Thunder Over The Coconino 2011

By: Category: AirshowsAntiqueMilitaryMuseumsPlanes of Fame Air MuseumRoad tripsSpottingValleWarbird

Almost 30 hours after coming back from Valle, several gigabytes and a few beers later. I have the photos ready.

The 2nd airshow in Valle in just over two months, I heard of this one from some guy in a Facebook group and did some research and it turned out it looked like I was going to make it. The reality is that as the show got closer, it started looking not good. First, Flagship Detroit cancelled, unfortunate news, but then I got word that the PB4Y Privateer was going this time (it had engine trouble in June, just as it was getting ready to head up to Valle), then, miserable weather throughout Northern Arizona threatened the show. A 30% chance of rain and forecasted scattered thunderstorms was more than enough to justify staying in bed, but the simple idea of finally catching the Privateer was more than enough to get me out of bed to start the drive at 6 AM. We made it to Valle before 8, and just as we were getting the bracelets, I decided to ask the airshow people the status of the Privateer, only to be told it had just cancelled like 5 minutes before due to engine trouble. I later found out from the people in the ramp that the #3 engine was having issues; in fact, the plane never even left the ground at CGZ.

But not everything was negative. We got a chance to walk around the Planes of Fame Air Museum when it was nearly empty, and in general avoided the crowds. Notable planes included a P-51D Mustang (NL5441V), which lost most markings, paint and the “Spam Can” name between June 25h and yesterday, I didn’t know it was the same plane from June until I got home and started browsing through the photos; a T-28C Trojan (NX363W), same one from June; a Curtiss-Wright Travel-Air 6000, a Stearman, a Bell Helicopter and a Curtiss Robin. Unlike the June event, this one had a good fly-in participation, in fact, one of my friends flew with one of his friends up there (his friend flew another plane). Unlike Coolidge, access to the airplane parking was only for pilots and organizers, but of course, there’s ways around that , no spotting next to the runway (and there was no way around that, apparently).

There were regular planes, Pipers, Cessnas, Vanses, two Grumman AA-5’s (one of which seems like it’s been following me for a few months), and three Beech Staggerwings, really beautiful biplanes. I was hoping to see the Trimotor Ford, but it looks like it’s undergoing heavy maintenance. Oh, and got to see whatever is left of N730PT, a 1977 Piper PA-31T Cheyenne.

Definitely a nice event, regardless of the missing planes. Oh, and the 30% chance of rain? it was getting cloudy as we left, and we got rain for about a mile shortly after leaving Valle.


Enough talking. Here are the Photos




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