MILAVIA > Air Shows > Nellis Air Show: Aviation Nation 2009 Last updated: 20 June 2010

Air Show Report : Nellis Air Show: Aviation Nation 2009

Aviation Nation 2009, Nellis AFB Air Show 2009

Nellis Air Force Base opened its doors for its annual 'Aviation Nation' open house and airshow on November 13 and 14. The event also represents the homecoming of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team. Dave O'Brien delivers his report and photos from the show.

Aviation Nation 2009 - Nellis AFB Air Show

My first visit to Nellis AFB was for the 2005 Air Show and I couldn't wait to get back there. The scenery alone is breath taking compared to the bases I visit in New England. At first I was pretty upset the Air Force had sent the F-15E Strike Eagle and F-22A Raptor Demo teams to Dubai. Nellis pulled through with bringing in the Heritage F-4 Phantom II and the F-22 that flew in the Nellis Unit fly-by really put on a decent show even if it wasn't the full Raptor demo I had seen at Rhode Island earlier this year.

Because Aviation Nation is such a large show we had to park at the raceway across the street and get bused in. They really had this down so everyone moved as smoothly as possible considering the large crowds. The air show opened with the USAF Academy "Wings of Blue" Parachute team. They were followed by the Nellis AFB Flyby which were the F-22, F-15C, F-16 and an A-10 all from the USAFWC unit. The F-22 then preformed some fly bys and some nice climbs but not the full demo.

The next few groups of aircraft were from past wars, the B-25 Doolittle Raider's followed next by the P-51 Horsemen Demo team. Up next were a MiG-15, F-86, A-1 Skyraiders and a T-6 performing a Korean Reenactment. The Trainer Parade which consisted of T-33s, T-34s, T-28s and T-6s made multiple 2 ship fly bys. Bill Reesman in his Red Bull MiG-17 demo would race the Air Force Reserve Jet car after his demo. On Sat Bill won and Sunday the Jet Car was the winner. The Patriots L-39 Demo team took to the skies following the jet race with their black L-39 trainer jets.

The US Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet Demo team from NAS Lemoore ripped up the sky and then slowed his pace for the Legacy Flight with a F4F Wildcat. March AFB's C-17 Demo showed just how agile the large cargo plane can be. They moved this plane around like it was a fighter that amazed the crowd. A first for me was seeing the RNLAF F-16 demo, on Sunday we were treated with the smoke missles on the wingtips which was different from the USAF Viper demo teams.

Seeing that the two former A-10 units from New England have been moved thanks to BRAC, I was looking forward to seeing the A-10 West Coast demo team from Davis-Monthan. I was not let down by the great act he put on which started with a sharp dive from up high over our right shoulder. Nothing more distinct that the sound of the A-10 Warthog! The ACC Heritage Flight consisting of the F-4 Phantom, F-86 Sabre, A-10 and a P-38 Lightning which was another first for me. The show was closed with the home unit USAF Thunderbirds. They always put on a great show and seemed to give a little extra knowing it was the last air show of the season and they were in front of family.

Even though the temps were actually colder in Vegas than they were back home in NH, it was a great end to the Air Show season. It's going to be a long winter waiting for Rhode Island 2010 to arrive in June.

