IT'S AIR SHOW TIME!! We'll have FOUR DAYS of Air Show Action during the Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show & Balloon Festival. We'll kick off our Air Show portion on Thursday, July 2nd with our TEASER AIR SHOW which will feature Heritage Flights, Skywriting and more! Of course, this is just a taste of what the weekend will bring.
July 3rd, 4th & 5th we'll present THREE MORE DAYS OF AMAZING AIR SHOW ACTION! For up to 5 hours, we'll provide some of the most thrilling and fun acts on the air show circuit today. And don't forget about our Magical TWILIGHT & NIGHT AIR SHOW on the evening of Friday, July 3rd. This will be the third largest Twilight & Night Air Show in the Nation (behind the Aviation Mecca's that are Sun N Fun and Oshkosh).
2020 Air Show Lineup:
- UNITED STATES AIR FORCE THUNDERBIRDS Demonstration Squadron
- United States Air Force Heritage Flight featuring the F-22 Raptor (Warbird TBD)
- Nation's Third Largest Twilight & Night Air Show
- AFTERSHOCK Jet Truck
- Award Winning Rob Holland in the MXS
- Bill Stein in the Zivko Edge 540
- Bob Carlton "Vertigo Airshows" in the Jet Super Salto Sailplane
- Kyle Franklin Super Cub Comedy Act
- LD Airshows featuring L.D. Jeffries in the BD-5 Microjet "Lil' Devil"
- Misty Blues All-Woman Skydiving Team
- Patty Wagstaff
- Redline Airshows in their Vans RV-8s
- Nathan Hammond "GhostWriter Air Shows"
- Nathan Hammond "GhostWriter Skywriting"
- Patrick McAlee in the Pitts S1SS "Blue Demon"
- Phil Dacy: Air Show Announcer
There is a chance of Thunder at this year's Field of Flight Airshow & Balloon Festival. The world famous U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Jet Demonstration Squadron return to Battle Creek.
The Thunderbirds will showcase the pride and precision of today’s U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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. That's MULTIPLE TIMES THE THUNDER!!
Back by popular demand, our SUPER SIZED Night Air Show will return in 2020. On the evening of July 3rd, we will present an “Evening of Magic”. As the sun begins to set and Twilight takes over the airport, some of the best performers in North America will take to the skies. With the sun setting and offering different views of the acts, it is truly a unique experience. As it gets darker, aircraft will take to the skies with special lights on their aircraft. But we won’t stop there! After the sun sets, the action heats up again. Bob Seger said it best in his song, “Night Moves”, and now we will present a Spectacular Night Air Show featuring Aircraft with Lights, Pyro and MORE. Flying fireworks displays at their finest. If you have never experienced a Night Air Show before, July 5th is the time to!
TWILIGHT AIR SHOW
The Twilight Air Show will feature some of the best civilian acts in the air show industry. Watch as formation acts and aerobatic solos take to the skies to perform against the setting sun. List of acts TBA soon!
NIGHT AIR SHOW
The 2020 Night Air Show will feature the best-of-the-best in Night Aerial Entertainment. Hold on to your hats, this year's Night Air Show will even surprise those who have seen our Night Air Show in the past!
Nathan Hammond GhostWriter Night Show
You may have seen a Night Air Show before...but have you ever seen a Nathan Hammond Night Show? He loads his Super Chipmunk known as "GhostWriter" up with LED lights and 200 pounds of pyro and fills the air with tons of sparks, fireworks and more, all while performing graceful aerobatic maneuvers. Seriously, this is basically an entire fireworks display...except it is launched from an aircraft in the sky instead of from the ground! Don't miss this amazing performance, which has never been seen before in the State of Michigan.
Redline Airshows Night Fireworks Show
Returning after a successful appearance at our 2018 Night Air Show, Redline Airshows will be performing their Night Fireworks Show. Watch as the RV-8s dance through the sky in both formation and solo maneuvers, with lights illuminating the aircraft and sparks trailing behind. It doesn't end there, because it heats up when they start launching air-launched pyrotechnical fireworks as well! If you saw it in 2018, then you'll want to see it again. If you missed it in 2018, then don't miss the opportunity to see it this year!
Misty Blues All-Woman Skydiving Team Night Jump
Have you ever seen a Skydiving Show at Night? Well, then this will pique your interest. Jumping with pyro attached to their feet, the Misty Blues will leave trails of sparks and fireworks in the sky as they descend to Earth underneath their colorful canopies.
Bob Carlton "Fire & Lights" Jet Super Salto Sailplane
Since 1903, airplanes and fire have been mortal enemies. Bob Carlton coaxes them into a snarling truce with the spectacular Fire & Lights night pyro show. With sparks, smoke, fireballs and bomb bursts, Fire & Lights sets the night sky ablaze with color and action. Don't be fooled by so-called twilight shows. This is a true, hard-dark night aerobatic performance, not just a day show sneaking in at sunset.
