The “Planes of Fame” annual airshow at Chino can surely be rated as one of America’s premiere warbird airshows. This is owned to the great collection of flyable warbirds of the “Planes of Fame” itself, and to the many interesting visitors that are attracted by this event. 2013 for example saw the outstanding happening of 5 Lockheed P-38 Lightning flying together in the air.
Where? Chino, California, USA
“Lightning strikes Chino” was the main theme of the “Planes of Fame” (PoF) airshow in 2013, and Steve Hinton raised the bar very high with the aim to bring all six airworthy P-38 Lightnings to Chino. The “fork-tailed devil” is getting a rare breed in the airshow world, however in the US they seem to encounter a better “living environment” than elsewhere. So seeing at least some of them meant travelling to Chino, California – and believe me, there are things for worse than California at the beginning of May… Though the days were quite chilly with a cold wind from the Pacific ocean and Sunday was cloudy with some slight rain, the showday on Saturday was splendid with lots of action in the air!
The flying displays of this outstanding show started with a mixed formation of delights of the “Planes of Fame” collection: bringing the F-86, P-51, P-40 and P-26 in close formation for the fly-by required all of the pilots skills, and it was such a great sight! Especially seeing the sole airworthy Boeing P-26A Peashooter performing was well worth the wait until the flying finally started.
In the end there were 6 P-38 Lightnings at Chino, one however was a static example and “23 Skidoo”, “Honey Bunny”, “Thoughts of Midnite”, “Tangerine” and “Glacier Girl” were those to perform in front of an amazed crowd.
Of course the P-38J “23 Skidoo” was a safe bet as it is with the “Planes of Fame” collection and also the P-38L “Honey Bunny” of the Vintage Fighters of Jack Croul is based at Chino. “Thoughts of Midnite” is another L-Version and was brought by the “Comanche Fighters” of Tom and Dan Freidkin from Texas to California. P-38L “Tangerine” of the Tillamook Air Museum from Oregon made it literally in the last minute after finishing an extensive restoration job and the P-38F “Glacier Girl” might be most famous of them all due to its history of recovering it from the ice after 50 years.
Apart from that the show was setup of different showpieces focusing on some historical event with the intervention of US aircraft.
The US naval aviation for example was represented by Sea Furys, a Dauntless, Corsairs, Bearcat, a Hellcat and two TBM Avengers. For the pre-war era the PoF-owned and very rare J2F “Flying Duck” as well as the “Flying Barrel” F3F flew during the week-end.
A Mitsubishi Zero did represent the “bad guys” in the Pacific scenario, and it has to be hoped that for the next event the “Judy” will be flying as well. In 2013 it was only taxiing by, but for sure it will be a great addition to the Japanese fleet of the PoF!
Chino is also one of the few places to see one of the FlugWerk-rebuild FW190 in the air. This one of course flew in the “European theatre” together with other USAAF warbirds. Unfortunately the “Butcher Bird” was a bit of range, while numerous P-51 Mustangs performed furious fly-bys to please the crowd.
And what else could be seen at the Planes of Fame airshow? The unique Northrop N9M “Flying Wing” was its own program item and is a sight to remember, a Catalina flying boat in splendid colours made its way to the show and even a very rare Privateer was in the air, even if only on departure on Sunday afternoon.
Thus if you have been to many shows at Duxford, La Ferté-Alais or elsewhere, you should surely give the “Planes of Fame” event a try as well!
To get more Information about the “Planes of Fame” future Events visit their website at planesoffame.org