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Madera Airshow, California

 
 

  "Eldorado of Warbirds"

 
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Text:

Andreas Herzog

Pictures:

Michael E. Fader

Google Maps Position
 

The small airfield of Madera Municipal Airport, California is located 25 miles northeast of the city of Fresno. With its "Warbird Airshow" it is the American counterpart to the La Ferte-Alais Airshow in France.
Thanks to a notice of our chief photographer, Guido E. Bühlmann, I visited in August 1987, during my trip to America, the small airfield. Besides the interesting Madera Airshow it is a paradise for lovers of Warbirds.

Early morning

  After a short drive from my B&B at Fresno and an incoming cards study of the airfield it showed the great weakness of this small airfield. The orientation of the runways for the show program was fully in the backlight! For this reason I had put myself a little battle plan together!  In the morning, in backlit conditions, I visited the exhibition and his aircraft on the tarmac. The afternoon then I spend on the south side of the airfield. I saw the airshow slightly from behind, but had ideal lighting conditions around the aircrafts to be able to capture them with my camera. 

Eine Voght F4U-1D Corsair am frühen Morgen aufgenommen.

Vultee BT-13 Valiant (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Hawker FB. Mk.11 Sea Fury in den Farben der RAN

North American P-51 Mustang

  From Guido, I knew that it pays to be at an airshow early in the morning. Around five clock in the morning I set off with my car driving on the empty streets of Fresno on my way toward Madera. Arrived at the airport there was neither entrance nor security checks. So I was able to take some great shoots at sunrise this day. Slowly, the grounds filled with visitors and it was about time to photograph the rest of the aircraft on the static display under the California sun.

Hawker FB.11 Sea Fury (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

North American T-6 Texan (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Grumman HU-16B Albatross (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

North American B-25 Mitchell (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Douglas A-26 Invader (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Curtiss P--40N Kittyhawk (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Curtis P-40C Tomahawk (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Bell AH-1F Cobra (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

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Mustang

For a European, who visits an airshow in Europe, there are normally no more than two P-51 Mustangs to see. At Madera there where around ten P-51 Mustangs present and most of them could be watched during the flying display.

A Twin-Seater Mustang N601R in the colous of the Nevada Air National Guard. (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

A Thunderbird look-a-like (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

 
North American P-51D Mustang (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) North American P-51D Mustang (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) North American P-51D Mustang (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) North American P-51D Mustang (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)  
 
North American P-51D Mustang (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Yes it is a Mustang - but a racer with e new low canopy. (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) North American P-51D Mustang (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)  
North American P-51D Mustang (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) North American P-51D Mustang (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) North American P-51D Mustang (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) North American P-51D Mustang (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)
North American P-51D Mustang (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) North American P-51D Mustang (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) North American P-51D Mustang (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) North American P-51D Mustang (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)
   
North American P-51D Mustang (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) North American P-51D Mustang (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)    
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Texan and Harvard

  A rather illustrious guest I could make out at one of the stands at the airfield. Mr. Gregory "Pappy" Boyington presented his book of the VMF-214 Black Sheep squadron, which he had commanded in World War II.
He was a short, thin elderly man with open eyes, which was somewhat taciturn. This was not surprising, since the visitors always taught about the same questions to him. "Pappy" had nothing heroic about himself, but his actions in the War spoke a different language. If you saw him you could understand that Hollywood had a different idea about a hero and so it was not surprising, that his life story was filmed with John Wayne in the title role. John Wayne the megalithic does not actually fit into the cockpit of an F4U Corsair, was he the sheer opposite of "Pappy" I had the pleasure to meet in Madera.

In addition to the Mustangs, the North American Texan was seen in masses. Two of the Texan aircrafts attending were converted to Japanese Zero fighters, used in the making for the movie (Tora Tora Tora).

