The Coyote Squadron, the Corsicana unit of the Commemorative Air Force, has hosted an air show each year for the past thirteen. But the 2011 air show was very different from previous air shows, and the 2012 air show will be equally different. Visitors need to know how and why these air shows have been, and will be, different. In the past, air show visitors were able to walk among aircraft parked on the ramp and visit with air crews all day long. Last year and this year, however, the Coyote Squadron obtained a waiver of FAA regulations for the air space over the Corsicana airport. Under the terms of the waiver, the ramp (the area where aircraft are parked) must be cleared and secured from 11:30 AM to 3 PM, and the airport must be closed to general aviation aircraft during that same period. Security personnel will move people off the ramp at 11:30 so, if visitors wish to examine the aircraft up close, they must do so before 11:30 AM. Gates open at 9:30.Active US involvement in World War II began with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on 7 December 1941.

(At this year’s air show, the Tora! group will give visitors a sense of what happened on that "date that will live in infamy." Their airplanes are T-6 Texans modified to look like Japanese WW II fighters and bombers. The planes were flown in several movies including “Pearl Harbor.”)The US had to respond to the attack on Pearl Harbor. So, on 18 April 1942, just four months after the Japanese attack, 16 B-25 bombers, led by Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle, launched from the deck of the aircraft carrier Hornet. Their target was Tokyo, and their purpose was to raise American morale and prove that the Japanese islands were vulnerable. The airplanes could not carry enough fuel to return to the aircraft carrier, and couldn’t land on it if they did, so they had to continue to the mainland (China or the Soviet Union) where they crash landed. Learn more about the Doolittle Raid at An interesting footnote is that an officer in the Pacific Theater realized that the B-25 had capabilities beyond bombing. The B-25 came from North American Aviation with four forward-firing .50 caliber machine guns, but he modified the airplanes to accommodate ten more forward-firing .50 caliber machine guns, and the modified airplane became known as "the B-25 Strafer." It sank ships and wreaked havoc on enemy airfields.

(A B-25 bomber, "Devil Dog," from Georgetown, Texas, will be featured at the Corsicana air show this year. Rides in “Devil Dog” will be available Friday and Saturday afternoon for $395. Call 512-869-1759 to reserve a seat, or inquire at the air show.)
In the meantime, the war in Europe was not going well. It became clear that German industry had to be suppressed, and bombing German factories was the way to do it. Enter the B-17! Boeing designed an airplane that could carry a huge bomb load, had great range, and bristled with machine guns. It looked like the ultimate weapons platform, and it was soon tagged the “Flying Fortress.”

(In 2011, the Coyote Squadron was proud to present "Texas Raiders," one of only thirteen B-17 Flying Fortresses still operational. It had just completed an eight-year long restoration. You had to hear this airplane to appreciate it! Sadly, “Texas Raiders” will be down for maintenance during May 2012. We’ll miss her.)

In spite of its armament, the B-17 had vulnerabilities, and the Luftwaffe soon discovered them. It could not defend itself very well from head-on attacks and, although it could fly at high altitudes, allied fighters were not very effective there. After suffering terrible losses over Europe, it became clear that the B-17s needed an effective fighter escort. Enter the P-51 Mustang!The P-51 was built by North American Aviation for the British as a reconnaissance aircraft and fighter-bomber, but its capabilities were soon recognized and it was refitted with a turbo-charged Rolls-Royce engine. In that configuration, it became a potent, high-altitude bomber escort and fighter. The Mustang preserved the B-17 fleet and air crews.

(Visitors to the 2012 Corsicana air show will be able to see a P-51, “Happy Jack’s Go Buggy.” The airplane is owned by Bruce Winter, an ophthalmologist in San Antonio, and it was restored by Mike VadeBonCoeur of Midwest Aero Restorations, Danville, Illinois. The original “Happy Jack’s Go Buggy” was flown in Europe by Jack Ilfrey, San Antonio, who passed away in 2004. Mr. Ilfrey flew a P-38 Lightning by the same name until he was issued his P-51. This airplane was so carefully restored that it won Grand Champion honors at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Airventure 2008. For further information on the detailed restoration of this amazing airplane, see the story of it, and other restoration projects by Midwest Aero, at Warbird Alley: Restoration Projects

The ground war in northern France began with the allied invasion on D-Day, 6 June 1944. Airborne units figured prominently in the invasion, and this year’s air show will feature the Blue Skies Parachute Team.Flight of the Phoenix Escadrille is a collection of T-6 Texans. They will demonstrate formation flying in these powerful trainers that have been, and are still, used to train fighter pilots. See if you can see any similarities between these airplanes and those flown in the Tora! group. If you get to the air show early, you’ll be able to examine these aircraft up close.Two flying clubs, Falcon Flight (flying Rvs) and Texas V-Tails (flying Beechcraft), will demonstrate formation flying. Have you ever marched in formation, such as in a marching band or in the military? If so, you know you have to "guide right." But formation flying requires you to guide right, and left, and to maintain the same altitude and airspeed as other aircraft in the formation. But what if the formation consists of aircraft with different engine sizes? Can aircraft with larger engines fly slow enough so aircraft with smaller engines can keep up? Come and see if those different-sized engines hamper formation flying.The Rvs flown by Falcon Flight are kit-built airplanes designed by Richard VanGrunsven, and they are fully aerobatic. Steve Richmond, of Corsicana, and Pat Tuckey will show visitors just how aerobatic the the RVs can be. In addition, Jan Collmer will be there with his Extra 300L, an airplane built in Germany in 1994. He and his Extra will do tricks for you. Trojan Phlyers, two T-28s, fill out the aerobatic program.There will be many other aircraft to see in the air and on the ground including–from the Vietnam era–a UH -1 "Huey" helicopter, a Soviet Mi-2 helicopter, a CH-47 Chinook, a Soviet MI-24 Hind helicopter, and a CJ-6 Chinese trainer. There will be many other trainers and aircraft used for observation and forward air control. Visitors will also see the Coyote Squadron’s own PT-19, a primary trainer like the aircraft flown for flight training at what is now the Corsicana airport, and its predecessor, a Stearman PT-17, a pre-war biplane. Rides can be purchased in the PT-19 and PT-17 for $150, but visitors are advised that these are open cockpit airplanes and photos look best if you are wearing a white silk scarf starched straight back. At noon, two radio-controlled aircraft clubs—Texas Heat Wave and the Corsicana Miniature Aircraft Club—will demonstrate their skills and their airplanes. Look for the flying lawnmower! Bringing to Corsican an air show such as this is expensive. The cost of aviation fuel has gone up along with the price of gasoline. The Coyote Squadron acknowledges, and is grateful to, its many sponsors including: