Air Show

Four Days of Action!
United States Air Force

Thunderbirds Demonstration Squadron

The world famous U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Jet Demonstration Squadron will return to Battle Creek Field of Flight Airshow & Balloon Festival in 2024! 

The Thunderbirds will showcase the pride and precision of today’s U.S. Air Force with over 70 performances at several different show sites. The team will proudly perform on behalf of the nearly 700,000 active-duty, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve & civilian Airmen serving at home and abroad. It’s from that diverse group of Air Force professionals that the Thunderbirds team is formed.

The Thunderbirds were first activated on May 25th, 1953 as the Air Force’s Official Air Demonstration Team. They were designated the 3600th Air Demonstration Unit and were stationed at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona flying the F-84G Thunderjet. Over the years, the Thunderbirds flew famous U.S. Air Force Aircraft that have gone down in history such as the F-84F Thunderstreak, the F-100C Super Sabre, F-105B Thunderchief, F-100D Super Sabre, F-4E Phantom II, T-38 Talon…and into the Mighty F-16 Fighting Falcon (Block 52 model) that the team flies today.

According to Indian legend, the Thunderbird was a giant eagle (some envisioned a hawk) that was spoken about with great fear & respect. When it took to the skies, the earth trembled from the thunder of its wings and bolts of lightning shot from its eyes. Nothing in nature could challenge the bird of thunder. The story of the Thunderbird was repeated across generations…and today, it is now a legend.

The legend will take to the skies this summer in Battle Creek, Michigan as the thunder (known as the Sound of Freedom) and will represent not only the professionalism of the U.S. Air Force, but the patriotism of our great nation of the United States.

The “thunder” will come from six F-16 Fighting Falcon jets painted in Red, White & Blue colors with the Thunderbird emblem on the bottom. Their show will rock the skies as the Diamond formation (Jets 1-4) perform a series of precision maneuvers, keeping their aircraft just INCHES from each other. This is in concert with the high speed & high G maneuvers performed by the Solos (Jets 5-6). This includes a series of head-on passes & solo maneuvers showcasing the tactical profile of the Block 52 Viper. In the end, all six jets team up and showcase the pinnacle of formation flying, the Delta Formation.

The Thunderbirds will be rocking the Battle Creek skies numerous times throughout the week. That’s MULTIPLE TIMES THE THUNDER!! 


#1 (Boss/Commander/Leader): Lt. Col. Nathan Malafa (Michigan Native)
#2 (Left Wing): Maj. Zachary Taylor
#3 (Right Wing): Maj Tyler Clark
#4 (Slot): Maj Jake Impellizzeri
#5 (Lead Solo): Maj Eric Tise
#6 (Opposing Solo): Maj Jeffrey Downie
#7 (Operations Officer): Lt. Col. Taylor Wight
#8 (Advance Pilot/Narrator): Maj Bryce Turner
#9 (Flight Surgeon): Maj (Dr.) Jacob Hall
#10 (Executive Officer): Capt Randi Winther
#11 (Maintenance Officer): Capt Natalee Winton
#12 (Public Affairs Officer): Maj Krystal Jimenez 

The Thunderbird Mission as well as aerial demonstrations wouldn’t be possible without the work of more than 120 enlisted members from nearly 30 different career fields. They are the backbone of the team, ensuring all jets and operations are in top shape at all times. To learn more about the Officers & Enlisted members that make up this elite squadron, please visit: 

United states army

Golden Knights

Returning to Battle Creek for the first time over 25 years is the United States Army Golden Knights. The team will showcase the airborne techniques and professionalism of the United States Army in a skydiving and parachute show that you won’t soon forget. 

What started in 1959 as a small team competing against the former Soviet Union’s skydivers is now an international icon representing the Army’s success. The Golden Knights have earned over 3,800 medals in competition while also achieving 348 world records in the process.