Bob's night aerobatic performance features high performance aerobatics with stunning pyrotechnic effects by Ultratech, the same pyro used on stage by superstars such as KISS, Aerosmith and Reba McEntire. It is also flown in the one-of-a-kind Jet Sailplane!
AFTERSHOCK JET FIRE TRUCK
Seeing this machine run during the day is absolutely amazing! Once you see it at night, your breath will be taken away. Shooting enormous flames, this powerful Jet Fire Truck will illuminate the airport grounds before making an amazing power run down the runway. Smoke, Lights & Noise...you haven't seen, or heard, anything like this yet!
Talk about POWER!! Make sure you check out the AFTERSHOCK Jet Fire Truck when it makes its debut in Battle Creek this year! This 1940 Ford Fire Truck boasts TWIN Rolls-Royce Bristol Viper Jet Engines totaling over 24,000 horsepower and holds the Guinness Book of World Records Speed Record for Fire Trucks at an amazing 407 miles per hour! Check it out this year as it makes a power run down the runway and even races a plane. Think its cool during the day? Check it out as night falls...
The Award Winning Rob Holland will return to Battle Creek in 2020. Rob Holland is one of the most famous and popular aerobatic pilots on Earth. He is one of the most anticipated acts each year!
Rob has won the Gold Medal in the 4-minute freestyle numerous times at the World Aerobatic Championship. 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. In 2015, Rob represented the U.S. once again at the World Aerobatic Championship. In 2016, Rob did something COMPLETELY UNPRECEDENTED at the U.S. National Aerobatic Championship. Rob won his 6th Consecutive U.S. National Aerobatic Title and his 7th Consecutive 4-Minute Freestyle Title. 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 just can't be explained. Don't miss his adrenaline pumping, gyroscopic show at this year's Field of Flight!
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 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 numerous colors at 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 during our air shows.
Beauty has become the Beast! Bob Carlton returns to Battle Creek and will take to the skies in a plane that was meant to be powerless, but has become very powerful. We, of course, are talking about Vertigo Airshows' Jet Super Salto Sailplane.
Bob Carlton is an experienced, professional, and versatile pilot. He began flying at the age of 19 in 1979. Since then, he has logged over 2000 hours in a wide variety of aircraft, including hang gliders and helicopters. Bob began performing airshows in 1993 and has since flown numerous different acts all over the world. Bob Carlton was the creator of some of the most innovative acts of the Late 90s and early 2000s, leading right up to the Jet Super Salto. Other innovative acts include the Starduster Biplane aerobatics, the World's FIRST Helicopter-Sailplane Tow, night aerobatics with strobes and pyro and the world's first and only twin jet sailplane.
Bob will be performing an amazing demonstration in his Jet Super Salto Sailplane, the world's most powerful self-launching jet sailplane. The aircraft is powered by a PBS TJ-100 jet engine (military-grade with 225 pounds of thrust). The aircraft is capable of self-launching and climbs to altitude without a tow-plane. From there, Bob will spool down the engine and perform graceful sailplane aerobatics in an aerial ballet. As he spends his altitude and air speed up, he will kick the engine back on and perform a low-level jet aerobatic display filled with smoke, power and noise! No other sailplane or pilot in the world today is capable of performing such an act.
Don't miss his "Fire & Lights" performance at night either. That will surely be one of the most amazing things you have ever seen!
Famed air show stunt pilot Kyle Franklin returns to Battle Creek this year.
The Super Cub known as "Franklinstein" is the centerpiece of Kyle's act. 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!
Website: Franklin Air Show Acts Website
Making his Battle Creek debut in 2020 will be L.D. Jeffries in the “Lil’ Devil” BD-5 Microjet.. “The World’s Smallest Jet” will perform an amazing routine in Battle Creek this summer. Battle Creek native (and WMU Aviation Graduate) Bill “Burner” Beardsley flew the Bud Light Microjet, another BD-5, at numerous air shows across the continent in the 80s and 90s). The Microjet acts seemingly disappeared following his retirement. Now, they are back and we offer some nostalgia as another Microjet, like the one Burner flew here for many years, returns to the Battle Creek skies. L.D. Jeffries is the primary pilot of the FLS Microjet "Lil Devil." He is a retired USAF Pararescueman and currently is a Captain at United Airlines flying the 757 and 767.
There are approximately 35,000 active skydivers in North America, and only 15% are women! The Misty Blues are 100% women. The ladies on the team come from all across the U.S. to demonstrate their amazing skydiving skills and act as role models to inspire the younger generations. Since the early 1980s, The Misty Blues All Woman Skydiving Team has been thrilling audiences at air shows, corporate events and other special occasions around the world. These exceptionally talented and brave ladies delight in displaying their parachuting talents that make them some of the most skilled skydivers in the world. They do things in the air that make people look up into the sky and feel excitement, patriotism, and the thrill of a shocking visual treat!
