By Mike Heilman
How much would you pay for an air show that includes world-class aerobatics, skydivers, and aircraft displays? The seventh annual Kokomo Indiana Wings and Car show was held at the municipal airport on July 18. The annual event’s admission is free, but air show organizer’s, Mike and Pam Wilde, use the event to raise money for local charities through free will donations and food sales.
The Kokomo air show attracted some of the biggest names in the air show business and included big name solo acts, Rob Holland, Matt Chapman, and Bill Stein. The three pilots also closed the show with their formation act called the 4ce. The team includes Jack Knutson, but he was unable to attend the Kokomo show. The team flew their routine with three aircraft.
By Ed Downs
Another birthday, another reason to reflect. This writer and his twin brother have made it through another year with an evening spent with family, giving “the twins” a chance to reflect on careers in aviation that span 60 years. Yes, twins often have much in common and our choice of careers certainly points that out. While considerably beyond a traditional retirement age, this writer and his brother, Earl, continue to fly as active CFIs, work in the aviation industry, and deal heavily in subjects relating to flight safety, training, the promotion of recreational flying, and the future of general aviation through a direct interface with the FAA and government. As the evening’s musings of past adventures turned to reflecting upon “the good old days,” we realized that both of us were concluding that, “something has changed.”
Recreational flying is certainly not what it was 50 or 60 years ago. Expense has gone up dramatically, and the technological sophistication of GA airplanes, even old planes that have been retrofitted with modern avionics, is absolutely amazing. Having started flight training in the mid 1950s, we concluded that much has improved since we first flew in an Aeronca Champ with a wind driven generator and a two channel, low frequency radio. Mind you, that was considered to be a well-equipped trainer, being flown from busy Van Nuys Airport in Southern California. The training was rigorous, with maneuvers like 720 steep turns, spins, accelerated (and aggravated) stalls, and steep spiral descents all included in the CAA approved curriculum. No training flight was conducted without a simulated engine failure, frequently followed with a landing to a full stop. Of course, almost all private training done in this timeframe used planes like Champs, Cubs, T-crafts and other tail draggers, so both full stall and wheel landings were the order of the day.