Based at Fort Liberty, North Carolina “The Home of the Airborne”, the Golden Knights will help open our air shows in Battle Creek with the National Anthem Jump and more. They will then return later in the show and perform a show filled with aerial skydiving maneuvers that will amaze everyone in attendance. From a baton exchange, to canopy relative work, to high speed freefall, this is a skydiving show that showcases the excellence of the United States Army Airborne.

The 16 member team coming to Battle Creek will be accompanied by a US Army C-146A Jump Ship that you will also see perform a fly by following the final jump of the day.

For more information on the United States Army Golden Knights visit

United States Navy

F/A-18F Super Hornet Rhino Demo Team

With a thundering roar, the US Navy will take to the skies over Battle Creek Executive Airport in the premier Naval Fighter, the F/A-18F Super Hornet.

Hailing from Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia, this year’s F/A-18F Super Hornet is part of Strike Fighter Squadron 106 (VFA-106) known as the “Gladiators.” The F/A-18F Super Hornet was developed, along with the E Model Super Hornet from the older F/A-18 Hornet models. The plane was planned back in the 80’s by McDonnell Douglas under the project name “Hornet 2000.” McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) decided to initially call it the “Hornet II” to improve early F/A-18 models and serve as an alternate replacement for the aging Grumman A-6 Intruder attack aircraft. The Navy had planned on getting a naval version of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, which was the Navy Advanced Tactical Fighter.

However, that program was cancelled, so the “Super Hornet” was proposed. The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is a twin engine, carrier-capable, multi-role fighter aircraft that is based off of the design of the F/A-18 Hornet. The aircraft was initially designed by McDonnell Douglas and first flew in 1995. Full-scale production began in 1997 and the Super Hornet entered service in 1999 to aid in replacing the Grumman F-14 Tomcat. The Super Hornet serves in the fleet alongside the Legacy model Hornets. While the Super Hornet and original Hornet share many similar characteristics, the Super Hornet is a beast in itself, coming in at 20% larger and 7,000 pounds (empty) heavier than the original F/A-18 models. In fact, the Super Hornet weighs only 11,000 pounds less than the massive F-14 Tomcat that it replaced. The Super Hornet is also designed for a heavier payload and higher range and is capable of refueling other aircraft via a system known as “buddy store”. In addition to it filling a tactical airborne tanker role, the aircraft has a payload almost matching the mighty Grumman F-14 Tomcat.

The Super Hornet is sometimes referred to as the “Rhino” to distinguish itself from the earlier model Hornets. The Super Hornet is powered by the General Electric F414 Engine, which provides the loud thunder that you will hear over Battle Creek. Those engines also help propel the aircraft to fly at speeds almost twice the speed of sound.

The Super Hornet is one of the most sought after military demonstrations on the air show circuit each year. This year, you’ll only be able to see the Super Hornet at a handful of air shows, and Battle Creek is proud to have been selected.

United States Air Force

A-10C Thunderbolt II Demo Team

Look to the skies as the United States Air Force takes flight with a demonstration of the A-10C Thunderbolt II. 

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-10 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.

The A-10 Thunderbolt II is the first Air Force aircraft specially designed for close air support of ground forces. They are simple, effective and survivable twin-engine jet aircraft that can be used against light maritime attack aircraft and all ground targets, including tanks and other armored vehicles. Seeing the A-10 in the skies above Battle Creek will be a welcomed sight to many as the OA-10 Thunderbolt II was the aircraft used by the 110th Fighter Wing based at Battle Creek’s Air National Guard Base from 1991 to 2009. 

The A-10 is an aircraft that was designed by Fairchild Republic for a close-air support role. The aircraft, originally designed to improve on the performance of the A-1 Skyraider, was designed around the 30 mm GAU-8 Avenger rotary gatling gun that protrudes from the nose of the aircraft. The pilot essentially sits in what is known as a “titanium bathtub”, made with 1200 pounds of titanium armor. This protects the cockpit and aircraft systems, which essentially means the A-10 was designed to absorb significant amounts of damage yet still continue to fly. One such story has a connection to Battle Creek. While serving in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, Major Gary Wolfe was piloting an A-10 from the 110th in Battle Creek when Major Gary Wolfe’s aircraft was struck by an enemy surface-to-air missile. The missile impacted one of the engines. Major Wolfe was able to get the aircraft back to Talil Air Base, a testament of how great these aircraft were designed. 

