Hangar 24 AirFest


Exhilerating, exciting, and a bit crazy: Meet the Aviators performing at the 10th Anniversary Celebration in Redlands, California. 



USAF A-10C Thunderbolt II Demo Team

The A-10 is the Air Force's premier close air support aircraft, providing invaluable protection to troops on the ground. The Air Combat Command A-10C Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team, stationed out of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, brings the aircraft to air shows around the country to showcase the unique combat capabilities of the A-10 "Warthog." They perform precision aerial maneuvers while highlighting the mission and professionalism of the men and women of the United States Air Force. Additionally, the team brings attention to the Air Force's proud history by flying formations with historical aircraft in the Air Force Heritage Flight.


Jerod Flohr in A-4 SKYHAWK

The Douglas TA-4 Skyhawk is a two-seat subsonic carrier-based attack aircraft developed for the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps in the early 1950s. The Skyhawk’s delta-wing and relatively light weight give it a top speed of more than 670 miles per hour!  This Skyhawk was totally restored for over 5 years and over 2,000 pounds of weight was removed. With the J52-P8B engine installed, it will out-perform any A-4 in existence! This A-4 is flown by Jerod Flohr who has over 8,000 hours and has spent most of his career as an aerobatic instructor in Pitts, T-28’s and T-6’s. Jerod originally flew air shows in an Extra 300 and is excited to inspire the future of aviation while honoring the past. He says, the main idea of showcasing this beautiful piece of history is to honor our veterans and the men and women who keep us free in the greatest country the world has ever known.

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Check out local Redlands pilot (and Reno Air Racer) Karl Grove tear up the skies in his Aero Legacy! With more than 30 years of racing experience, both in the UK and here in the States, he is thrilled to show off his stuff to AirFest fans. This aircraft can go 350+ MPH and has 550 horsepower! The aircraft is made of all carbon fiber and is the lightest Super Legacy to ever be built. Karl is currently modifying the aircraft in preparation for the 2019 Reno Air Races and hopes to reach 400 MPH and 750 horsepower.

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Jon Melby

When it comes to super-aggressive, tear-up-the-sky aerobatics, nothing says “extreme” better than Hangar 24’s very own Jon Melby!  Flying the Hangar 24 Muscle Bi-Plane, Jon is back for his 8th consecutive Hangar 24 AirFest… and he plans to get even wilder in the skies over Redlands this year!  With over 20 years as an aerobatic pilot, Jon is the master at wringing PERFORMANCE out of his 350-horsepower aircraft, and he will pull over 8G’s positive and 4G’s negative during his routine… that’s more G’s than the F-35 can pull!  An Air Force veteran who flew classified special operations missions on the MC-130, Jon is an outgoing people-person, and we are proud to have him back on the Hangar 24 Team for 2019.  

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red eagles formation team

The Red Eagles fly five Russian-designed YAK-52 aircrafts, the basic trainer for Soviet forces. It is rugged, reliable and relatively straightforward to operate. Powered by a 360 HP 9-cylinder radial engine (the Vendeneyev M-14P), the fuel consumption is relatively modest (12.5 – 19 gallons per hour). This rugged performer is stressed to +7 to -5 Gs and can easily operate out of unprepared fields. The “green-house” canopy provides excellent visibility and the tandem seating features dual controls. When used in the training environment, the instructor occupies the rear cockpit. The aircraft that you see today have been modified with smoke systems to enhance the performance for spectators.



The Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker is a military aerial refueling aircraft. Both the KC-135 and the Boeing 707 airliner were developed from the Boeing 367-80 prototype. It is the predominant variant of the C-135 Stratolifter family of transport aircraft. The KC-135 was the US Air Force's first jet-powered refueling tanker and replaced the KC-97 Stratofreighter. The KC-135 was initially tasked with refueling strategic bombers, but was used extensively in the Vietnam War and later conflicts such as Operation Desert Storm to extend the range and endurance of US tactical fighters and bombers.


Tony Higa’s Pitts Special S1S

Born in Okinawa, Japan, but now resides in Redlands, Tony Higa will scream through the sky in his Pitts Special! He has raced at 14 consecutive Reno National Championship Air Races and can’t wait to meet all of you! Check him out: https://tonyhigacom.wixsite.com/tonyhigaairshowsus/home



The Boeing C-17 Globemaster III is a large military transport aircraft. It was developed for the United States Air Force (USAF) from the 1980s to the early 1990s by McDonnell Douglas. The C-17 carries forward the name of two previous piston-engined military cargo aircraft, the Douglas C-74 Globemaster and the Douglas C-124 Globemaster II. The C-17 commonly performs tactical and strategic airlift missions, transporting troops and cargo throughout the world; additional roles include medical evacuation and airdrop duties. It was designed to replace the Lockheed C-141 Starlifter, and also fulfill some of the duties of the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy, freeing the C-5 fleet for outsize cargo.

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Jon “Huggy” Huggins – AirFest Announcer and Ringmaster

On the mic, in his 8th year at AirFest, will be Jon Huggins.  No stranger to airshows, Huggy has spent his ‘spare’ time the past 30+ years hanging around airshows as a flying performer, static display, and all-around aircraft bum.  His interests include not only the popular civilian and military airplanes currently on the airshow circuit, but also the many spectacular classic warbirds and experimental aircraft flying today.  In 2007 he put his knowledge to use and started announcing airshows on the West Coast – receiving great reviews from the general public and seasoned performers alike.