North American T-6 Texan (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) North American SNJ-4C with a Tailhook (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

North American T-6 Texan (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

North American T-6 Texan (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

North American T-6 Texan (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

North American T-6 Texan (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

North American T-6 Texan (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

North American T-6 Texan (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

North American T-6 Harvard (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

North American T-6 Harvard(Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

North American SNJ-5 with a Tailhook (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

North American T-6 Texan (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

North American SNJ-5 Harvard with a Tailhook in the colours and markins af the Fleet Air Arm (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

North American T-6 Harvard(Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

North American T-6 rebuild as a Nakajima Zeke for the movie Tora Tora Tora (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

North American T-6 rebuild as a Nakajima Zeke for the movie Tora Tora Tora (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

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Warbirds

 

At the afternoon I walked to the other side of the airfield to get a better view for the airshow. As I passed the main entrance there was a huge avalanche of peoples and cars try to enter the field for the airshow. Everyone tried to get in, except myself; I tried to get out in irritation to the ushers and policeman at the main gate. 

To get to the other side I had to take a small road, which I quickly found. After a few hundred yards, close to the runway, my driving ends. A sheriff had put his car across the street and told me that I could not carry on this road. My demand gave, however, that one could walk further. So I parked my car at the side of the road and headed to the other side of the airfield. The sheriff asked me again if I really wanted to walk? I said yes and disbelief him while I was going my way. 

The other side of the airfield was really ideal. The sun behind me, the planes flying low and nowhere an obstacle in the way.

Boeing Kaydet Stearman  (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Boeing Kaydet Stearman  (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Boeing Kaydet Stearman  (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Boeing Kaydet Stearman  (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Boeing Kaydet Stearman  (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Boeing Kaydet Stearman  (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Boeing Kaydet Stearman  (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Vultee BT-13 Valiant (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Vultee BT-13 Valiant (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Vultee BT-13 Valiant (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)   Beech C-45 Expeditor (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)
Beech C-45 Expeditor (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Curtiss P--40N Kittyhawk (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Curtiss P--40N Kittyhawk (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Curtiss P--40N Kittyhawk (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)
Curtiss P--40N Kittyhawk (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Curtis P-40C Tomahawk (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Curtis P-40C Tomahawk (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Curtis P-40C Tomahawk (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)
Lockheed P-38 Lightning (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Lockheed P-38 Lightning (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Lockheed P-38 Lightning (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Lockheed P-38 Lightning (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)
Lockheed P-38 Lightning (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Lockheed P-38 Lightning (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Fairchild C-123K Provider (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Fairchild C-123K Provider (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Stinson L-5 Sentinel  (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Piper L-4 Cub (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Piper L-4 Cub (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Piper L-4 Cub (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)
Cessna O-1 Bird Dog (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Cessna O-1 Bird Dog (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Cessna O-1 Bird Dog (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Cessna O-1 Bird Dog (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Hawker Sea Fury

 

The Warbirds flew one by one every minute. A North American Texan and Stearman even flew in formation, compared with other aircraft that mostly showed a single performance.

Two Hawker Sea Fury was seen in Madera, after all, not modified for racing machines.

Hawker FB.11 Sea Fury (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Hawker FB.11 Sea Fury (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Hawker FB.11 Sea Fury (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Hawker FB.11 Sea Fury (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)
   
Hawker FB.11 Sea Fury (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Hawker FB.11 Sea Fury (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)    
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The US Navy

Two Vought F4U-1D Corsair, two Grumman TBM-3 Avenger, a Grumman UF-1 Albatross and a General Motors FM-2 Wildcat made the Navy part of the Air Show.

General Motors FM-2 Wildcat in the Markimg of an Escort Air Group (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Vought F4U-1D Corsair (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Vought F4U-1D Corsair (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Vought F4U-1D Corsair (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Vought F4U-1D Corsair (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Vought F4U-1D Corsair (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Grumman HU-16B Albatross (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Grumman HU-16B Albatross (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Grumman TBM-3 Avenger (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Grumman TBM-3 Avenger (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Grumman TBM-3 Avenger (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Grumman TBM-3E Avenger (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

 
Grumman TBM-3E Avenger (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Grumman TBM-3E Avenger (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Grumman TBM-3E Avenger (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)  
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Mentor

The T-34 Mentor, a former training aircraft for the U.S. Air Force and Navy could be several times admired on this sunny day.