U.S. Air Force Academy 'Wings of Blue' Parachute team opened the Aviation Nation 2009 air show
Originally built as C-47A in 1944, U.S. Forest Service Basler BT-67 conversion returning after dropping the USAFA team.
Nellis AFB Unit Fly-by consisting of the F-15, F-16, A-10 and F-22
Although not the USAF F-22A Raptor Demo Team, the F-22A still flew a nice display.
F-22A Raptor fly-by with weapon bays open, notice the AIM-9 Sidewinders
F-15 Eagle belonging to the U.S. Air Force Weapons Centre
Nellis based F-16 returning from the Nellis AFB units fly-by
B-25 Mitchell bomber 'Heavenly Body'
B-25 Doolittle Raiders Reenactment
P-51D Mustang 'February'
P-51D Mustang 'February' on the move
The Horsemen P-51 Demonstration Team flew with just two out of the team's three Mustangs
Another shot of the Mustang duo, 'February' and 'Double Trouble Two'
A-1E Skyraider with South Vietnamese VNAF markings
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 'Fagot'
North American F-86 Sabre, the MiG Killer
Korean War reenactment: MiG-15 'Fagot' and F-86 Sabre together
Another shot of the classic F-86 Sabre fighter jet
Red Bull MiG-17 'Fresco' flown by Bill Reesman
Red Bull MiG-17 display
The MiG-17 raced the 'Smoke-N-Thunder' jet car, just visible here behind the
The Air Force Reserve's 'Smoke-N-Thunder' jet car
Great shot of the Red Bull MiG-17 with the Nellis AFB tower in the background
Bill Reesman waiving at the crowds from his MiG-17
Patriots Jet Demonstration Team with patriotic colored smoke
The private Patriots team flies four black Aero L-39 basic jet trainers
One of the Patriots team members catching a ride
U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet taking off to give its demo
U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet afterburner turn
U.S. Navy Legacy Flight consisting of the F/A-18F Super Hornet and a F4F Wildcat (represented by this Royal Navy FM-2 Martlet)
Nice top view of the U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet
The F/A-18F Super Hornet returning after its display
C-17A Globemaster III demonstration starting with a steep climb
The C-17A Globemaster III seen from a great angle
U.S. Air Force C-17A Globemaster III about to lower its gear
C-17A Globemaster III fly-by with gear down
C-17A Globemaster III on final
C-17A Globemaster III back on the Nellis runway
Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16BM afterburner take-off
Rather than bringing the colourful F-16AM, the RNLAF demo was flown with a Springfield based F-16BM
Mechanical problems with a Springfield F-16AM, meant this two-seat F-16BM flew the demo
RNLAF F-16BM pulling lots of G forces, fitted with 'Smokewinders'
Using the F-16BM, on Sunday the demo was flown with a passenger
Evident in this close-up, this F-16BM could do with a visit to the paintshop
Nice shot of the Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16BM on Nellis' taxiways
F-86 Sabre taking off again for the Heritage Flight
F-4 Phantom II
F-4 Phantom II climbing away
A-10 Thunderbolt II
A-10 Thunderbolt II showing its belly, notice the painted 'canopy' to confuse the enemy
Officially Thunderbolt II the A-10 is better known as Warthog
The straight wing design enables the A-10 to turn very tight at slow speeds
Dramatic shot of the A-10 Thunderbolt II turning
A-10 Thunderbolt II simulated a gun attack run
A-10 Thunderbolt II breaking off its attack run, the pyrotechnics having gone off
Great view of the A-10's top side for the modeller
U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight
U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight
Heritage Flight formation break
A-10 Thunderbolt II gear down, flaps down
McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II
Proper look at the P-38 Lightning design's layout
A-10 Thunderbolt II landing
Good rear view of the flaps and brakes on the A-10 Thunderbolt II
With most ex-USAF Phantoms being converted to QF-4 target drones, it's good to see this F-4 Phantom II returning to fly another day
A-10 Thunderbolt II demo pilot waiving. Notice the sparkly GAU-8 muzzle
A-10 Thunderbolt II
A favorite among the warbird enthusiasts, the P-38 Lightning
One final shot of the immaculate looking A-10 Thunderbolt II
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds ground show
Pair of U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds F-16s
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds formation fly-by
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds leader landing
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds number three landing
The USAF Thunderbirds having finished their Saturday demonstration, completing the 2009 display season.
One of the resident 64th aggressor squadron F-16 Fighting Falcons
Also in the static lineup, was one of the F-15 Eagles of the Nellis based 65th aggressor squadron (65 AGRS)
Armed with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, this MQ-1B Predator unmanned aerial vehicle comes from nearby Creech AFB.
T-38 Talon trainer from the 9th Reconnaissance Wing Beale AFB, which is the home of the USAF's U-2 spyplane operations
In addition to the F-22A Raptor, the CV-22B Osprey was one of the other brand new aircraft in the static.

Report and photos by Dave O'Brien ( view portfolio )