The aircraft is given the nickname of “Warthog” because it has no problem “getting down and dirty”. The aircraft provides close air support of friendly ground troops, attacking armored vehicles and tanks and providing extremely quick and efficient support against ground forces of the enemy. Being able to fly low, with the durability of the aircraft and its support close to the action, it definitely lives up to its name. In addition, with its quiet turbofan engines that provide a whistling noise, the A-10 can sneak up to targets.

The A-10 coming to Battle Creek this summer is coming from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. The pilot will be Major Lindsay “MAD” Johnson. Maj Johnson commissioned through the United States Air Force Academy in 2014 where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Sciences – Human Factors. She has since earned a master’s degree in aviation safety from the Florida Institute of Technology. Maj Johnson has served in Texas, Korea and Arizona. As a veteran instructor pilot, she has amassed over 1,380 flight hours, including 431 combat flight hours in support of both Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and the Resolute Support Mission. Prior to her current position, Maj Johnson was an Instructor Pilot and Flight Commander, 357th Fighter Squadron, Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona.

United States NAVY

F-35C Lightning II Demo Team (Two-Ship)


The United States Navy F-35C Lightning II will make its return to this summer’s Field of Flight Air Show & Balloon Festival in Battle Creek. This demonstration features TWO jets.

The F-35C Lighting II Demo Team will come to Battle Creek from VFA-125 “Rough Riders” based out of Naval Air Station Lemoore in California.

The Lockheed Martin F-35C Lighting II is a F-35 variant that is designed for catapult-assisted take-off and arrested recovery operations from aircraft carriers. You’ll be able to see the difference between the F-35A and F-35C just based on wing size alone, as the F-35C features larger wings with foldable wingtip sections. This larger wing area also helps allow decreased landing speed while increasing both range & payload. The C model also features larger control surfaces for improved low-speed control, stronger landing gear for carrier arrested landings, a twin-wheel nose gear, and a strong tailhook for arrestor cables. You’ll be able to see a simulated carrier landing of the F-35C during the demonstration.

You will NOT want to miss the “thunder” that the F-35C will bring to Battle Creek as two jets fill the sky at the same time. Don’t miss this demonstration of Naval Air Power during our 2024 Air Shows!

“Ace Maker Airshows” featuring Greg Colyer in the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star

Greg Colyer will be bringing his T-33 Shooting Star “Ace Maker II” to Battle Creek this summer. 

The first operational jet for the United States was the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star, which first flew in 1944. A few years later, the need for a trainer aircraft to help train pilots into the Jet Age was needed. The P-80 was designed into the T-33 Shooting Star and it became a training aircraft that first flew in 1948. T-33s became one of the elite training aircraft from the United States Air Force, remaining in service with the Air National Guard through 1987. It trained many jet pilots for the Korean & Vietnam Wars…and beyond!

The P-80/T-33 came from the famous Lockheed “Skunk Works” division. While the P-80 was its first “official” project, the head of Skunk Works Clarence “Kelly” Johnson (a Michigan Native from Ishpeming and graduate of the University of Michigan has claimed that the history of Skunk Works actually begins in 1939 when they designed the P-38 Lightning, which we also have coming to Battle Creek from the Erickson Aircraft Collection.

Greg’s T-33 Aerobatic Demonstration showcases the Maximum Performance and graceful beauty of the Shooting Star, America’s first operational Jet Fighter And Trainer. Get ready for 15 minutes of amazing maneuvers, featuring low and high speed passes, vintage jet maneuvers, and some terrific smoke trails. 

