, with more power, more speed and more aerobatic capability than any other sailplane on the planet!
Photo credit: Bill Pearson
By the time he was 13 years old, he had already taken off and landed a plane with his father and soloed at the age of 18. Randy volunteered to work in his first air show in 1982 and flew in his first airshow more than 25 years ago. He performs throughout North America, From Canada to Mexico. He has flown more than 1,000 performances, making him one of the most internationally recognized jet aerobatic pilots ever. In fact, Randy is the only pilot in all of North America- (Civilian, or Military) to hold an FAA Unlimited Aerobatic rating for both Day and Night, in Jet Fighters.
Gary Rower began flying at age 16 from an apple orchard in upstate New York. Since that time he has accumulated more than 18,000 hours of flying all over the world.
While a cadet at the United States Air Force Academy he became a soaring instructor and was Captain of the USAF Academy Soaring Team. Following graduation from the Academy, Gary attended USAF pilot training at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma from which he was a Distinguished Graduate.
His assignment out of pilot training was to what was then the Air Force’s newest fighter, the F-16 Fighting Falcon. These were the early days of the F-16 and Gary was the 136th USAF pilot worldwide to achieve 1000 hours in the aircraft. During that time he became an instructor and flight evaluator, participated in several Red Flags and was awarded Top Gun.
John learned to fly in 1984 when he was 17 at a little airport called Moraine Airpark. He acknowledges this as a defining time for him. "My first lesson was during Easter break in 1984. I had my pilot's license before I started my senior year of high school. Moraine Airpark also offered aerobatic training. My first aerobatic lesson was in a Super Decathlon before I had my private license. John is now retired from military service. During his twenty one years in the Active Duty Air Force and Florida Air National Guard all his assignments were flying F-15A & Cs. He amassed 3600 hours of Eagle time and earned the rank of Lt Col.
John currently flies TF-51s (P-51Ds) & L-39s with Stallion51 Corporation located in Kissimmee, FL. As well, John flies with Florida Air Tours giving scenic sorties around Cocoa Beach in Waco UPF-7s.