Page 14 - World AirshowJuly-Aug 2018
P. 14

JULIE VESSIGAULT: MY AIRSHOW WORLD




                 Airshow Support Barnstorming II




                            M      y second  Airshow  Support   little time to do that before it was time to depart for Greenwood,
                                   Barnstorming Roadtrip began
                                                               Mississippi. 
                                   on May 12. I departed home
                                                                 On my way to Greenwood to see the AeroShell Aerobatic
                                   base Kissimmee, Florida in my   Team and Hot Wire Harry perform, I visited Brooke Sorenson
                             Little White Barnstormer II. My first   of the Tiger Airshows Aerobatic Team who was spending some
                             stop was at the Seminole Lake Gli-  time with family in Pennsylvania. Then I faced another long leg
                             derport where a few dozen pilots had   of driving to Memphis, Tennessee. Skip Stewart and Cari Miller
                             flown in for a BBQ. My highlight was   arranged for me to clean their motorhome. I had a great visit with
                             hearing the arrival of a brand spanking   them and continued on to Greenwood.
                             new T-6 restored by the AeroShell Aer-  I arrived Friday afternoon, finally delivering the STIHL weed
                             obatic Team’s most recent retiree, Gene   eater Steve Gustafson had won at the Thunder in the Valley Air
                             McNeely. The gleaming white warbird,   Show silent auction. I had been carrying it with me for him since
                             Scratches, had only five hours on her   April. Steve let me clean a few dirty spots on his T-6, then Dan
        airframe and was a beautiful work of art!              Fordice  and  Eric  Hollingsworth  asked  me  to  clean  Dan’s  T-6.
           Since I was already heading northeast to Virginia Beach for   While I was doing that, Stephen Covington introduced himself
        the Warbirds Over The Beach Airshow, I took a detour at At-  and asked me to give his Raptor Pitts a full-fuselage-massage.
        lanta to the National Museum of the United States Air Force in   That Friday, my airshow family grew. It grew even more as I made
        Dayton, Ohio for the debut of the original Memphis Belle B-17   friends with Stefan Trischuk, the Immortal Red Baron and his
        static display. I was among the 11,000 people who had come on   sidekick, Ivanka. 
        that day to celebrate the historic bomber. Three other B-17s had   But even as my airshow family grew that day, a heavy loss was
        gathered also, Aluminum Overcast, the Movie Memphis Belle, and   felt all the way from Mountain Home, Idaho on Saturday, when
        Yankee Lady. The latter two provided rides out of Urbana over   news that Dan Buchanan was killed in an airshow mishap in-
        the museum. Five P-51 Mustangs participated as well. An unex-  volving his hang glider. I learned soon that Dan was Stefan and
        pected guest also showed up in the skies as the pilot of the Air   Ivanka’s ICAS partner. They helped each other share the expens-
        Force One 747 performed pattern work for at least three hours.   es of ICAS. To be there when they learned about the accident
           On my way to Virginia Beach, I stopped by Rock Skowbo’s   and see their reaction, left an impact on me. I was grateful we
        home to visit my foster kitten, Spitfire, who Rock had adopted   all had gathered for dinner to celebrate Marc St. Pierre’s birth-
        from me on my way to Oshkosh last year. Spitfire now runs with   day, plus talk about our memories and respect for Dan. Present
        Jane Wicker’s dogs, Pratt, Whitney, and Koda.          at the dinner were Mark Sorenson, Jeff Moss, Neal and Marilyn
           At the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach, the grass   Darnell, Marc Smith, Stefan, Ivanka, Stephen Covington and his
        runway was too soft for takeoffs and landings, so only a few small   crew. Jeff Moss and Marc Smith filled my gas tank and Chris Da-
        airplanes flew. Along with Theresa Eaman, America’s Sweethearts   vis, the ramp boss arranged a hotel room for me before I left. 
        and the Mark Michielsen Big Band compensated with great mu-  I arranged with Dan Fordice and Patty Mekus to clean his
        sical performances. Then Theresa did something epic! She coor-  airplanes at the Southern Heritage Air Foundation in Tallulah,
        dinated with Jerry Yagen for me to clean his P-51 Double Trouble   Louisiana. Dan asked me to clean the Cessna 182, T-6, and P-51.
        Too and his P-26 Peashooter. I felt like I had won the lottery!  John Mosely of AeroShell Aerobatic Team sponsor, John’s 360
           After the airshow, Jerry’s chief pilot, Mike Spalding arranged   Coatings, flew in a starter kit of their Metal X and Speedcoat for
        with me to clean his Twin Beech. I had a few days for such an ac-  me to use on Dan’s warbirds. 
        tivity, and in the spirit of Barnstorming, I needed to trade some   As I left Tallulah for Kissimmee, the Yak 110 team asked me
        elbow grease for gas money, so it was win-win! It was to be my   if I would like to clean their airplane at EAA AirVenture as part
        first Twin Beech, and I came to learn it would take me four days   of their promotional tour! I am extremely honored to accept this
        of double-shifts.                                      opportunity as I believe that the team has developed an airshow
           At American Airpower Museum in New York, Theresa Eaman   act that will make history, airshow after airshow in epic fashion!
        was there, hard at work with her sidekicks, Ricardo von Putt-  In addition to my role with the Yak 110 team at Oshkosh, I will
        kammer and Ferenc Poka. Ric Peterson skillfully collected foot-  also be working with Mark Sorenson on his two Yak-55s, Titus
        age for his social media HIGHlites video as he announced the   and Zeek. Zeek will be debuting in the night show at AirVenture
        aircraft activity in the vicinity of the museum. Rob Reider was at   decked out in LED light strips! 
        Jones Beach announcing the airshow to the sold-out crowd from   This is my update for May 12-July 4, 2018. May your wings be
        his vantage point. Among the Museum’s warbirds flown, Thom   strong and your flights fulfilling!
        Richard flew The Jacky C II P-40 and the museum’s newest acqui-
        sition, Jacqueline, the P-51D. The Grumman Avenger was flown   Julie has been volunteering or working at airshows for more than
        by Nick Ziroli and the AT-28D-5 Nomad was flown by Scott Cly-  a decade. She’s all about airshows.
        man. Before I left, Scott asked me to clean the Nomad. I had a




                                         WORLD AIRSHOW NEWS   14  July/August 2018
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