Ken & Austin Rieder Redline Airshows Vans RV-8

Hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio; Redline Airshows will be returning to Battle Creek for 2023. This year’s show will feature TWO Vans RV-8s that will thrill the crowd with displays of skill, nerve, and showmanship. The RV-8 is a 2-seat tandem aircraft that is extremely versatile, can reach speeds of 230 miles per hour, and land short at a slow speed. The RV-8s that Redline flies have 200 horsepower engines that are equipped with Hartzell Advanced Structural Composite propellers.

What makes the show even better is that it is flown by a father and son team, featuring Ken & Austin Rieder. The show will feature formation acro as well as solo acro at differing altitudes to showcase unparalleled showmanship, skill, and the overall capabilities of the RV-8.

Ken Rieder will also perform an AMAZING Night Show in the RV-8 that you will not want to miss!

Bob Carlton “Vertigo Airshows” in the ALL NEW Foxjet Twin Jet Sailplane

You have seen Bob Carlton perform in the Jet Super Salto Sailplane over the years in Battle Creek. But he has turned it up a notch for his NEW aircraft…the Foxjet Twin Jet Sailplane, which features TWO PBS-TJ100 jet engines. 

Utilizing its powerful jet engines, the Foxjet roars through a high-speed aerobatic climb, followed by a spectacular exhibition of graceful sailplane aerobatics, choreographed to classical music, and featuring the world-famous Vertigo Airshows wingtip smoke. When the original altitude is spent, most sailplanes must land. But not this sailplane! By simply spooling up the jet engines, the graceful sailplane is quickly transformed into a true low-level aerobatics monster. Accompanied by an ever-quickening musical score and even more smoke, the FoxJet cavorts at ground level with loops, rolls, hammerheads, spins and vertical penetration never before dreamed of by a sailplane.

World Champion Rob Holland MXS-RH

The Award Winning Rob Holland will return to  Battle Creek this year. Rob Holland is one of the most famous and popular aerobatic pilots on Earth. He is highly sought after and almost every air show wants him. We are so lucky to continually have this WORLD Champion perform here every year. He truly is one of the most anticipated acts each year for the Field of Flight. We’ll let his accomplishments do the talking:

  • Ten-time, consecutive, U.S. National Aerobatic Champion
  • Five-time, consecutive, World 4-minute Freestyle Champion
  • Eleven-time, U.S. 4-minute Freestyle Champion
  • 2015 World Air Games Freestyle Gold Medalist
  • 2012 Art Scholl Award for Showmanship Recipient
  • 2008 World Advanced Aerobatic Champion
  • Eight-time U.S. Aerobatic Team Member
  • 28 Medals in International Competition (14 Gold)

Watch as Rob showcases his incredible talent in his MXS-RH.

Skip Stewart in the Pitts Muscle Biplane “Prometheus”

Returning to Battle Creek for the first time in almost 10 years is the extremely thrilling talents of Skip Stewart in his highly-modified Pitts S2S known as “Prometheus”.

Like a streak of blazing lightning from an ominous sky, air show performer Skip Stewart blasts into view in a high-flying aerobatic symphony. You won’t get thunder after that lightning, but you will hear an ear-splitting roar that will shake the ground as thousands of fans cheer their lungs to pieces. PROMETHEUS brings the flaming fury of Skip’s gyroscopic and brain-melting maneuvers. A modified Pitts S2S, PROMETHEUS is going to be the reason your throat hurts from cheering the day after the show.

Some airshows look great – Skip’s airshow is something you feel like a thumping, ripping drumbeat in the center of your chest. You’ll taste fuel, you’ll smell victory. High-performance, high-skill, and high “totally-awesome,” Skip and his plane will tear through a high alpha pass on takeoff, then proceed to rock the most jaw-dropping maneuvers down to 1-foot off the ground. PROMETHEUS doesn’t specialize in haircuts, but get ready for a close shave.