Huggy is a former Air Force pilot with over 7000 military pilot hours and 4100 flights.  He was only the 4th person in history to achieve 2500 hours in the U-2 while on active duty and has had the opportunity to fly over 100 different military and civilian aircraft. 

As an aviation enthusiast, Huggy enjoys learning the history of just about anything aviation related, and loves to hear the personal stories of all pilots, famous or not.  The breadth and depth of his aviation knowledge comes out on the microphone, and gives the crowd a unique insight to the spectacle in front of them. 


dash aerosports L-39

Former US Air Force fighter and demo pilot Jive Kerby will be rocking the skies in DASH AeroSports highly modified L-39 Albatros! Not only will you see this jet tear up the sky, but attendees will be able to virtually sit in the back seat of the jet for an inspiring experience to say the least. That’s right, you will also get to experience this rockin’ flight ON THE GROUND via a multi-dimensional virtual reality experience for FREE!!  

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Air Force Heritage Flight

One of the coolest and most historic flying displays is coming to Redlands.  Begun in 1997, the Air Force Heritage Flight has proven to be a crowd favorite.  An iconic warbird from years gone by… such as the P-51, P-38, F-86, and others… will join with the A-10 and perform a formation routine set to an original musical score.  The beauty of the display evokes different emotions for each person that sees it. 

In a special appearance, AirFest was recently notified that the rare Curtiss P-40 Warhawk will be displayed in the Heritage Flight.  Only a handful of these classic fighters remain, and Hangar 24 is honored to have it in the skies over Redlands with noted warbird Steve Hinton at the controls. 


USN VFA-122 F/A-18 Super Hornet

Watch as the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet is a twin-engine, supersonic, all-weather, carrier-capable, multirole combat jet, designed as both a fighter and attack aircraft screeches through the sky! Designed by McDonnell Douglas and Northrop, the F/A-18 was derived from the latter's YF-17 in the 1970s for use by the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The F/A-18 you will see comes from Strike Fighter Squadron 122 (VFA-122), also known as the "Flying Eagles", are a United States Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and F/A-18 Hornet Fleet Replacement Squadron stationed at Naval Air Station Lemoore.

Showing the great tradition of Naval Aviation, The US Navy’s Legacy Flight will perform with the F-18 and a vintage North American FJ-4 Fury jet… the only flying Fury in the world.  It was the first carrier-based aircraft designed to deliver nuclear weapons.  You do NOT want to miss this!” 

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F6F Hellcat & F8F Bearcat in a ‘Tribute to the Blue Angels‘

Two of the most storied aircraft in Naval history… and rarer than a winning lottery ticket.  But a ticket to AirFest gets YOU a chance to see these great fighters fly… and fly in formation once again.  These were the first two types of aircraft flown by the US Navy Blue Angels when the team was created in the 1940’s.  Along with the A-4 and F-18 at AirFest, you’ll see 4 of the 9 aircraft flown by the Blues over their 73 years in existence!!  Maintained and flown by the volunteers of the Commemorative Air Force in Camarillo, CA, these national treasures are a sight to behold.”

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The Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star (or T-Bird) is a subsonic American jet trainer. It was produced by Lockheed and made its first flight in 1948. It was used by the U.S. Navy initially as TO-2 then TV-2, and after 1962, T-33B. The last operator of the T-33, the Bolivian Air Force, retired the type in July 2017, after 44 years of service.


Vicky Benzing’s Stearman

Vicky loves to fly the airplane at air shows demonstrating the grace and beauty of flight in this early trainer. Except for the engine and a smoke system, Vicky’s Stearman remains as originally built 75 years ago. The Stearman has two ailerons instead of four ailerons like most Stearman that are flown in airshows. Hence it takes 2 hands on the stick and a lot of muscle for Vicky to roll it - and it rolls very slowwwwly.  Vicky is fond of saying that “the top wing wants to go straight while the bottom wing wants to roll.” Vicky’s Stearman also doesn’t have an inverted fuel system, so her engine WILL quit if Vicky holds the airplane upside down. Vicky has learned to keep positive g’s on her Stearman at all times, just as the WWII pilots would have done. Vicky considers herself lucky to be a steward of this timeless piece of history. Learn more about Vicky: https://www.vickybenzing.com/home.html



The T-38 is the world’s first supersonic jet trainer. It’s trained Air Force fighter and bomber pilots for half a century, plus every single NASA Astronaut. Oh… it’s also what U-2 pilots train in… but we can’t talk about that. Check out those sleek lines that make it look fast when it is just sitting on the ground. It looks even faster when it is painted jet-black and going 400+ mph at AirFest. Wanna know more? Then talk to the U-2 pilots that will be in the crowd. This weekend at AirFest....Tickets available at the Redlands Tap Room (save the online fee!), or click here to get them in your hands RIGHT NOW: https://tinyurl.com/y9vneg7v

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Ralph Royce- Air Boss

The AirFest “Air Boss” is person that is the “conductor and choreographer” of the entire day of performances.  With 2018 being his 43rd year producing, managing, and running airshows, Ralph brings his unique knowledge and professionalism to Hangar 24, and ensures the event will be as spectacular as it is safe. 

With a flying resume that is simply too long to describe, he has an unlimited piston-powered letter from the FAA; founded the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame; was a former Executive Director of the Commemorative Air Force; and former Director of the Lone Star Flight Museum.  Since he will be directing the AirFest activities from start to finish, you won’t see much of Ralph during the show… but you’ll definitely see the fruit of his labor!