September 4, 2017

Breckenridge Warbird Airshow May 2017

Mustang on takeoff
When the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce and Ezell Aviation announced the return of the Breckenridge Airshow for 2017 my dad and I were beyond excited. Known for its lineup of rare aircraft and their spirited flying displays the Breckenridge, Texas airshow was legendary to Warbird enthusiasts in the 1980s and 1990s. We attended the previous Breckenridge airshows twenty years ago and had such great memories of watching the historic aircraft fly. I knew that sharing the event with my son and my dad would make even more great memories.

The Corsair at the airport entrance
We drove the 100 mile trip west on the Friday before the show to see the early arrivals. The Ezell Aviation hangar was full of visiting airshow aircraft as well as current restoration projects. Right away we spotted several Corsairs, two Sea Furies, a Lightning, a Tigercat, a Bearcat and more. My son was wide eyed seeing so many warbirds all under one roof! It was fun to catch up with friends and walk around the aircraft in the hangar. To escape the hot afternoon sun we left the airport for our hotel in Eastland about thirty minutes south. The evening conversations had us guessing what might show up at the airport the next day.
Brennen with the Corsair in the hangar
After a quick breakfast at the hotel on Saturday morning my dad, son and I headed to the airport to see the action. The airport was alive with the sound of Warbirds! Like shows of the past, the general public was allowed to roam the ramp among the airplanes. Marshals directed the aircraft and the people for safe operations on the ramp. The sun was heating up fast so we found some shade under a C-47 to watch arriving aircraft. Two B-25s took to the skies as other warbirds arrived for the Sunday show. The day was one of the warmest days of the year with temperatures in the high 90s. In order have the energy to watch the full airshow on Sunday, we retreated to the hotel air conditioning for the afternoon. We did miss the practice airshow that afternoon but after dinner we visited the airport again to try and catch some flying. We were treated to an awesome display of four Corsairs flying over the airport in tribute to the late Howard Pardue. Pardue, along with his friends, hosted the airshow in years past. The big grin on my son’s face was evidence of the excitement that was building for next day’s airshow.

Corsair flyby
To help enjoy the show even more I made a “spotters book” for my son so he could check off the airplanes he saw at the show. The notebook had copies of Warbird airplane drawings pasted inside. Brennen pulled out his pen and started checking off the airplanes he recognized on the ramp. My dad and I were not surprised that he knew his Warbirds!

Brennen and PopPop with a Mustang
Cooler temperatures greeted us when we walked out of the hotel Sunday morning. The hot Texas sun was defused with the passing clouds. We wandered the ramp again looking over the variety of World War Two aircraft that included Mustangs, Corsairs, Trojans, Texans, a Lightning, a Tigercat, a Helldiver, an Avenger, a Wildcat, a Spitfire, and replica Japanese Zeros and Kate from the Tora, Tora, Tora airshow act. Along with the airplane watching we caught up with old friends and shared stories of recent aviation adventures.

On the airshow line 

Snack time!
The ramp was cleared right after lunch time and the pilots made their way to the aircraft to start the airshow. We found our spot on the North end of the show line so we could watch the action. The sky filled with the sights and sounds of vintage aircraft. The Tora, Tora, Tora Pearl Harbor reenactment, Warbird aerobatics, formation flybys and the finale featuring the Texas Flying Legends. Our boy was cautious in his excitement at first with all the pyrotechnics displayed as bombs but once he saw the correlation to the flying action he moved right up to the show line. A few passing rain showers did not deter us from staying for the entire show.

Helldiver flyby
Afterwards we visited with pilots and watched the other Warbirds take off for home. At these small town airshows I enjoy that we can get up close and personal with the pilots and the historic aircraft. As we drove home my son quickly fell asleep and Dad and I recounted our highlights from the weekend. We will return again next Memorial Day weekend to the Breckenridge airshow.

Visit my online photo album at this link… Flickr Photo Album

Back in 2014 I published a book of the event titled “Breckenridge Warbirds” that feature photos of airshows from years past. Follow this link to buy the book.

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