As the recipient of the 2013 Bill Barber Award for Showmanship and the 2015 Art Scholl Award, Skip Stewart has proven to be one of the most entertaining Airshow pilots in the world today. With over ten thousand hours of flying experience, being an Airline Transport Pilot, Boeing 727, and MD-11 Captain, a Certified Flight Instructor, having owned and operated an aerobatic flight school, earned Gold Medals in regional aerobatic competitions, served as Chief Pilot for a Fortune 100 company and with more than fourteen years entertaining airshow fans around the World, Skip feels comfortable saying that he is one of the very best in the business today. Skip’s flying has been featured in magazines that include Plane & Pilot, Smithsonian Air & Space, AOPA, Sports Illustrated, World Airshow News, Auto Pilot, as well as in multiple other domestic and international publications. Skip Stewart is the first pilot to fly an airplane under a jumping motorcycle at an Airshow and has participated in numerous exciting acts over the years.

Bill Stein Zivko Edge 540

Bill Stein (a Michigan Native) is one of the most experienced (over 7000 hours of aerobatic and formation flight) and sought after pilots on the air show circuit. Bill began flying aerobatics when he was still a student pilot and has been dedicated to perfecting his skills ever since. He has been performing air shows since 1995 and has entertained millions of air show fans. For years, he performed as a member of the world-famous Red Baron Stearman Squadron (including right here in Battle Creek). He also mentors and coaches many future aerobatic pilots including being a coach for the famed “Stars of Tomorrow” team.

Bill also serves as an Aerobatic Competency Evaluator, proving his dedication to aerobatic safety. When it comes to professionalism, there isn’t anyone quite like Bill. He’ll take to the Battle Creek skies in his Zivko Edge 540 aircraft. This aircraft is popular among aerobatic pilots, but Bill’s plane is different! His Edge 540 uses cutting edge paint technology. Bill has designed the spectacular look of his airplane using a paint that continuously changes color based on the constantly varying angles between the spectators, airplane and the lighting. The plane can be any one color and even be a mix of numerous colors at different times during the performance, changing from green, purple, blue, gold, yellow, pink, orange and everything in between. See how many colors you can count during our air shows. 

Bill was also the 2021 Recipient of the International Council of Air Shows Art Scholl Showmanship Award. He was also the 2016 Recipient of what is considered to be the single highest honor an individual air show professional can receive, the International Council of Air Shows Sword of Excellence

Nathan Hammond “GhostWriter Airshows” Super Chipmunk Aerobatics

Get ready to see some incredible things in the skies over Battle Creek this year! Nathan Hammond will take the GhostWriter Super Chipmunk and write some magic in the sky. Two miles high, and ten miles wide! This skywriting can be seen for 20 miles in every direction. It isn’t sorcery, but it certainly is magic! Gaze skywards and see a truly amazing sight! Don’t forget about his amazing aerobatic airshow either in this beautiful deHavilland bird and a smoke show that is truly patriotic!

Nathan Hammond joined SkyDancer Airshows in 1998 and quickly learned about skywriting and airshow flying. Nathan was born and raised in Rhinebeck, New York; home of the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. The proximity to the Flying Circus Airshows lead to him earning his pilot’s licence at 17, logging over 7000 hours since (in many different airframes, old and new).

Why is the aircraft named GhostWriter? Good thing you asked, we have the answer below.

GhostWriter actually established a career in the Air Show and Skywriting Industry as the Pepsi SkyDancer, then eventually the Oregon Aero SkyDancer (performed quite a few times here in Battle Creek). After Steve Oliver’s retirement in 2015, Nathan K. Hammond took the controls and has been captivating audiences with the smooth lines and raw horsepower of the unparalleled Super Chipmunk ever since. Nathan Hammond’s Day Show is Action Packed and full of Smoke and Noise! The larger size of GhostWriter fills the sky, and with a tightly choreographed ballet of Loops, Rolls, and Verticals, keeps the excitement at the air show center! But this amazing Day Show act isn’t the only thing he’ll be doing. He’ll also be doing some Skywriting.

And then, of course, there is the magical Night Air Show that is truly one of the best in the industry. You will NOT want to miss that!