Beech T-34B Mentor (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Beech T-34B Mentor (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Beech T-34B Mentor (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Beech T-34B Mentor (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Beech T-34B Mentor (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Beech T-34B Mentor (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Beech T-34B Mentor (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Beech T-34B Mentor (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Beech T-34B Mentor (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Beech T-34B Mentor (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Beech T-34B Mentor (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Beech T-34B Mentor (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

 

Beech T-34C Mentor (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Beech T-34C Mentor (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

 
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The French Way

I was surprised to see some French aircrafts, I had not expected this. So flew a beautifully restored Max Holste Broussard, a Morane Saulnier MS500 Criquet and a North 1000 in front of the audience. However, the pre-led Fouga Magister brought the "speaker" in a rather embarrassing situation because he had no clue what kind of aircraft was in the air. His dry comment: "Unknown Jet!"

Max Hoste Broussard (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Max Hoste Broussard (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Max Hoste Broussard (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Max Hoste Broussard (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Fouga Magister (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Fouga Magister (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Fieseler Fi-176 Storch (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Fieseler Fi-176 Storch (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Fieseler Fi-176 Storch (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Nord N.1100 Noralpha (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Nord N.1100 Noralpha (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Nord N.1100 Noralpha (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)
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The Bomber

  Later on this afternoon I went back to the static display to photograph some further war birds in the exhibition. On my way back I was passing my friend the sheriff again and he inquired what had happened to me all day long and was satisfied to hear that I had survived a day in the sweltering heat of the Californian sun!!! 
The end of the show was heralded by a huge number of private aircraft that left the airport. Cessna’s and Pipers take-off, one by one every minute. I almost got the impression that probably every American citizen owns his own airplane.
   

North American B-25 Mitchell  (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

North American B-25 Mitchell  (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

North American B-25 Mitchell  (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

North American B-25 Mitchell  (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

     

North American B-25 Mitchell  (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

North American B-25 Mitchell  (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

North American B-25 Mitchell  (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

 
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T-28

   

North American T-28A Trojan (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

North American T-28A Trojan (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

North American T-28B Trojan (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

North American T-28B Trojan (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

       

North American T-28B Trojan (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

North American T-28B Trojan (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

   
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The Army

The U.S. Army was represented by some light aircrafts and helicopters. Especially the helicopter whirled a lot of sand in this dry area during their performances.

   

North American OV-10A Bronco (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

North American OV-10A Bronco (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

North American OV-10A Bronco (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Beech U-21G Ute (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

   
Bell UH-1H Iroquois (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Bell UH-1H Iroquois (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Bell OH-58A Kiowa (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Bell OH-58A Kiowa (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)  
   

Sikorsky UH-1A Black Hawk (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Sikorsky UH-1A Black Hawk (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Boeing-Vertoll CH-47A Chinhook (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Bell AH-1F Cobra (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

 
De Havilland Canada Caribou (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader) Boeing B-52G Stratofortress (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Boeing B-52G Stratofortress (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

Bell UH-1B Iroquois  (Picture Courtesy Michael E. Fader)

 
  For me as a friend of the War birds, it was a wonderful day and a visit to this airshow is highly recommended. After a hot and long day I made my way slowly towards San Francisco.
In a small snack-place, still at the airfield, I approved me a hamburger (They taste a lot better at the airshow, rather than in a McDonalds) and a coke. 

Somewhat tired on my way to the parking lot I saw the again the huge avalanche of cars and peoples that moved away from the airfield. The airfield showed the traces of visitors - waste everywhere and weary souvenir and booksellers on their way home. "Pappy" must have already gone before - easily understandable for a 75-year-old man. Sadly, he passed away 5 months later in the town of Fresno, just 25 miles away from Madera, where he uses to live.

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last update 15. May 2013

Written 1. August 2010

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