Joint Service Open House
NEVER been “The same old thing”!
Story and photos By Daniel O. Myers
In these tough economic times, cutbacks have caused some air show fans to lament, “We keep seeing the same old things”. For twenty-eight years I have looked forward to the uniqueness of the Andrews AFB Joint Services Open House (JSOH) Air Show. Once again, this year extended that tradition.
Andrews is the Secretary of Defense’s air show and hosts the largest display of static aircraft and displays on the East Coast from all military services. Most are unique. Notable for 2012 was NASA’s Super Guppy. This El Paso, TX based massive cargo hauler was born in 1957. It’s composed of a C-97 flight deck, B-29 fuselage and P-3 engines with C-130 props. At a cruise speed of 220 knots there is no auto-pilot, requiring the crew of two pilots and two flight engineers to constantly monitor the controls! Other unique static military aircraft included a MDANG C-27 originally built for the US Army. Due to political in-fighting, Maryland is the only unit to obtain this efficient plane (Four of thirty-eight contracted). This airframe allows the USAF to be called into battlefield action within hours, versus days for the C-130. Proudly presenting two of their F/A-18++, VMFA-115 is the only East Coast squadron to fly these Hornets that feature more advanced avionics than the ‘C’ model and a Joint Helmet-Mounted Queuing System that links the AIM-9X missile for acquiring surface and air targets. Pilatus was on hand showing off their PC-12 executive jet. With a base price of 3.8 million dollars, this economically valued craft can be specially configured for civilian or military customer applications. Reflecting the changing role of our military, there were lots of Special Ops aircraft to see. From Saint Paul, the Minnesota Wing of The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) invited the public to view their inspiring Red Tail P-51 traveling educational display, including a red-camera 180 degree panoramic movie and restored Mustang.
With perfect weather conditions and broadcast live from two JumboTron screens, Andrew’s uniqueness continued in the air. For the first time, and to the sound of “Apocalypse Now”, HS-1 flew a tight formation of four UH-1s. Beechcraft Corp. demonstrated their newest Special-Mission T-6 Texan II-C and the Warrior Flight Team flew an acrobatic L-39/Yak-52 Russian two-ship demo. In celebration of their 100th Anniversary of Aviation, the USMC flew an AV-8B Harrier and MV-22 Osprey. The latter being a first for the show. The CAF treated the public to the only flying example of a SB-2C Helldiver, while Redbull’s Chuck Aaron thrilled the crowd as the only civilian pilot licensed in the United States, and only one of three in the world to perform helicopter aerobatics.
With a limited 2012 schedule, the F-22 is back in the air! Executing summersaults and leaf-overs, Major Henry ‘Schadow’ Schantz’s performance was reminiscent of the first time we saw the Raptor fly. Following a P-51 Mustang demo, the jet and warbird joined for the Heritage Flight. On Saturday and on his way to a flyover at the Preakness Horse Race, the Spirit of Nebraska B-2 stopped by for three revealing passes. The Blue Angels wowed the crowd with near perfect performances during their bi-annual appearance.
For now, financial cutbacks will force Andrews to go to an every-other-year show. That’s unfortunate for this unique show that has NEVER been “The same old thing”!
JOSH Premiere Show on the East Coast
Story and Photos By Mike Sherba
Many consider the Joint Services Open House at Andrews the premiere show on the east coast. This year's show did not lessen that reputation. The show this year took place on May 18th thru the 20th.
The lineup was spectacular, as usual. The weather was near perfect for the Friday and Saturday shows and just slightly overcast on Sunday. Saturday's perfect weather and stellar lineup led to the base being "At Capacity". At 1:15pm the shuttle busses were stopped. There just wasn't room for more spectators.
The Joint Service Open House and Air Show have been held yearly in the area since the 1950s. Last year, more than 190,000 people attended and this year that number was surpassed. Over 200,000 people got to watch the United States Navy Blue Angels headline this year's show. Other military performers included the US Air Force F22 Raptor Demo, The US Army Golden Knights, The AV8B Harrier Demo, and the MV22 Osprey demo. The civilian performer list was like an "All Star" list. Mike Goulian, Sean Tucker, and Kirby Chamblis all put on stunning shows. A good airshow would be lucky to have one of them; Andrews had all three.
There was some sad news from Andrews this year. The Joint Services Open House will now be a biennial event. Air Force Capt. Christian Hodge, chief of public affairs at Andrews, said a lot of bases across the Defense Department made the decision to go to a biennial schedule. Per Captain Hodge, it costs about $2.1 million to put on the show each year. The decision was made to go to an every-other-year show format to still maintain the community outreach program that the air show does and save tax dollars at the same time.