Erik Edgren in the Clipped Wing Taylorcraft “T-Clips”

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Erik Edgren is returning to Battle Creek in the sleek looking Clipped Wing “T-Clips” Taylorcraft. The “T-Clips” was originally built by Taylorcraft in 1939. It was “Clipped” for aerobatics in 1997 by Steve Givens using a mix of both the Swick and Cole Plans. Erik has further modified the T-Clips with inverted fuel and oil and airshow smoke systems making it an optimal and unique “up close and personal”, crowd-pleasing airshow machine. 

Erik can’t remember his first airplane ride…because he wasn’t born yet! He began “training” at the age of 6, sitting on his father’s lap and flying on instruments. Erik was ready for solo at the age of 8 through the use of a tailor-made seat and control extensions. At age 10, he learned spins, which sparked his lifelong passion for aerobatics. Erik has worked as a Flight Instructor, an Instructor/Pilot for an air combat school in the AT-6/SNJ and as a Corporate Pilot in Lear Jets, Kings Airs, and more. He has flown more than 5800 hrs in over 180 different makes and models of aircraft. Erik is a full-time farmer, living on the same farm the original settlers log cabin was built… now with a grass runway and airshow practice box! 

Erik will have your attention from takeoff as he rolls inverted and then continues his climb out. The show from there features full-on inside/outside, gyroscopic, finesse, energy management aerobatics.

Kyle Franklin’s Flying Circus

Famed air show stunt pilot Kyle Franklin returns to Battle Creek this year.

The Super Cub known as “Franklinstein” is the centerpiece of Kyle’s act. For the most part, this is a stock PA-18A Super Cub (with an awesome Franklin-style paint scheme), but it has faced some minor modifications. The plane has served as an integral part of Franklin’s Flying Circus over the years for not only training, but numerous acts and stunts. This also happens to be the first plane that Kyle Franklin ever soloed in.

Back to the act, with a talented and well-known pilot such as Kyle gets behind the controls, you know you are in for a treat. Kyle Franklin will portray Ben Whabnoski, an annoying drunk who wants his airplane ride that is promised to him! Much different from your typical flying farmer routine, this routine will get everyone on their feet and roaring with laughter. The effort and skill Kyle displays is amazing to say the least. Most pilots only put a wingtip on the ground during ground loops. Kyle Franklin does it for fun so often, that his Cub needs skid plates taped on the wingtips! This is truly a show “stealing” act! It takes impressive skill to fly a plain this badly!

Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind, wild and crazy, wing-tip draggin’, award winning comedy act! Kyle was the recipient of the 2017 Bill Barber Award for Showmanship presented by World Airshow News.

Charlie Morris in the American Champion Super Decathlon

Charlie is one of the newest faces on the air show circuit and also one of the youngest performers. He is an extremely experienced pilot that will be a terrific addition to our lineup! He’ll be bringing his BEAUTIFUL American Champion Super Decathlon to Battle Creek and perform a great aerobatics show in it! Our mission in Battle Creek is not only to produce such a great event, but also promote and inspire the next generation. Charlie will help us fulfill that mission and we cannot wait to see him take this industry by storm.

Charlie’s love of flying started at a very young age riding with his Papaw and his dad in the family 7AC Champ. Then at the age of 14 with the encouragement of family friend Josef Schroeder, Charlie began lessons in gliders and did his first solo flight in a glider. He then earned his private pilot glider at age 16. He also soloed the family Champ at age 16. At age 17 he earned his private pilot single engine land certificate. 

At age 18 and just out of high school Charlie joined the military and spent 6 years in the Army as a UAV operator (drone pilot). Charlie has continued his flight training and now holds a commercial license, instrument rating, and flight instructor rating. 

Smoke-n-Thunder Jet Shows feat. Hayden Proffitt II in the Hot Streak II Jet Truck

Hot Streak II is a twin jet engine ‘57 Chevy Pickup capable of speeds of 350+MPH entertaining fans across the country for almost 30 years. This twin engine Jet Truck is powered by Two Westinghouse J34’s engines. Rescued from a J 34-48’s Navy T-2A Buckeye Airplane. If you want to talk about performance, this truck features 25,000 pounds of thrust and will put on a show that you won’t believe!

