Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibit (05:07)
In April 1997, the United States Air Force celebrated 50 years of operation with an air show at Nellis Base. It showed modern combat craft, planes flown in the World Wars, and the DH-4 Liberty Plane, used for the nation's first air mail deliveries.
Initial Exhibits (07:24)
After World War I, air forces used shows to encourage support for retaining an independent military arm. In the 1920s and 1930s, air shows gave aviators a chance to test their skills and planes. Before World War II, Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, and Joseph Stalin used aerial displays for political propaganda.
Post World War II Exhibits (02:33)
After World War II, air shows functioned as shopping markets for airliners; the first in Farnborough featured captured German craft. After the Cold War, Russians showed off their engineering with combat jets MiG-29, and Sukhoi SU-27 Flanker.
Exhibit Disasters (02:36)
Display pilots possessed honed skills; small miscalculations had fatal consequences. At the 1952 Farnborough air show, John Derry crashed his De Havilland DH-110 Jet prototype into the stands, killing the crew and 200 spectators. At the 1984 event, the De Havilland Canada Buffalo smashed into the ground, but its crew survived.
Aerobatics: Beginnings and Basics (03:51)
Planes such as the Pitts Special series and the Zlin 50 were specifically designed for tricks and display. During WWI, pulling off stunts was required for survival; standard maneuvers included the Loop, Bunt, Stall, Roll, and Spin. Aerobatics was a competitive sport in the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics.
Aerobatics: Modern Exhibits (03:27)
The Biennial World Aerobatics Championships is the current arena for competitive display pilots. Aviators perform with specified perimeters, and incur penalties for flying outside them; they fly fourteen compulsory figures, a freestyle program, and twelve maneuvers chosen by the International Aerobatics Association.
Aerobatics: Team Exhibits (11:02)
Formation flying developed during World War I; air to air radios advanced the technique. Air forces created display fleets such as the Thunderbirds, Blue Angels, and Red Arrows. At the 1988 NATO Air Show in Germany, the Italian Frecce Tricolori team crashed, killing the crew and 30 spectators.
National Exhibits: England (03:37)
The Historic Flight is popular in Britain; the Avro Lancaster Bomber, Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire symbolize the Royal Air Force's role in World War II. The nation's collection includes various civil and military crafts; the Bleriot XI is the oldest functioning plane displayed.
National Exhibits: United States (03:09)
The Confederate Air Force performs at air shows across America; it has a huge collection of World War II craft. The group recreates Korean War battles with a MiG-15 and North American F-86 Sabre, and reenacts the Pearl Harbor attack.
Aviation Archaeologists (07:11)
In 1996, a Chinese farmer found a B-24 Liberator; its MIA crew members were identified and given a proper burial. In Loch Ness the wreckage of a Vickers Wellington Bomber was recovered in good condition. Replicas of the Wright Brothers’ Flyer and other legendary craft recall historic moments in aviation history.
Credits: The Spectacle of Flying Post-1945 (00:42)
Credits: The Spectacle of Flying Post-1945
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