Not only will The Misty Blues open up our show with a massive American Flag, they'll also perform a skydiving routine that no one will ever forget. Complete with canopy relative work and huge banners, this is a fun show that will delight air show fans young & old. And you definitely want to make sure you don't miss their Night Performance during our Night Air Show.
Check out their website
Nathan Hammond will be returning to Battle Creek in the Super Chipmunk known as "GhostWriter". Why is it named GhostWriter? Good thing you asked, we have the answer below.
The GhostWriter may look familiar to many who have attended the Battle Creek Field of Flight in the past. GhostWriter actually established a career in the Air Show and Skywriting Industry as the Pepsi SkyDancer, then eventually the Oregon Aero SkyDancer. After Steve Oliver's retirement in 2015, Nathan K. Hammond took the controls and has been captivating audiences with the smooth lines and raw horsepower of the unparalleled Super Chipmunk ever since. Nathan Hammond's Day Show is Action Packed and full of Smoke and Noise! The larger size of GhostWriter fills the sky, and with a tightly choreographed ballet of Loops, Rolls, and Verticals, keeps the excitement air show center! But this amazing Day Show act isn't the only thing he'll be doing. He'll also be doing some Skywriting.
And then, of course, there is the magical Night Air Show!
Check out their website
Get ready to see some incredible things in the skies over Battle Creek.
Nathan Hammond will take the GhostWriter Super Chipmunk and write some magic in the sky. Two miles high, and ten miles wide! This skywriting can be seen for 20 miles in every direction. It isn't sorcery, but it certainly is magic! Gaze skywards and see a truly amazing sight!
Check out their website
Hold on to your hats! Patrick McAlee is returning to Battle Creek. The name of his company is "Extreme Flight" and you will find out why within seconds of him taking to the sky.
While Patrick may be newer to the world of aerobatics, he is extremely experienced in aviation. He grew up in an aviation family and was exposed to flying at the age of 5 and aerobatics at the age of 7. He worked so hard wanting to become a pilot that he started saving for his first plane at the age of 12 and took on two aviation jobs at the age of 16 and was mentored in the aerobatics and air show world by legends such as Sean D. Tucker, Skip Stewart, Debbie Rihn-Harvey, Billy Werth (one of our performers this year) and Greg Koontz. It was only natural, at this point, for Patrick to break into the air show industry. And that he did. Since beginning to fly aerobatics 7 years ago and beginning to perform in airshows 4 years ago, Patrick has becoming a rising star and has traveled all over the U.S.
Patrick flies an amazing "to the max!" performance in the "Blue Demon", a highly modified Pitts S1SS biplane. He executes maneuvers to a choreographed music playlist; all while practicing precision, professionalism and safety. During his 15 minute routine, Patrick will experience G-Forces in excess of 8.5 positive G's over 65 times. Now THAT is what we call EXTREME!
Patrick would like to invite you all out to the show and encourage everyone, young and old, to follow their dreams. His mantra is simple: "HOLDING ON TIGHT! HOLDING ONTO THE CONTROLS AND GO FOR IT"
Don't miss Patrick McAlee's amazing performance in the "Blue Demon" Pitts S1SS.
Patty Wagstaff will be performing in Battle Creek this year. Patty has won numerous awards and is one of the most sought-after air show performers. Not only is she a superstar in the air show realm, but Patty is also Three Time National Aerobatic Champion, Received the Gold, Silver & Bronze Medal during International Aerobatic Competition and is a member of the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Patty has flown all different types of aircraft, but also is an instructor as well as an aerial firefighter. Patty's performance is action-packed from start to finish! Once you've seen her show, which is filled with numerous aerobatic maneuvers she created herself, you'll be left in awe. Her experience is showcased throughout her entire performance, showing the most excellent in aerobatic skill and showmanship. Her act is truly one of a kind that can only be performed by her in her Extra 300.
Redline Airshows will be returning to Battle Creek in 2020. Hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, Redline is a dynamic 2-ship formation aerobatic performance team that flies an exciting formation show that thrills the crowd with displays of skill, nerve and showmanship. The team consists of pilots Ken Rieder, an aerobatic and multi-engine flight instructor and Shaun "Buzz" Roessner, former F/A-18 Demo Pilot and "Ace Maker" T-33 East Coast Demo Pilot. They fly two Van's RV-8s, a 2-seat tandem aircraft that is extremely versatile, can reach speeds of 230 miles per hour and land short at a slow speed. The RV-8s that Redline flies have 200 horsepower engines and are equipped with Hartzell Advanced Structural Composite propellers.
You also will want to make sure you see their AMAZING Night Air Show featuring pyrotechnics. That is some real night magic!
Check out their website
Back by popular demand will be Mr. Phil Dacy, "The Voice of the Field of Flight Air Show". This is the 13th Field of Flight that this award winning announcer will be announcing (and he'll be announcing both shows!). 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 and he'll even announce our Twilight & Night Air Shows!