Firewalkers International Pyro “Feel the Heat”

Are you ready to FEEL THE HEAT? Because Firewalkers International Pyro will be coming to Battle Creek, and they are planning to blow up the airfield! Firewalkers International LLC is one of the most renowned pyro teams in the airshow industry today. With years and years of experience in both the military and civilian world, they know so much about pyro that they can certainly be dubbed professional “pyromaniacs”. At this year’s Field of Flight, they’ll provide pyrotechnical explosions during our air show, including a 1,000 foot WALL OF FIRE where you will surely feel the heat. The explosions won’t stop with the massive Wall of Fire though….you’ll also see strafe runs, bombs, mini-walls, double bombs, attention getters and the Almighty F-BOMB, which is designed to form a smoke ring!

Announcer Phil Dacy

Back by popular demand will be Mr. Phil Dacy, “The Voice of the Field of Flight Air Show”. Phil has been announcing the Field of Flight for almost two decades. Phil is an award winning announcer that will set the pace for the air show and provide announcing that is ‘second to none’. Phil not only provides some of the highest energy announcing on the air show circuit, but he backs up that energy with incredible knowledge. After being on the air show circuit for so long, Phil definitely knows the performers, knows the performances and knows his stuff. Phil is a very experienced pilot in his own right with over 8000 hours of flight time in all different types of aircraft. Even today, when not announcing, he is the Chief Pilot for Priester Aviation out of Chicago, Illinois. Phil will help bring you the ULTIMATE Air Show Experience and he’ll even announce our Twilight & Night Air Shows!

DreamBIG, LLC’s F/A-18 TOP GUN Cockpit Experience & Photographs

There is nothing in the world that can match the experience of piloting a fighter jet. So few people receive the opportunity to fly these magnificent machines; most of us can only dream of the experience. Consider what it would mean to merely sit in the cockpit of a fighter. Then imagine getting into a flight suit, putting on a helmet, adjusting your oxygen mask, getting strapped into an ejection seat and holding the controls. Smell the fuel and oil that past pilots have smelled as they prepared for a mission. Place yourself in their time and space. No conventional aviation museum exists today where you can touch, let alone sit in, the cockpit of a fighter jet and experience this unique aviator feeling. Creating a memory lasting a lifetime. DreamBIG is about to change this.

This mobile aviation museum headed by DreamBIG, LLC and owner Dewey Larson, will roll into Battle Creek. Seeing a fuselage like this on display is one thing, and you definitely won’t miss it (it is painted up like Maverick’s F/A-18 from the hit film TOP GUN: MAVERICK”, but you’ll also be able to experience sitting in the cockpit and getting your photo taken (for a nominal fee). This is something the whole family can experience together and a memory you won’t soon forget.

FUN FACT: This specific airframe Hornet was a member of the United States Navy Blue Angels from 1994 to 1999. During this time, it was seen in the skies over Battle Creek when the Blue Angels made a special appearance in 1998. 

Nation’s Third Largest Twilight & Night Air Show

Back by popular demand, our SUPER-SIZED Night Air Show will return this year. On the evening of July 5th, we will present an “Evening of Magic”. As the sun begins to set and Twilight takes over the airport, some of the best performers in North America will take to the skies. With the sun setting and offering different views of the acts, it is truly a unique experience. As it gets darker, aircraft will take to the skies with special lights on their aircraft. But we won’t stop there! After the sun sets, the action heats up again. Bob Seger said it best in his song, “Night Moves”, and now we will present a Spectacular Night Air Show featuring Aircraft with lights and MORE. Flying fireworks displays at their finest. If you have never experienced a Night Air Show before, this is the time to see it!

Twilight Air Show

The Twilight Air Show will also feature some of the best civilian acts in the air show industry. Watch as formation acts and aerobatic solos take to the skies to perform against the setting sun.

Night Air Show

The Night Air Show will feature the best-of-the-best in Night Aerial Entertainment. Hold on to your hats, this year’s Night Air Show will even surprise those who have seen our Night Air Show in the past!

Nathan Hammond GhostWriter Night Show

You may have seen a Night Air Show before…but have you ever seen a Nathan Hammond Night Show? He loads his Super Chipmunk known as “GhostWriter” up with LED lights and 200 pounds of pyro and fills the air with tons of sparks, fireworks and more, all while performing graceful aerobatic maneuvers. Seriously, this is basically an entire fireworks display…except it is launched from an aircraft in the sky instead of from the ground! Don’t miss this amazing performance, which has become a Battle Creek staple!

Bob Carlton “Fire & Lights” Jet Super Salto Sailplane

Since 1903, airplanes and fire have been mortal enemies. Bob Carlton coaxes them into a snarling truce with the spectacular Fire & Lights night pyro show. With sparks, smoke, fireballs and bomb bursts, Fire & Lights sets the night sky ablaze with color and action. Don’t be fooled by so-called twilight shows. This is a true, hard-dark night aerobatic performance, not just a day show sneaking in at sunset.

Bob’s night aerobatic performance features high performance aerobatics with stunning pyrotechnic effects by Ultratech, the same pyro used on stage by superstars such as KISS, Aerosmith and Reba McEntire. It is also flown in the one-of-a-kind Jet Sailplane!

Hot Streak Jet Truck

Seeing Hot Streak run during the day is absolutely amazing! Once you see it at night, YOUR BREATH WILL BE TAKEN AWAY!! Shooting ENORMOUS flames, this powerful Jet Truck will illuminate the airport grounds!

AirBoss Ryan Seiler

The AirBoss for the Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show & Balloon Festival will be none other than Ryan Seiler. Ryan has served as the Battle Creek AirBoss since 2004, and was Assistant AirBoss for many years prior to that. Ryan is a pilot himself, serving as Lead Flight Instructor at the Western Michigan University College of Aviation (his Alma Mater) right here in Battle Creek. He is also the Head Coach for the nationally recognized Sky Broncos flight team, who have continually placed in national competitions for the better part of a decade. In the Air Show world, Ryan is known for his commitment to safety and putting together an almost five hour flying sequence (multiple days) that runs well and transitions smoothly. As the conductor of the air show, it takes a lot of focus to be able to put together a sequence that runs with minimal downtime (except for scheduled downtime) and keep the action going, all while maintaining the highest focal point of safety. With his 17 years of experience as AirBoss, Ryan is an experienced AirBoss that is well liked by all the performers that perform in Battle Creek.

Assistant AirBoss Ken Glidden

The Assistant AirBoss for the Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show & Balloon Festival is Ken Glidden. He got involved in 1997 when he was asked to be a pylon judge for a mock air racing act. Ever since then, he was hooked! The following year, due to his role with aircraft radios at the Air National Guard Base, he started setting up a military VHF/UHF radio on the Announcers Stand to pipe audio from performers right into the PA system for the crowd to hear. In the Year 2000, he started working with performer ramp and all on-field logistics for then AirBoss Steve Brown. He helped coordinate between the performers and the boss to ensure they stayed on schedule as well as marshalled and parked them where needed. After Steve moved away and Ryan stepped into the AirBoss position, Ken was asked to be the Assistant AirBoss, a position he has truly loved, ever since! His wife, Theresa, is in charge of the performer hospitality tent. She is well loved by all performers for her Chocolate Chip and Cranberry Oatmeal cookies and friendliness she provides. Outside of the Field of Flight, Ken is an Instrument Rated Pilot that owns and flies a Yak-52 and is a member of the Redstar Pilot Association. He has participated in the mass formation in Oshkosh and holds Single Engine Land & Sea as well as Helicopter certifications. He is a Chief Master Seargeant at the 110th Fighter Wing working with the MQ-9 Reaper mission. He has served for 34 years in both the ANG and formally the US Navy.

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