Photos of the 2012 California Capital Airshow: Thunderbirds, Sean Tucker, West Coast Ravens and more!

The announcer’s voice boomed through the loud speakers, proclaiming to thousands of people that the big bomber formation heading straight over the crowd was being led by Tim “Tank” Redden (aka Mr. T). Somehow, I was able to squeal, cheer, clap and shoot photos. My love, leading a 16-ship formation of planes? Probably one of the coolest things I’ve laid eyes upon.

With wifely pride, I snapped a zillion photos of the West Coast Ravens formation flying team at the California Capital Airshow last weekend. Watching them perform in the same show as aerobatic expert Sean Tucker and the USAF Thunderbirds was definitely a highlight of the summer.

If you haven’t been, the California Capital Airshow is a neat Sacramento-area event that combines civilian and military air performances. Even cooler, proceeds of the non-profit show go to fund aviation related scholarships. Here are a few (okay 50) photos!

The show started on Saturday. Here’s Mr. T leading the 16-ship bomber formation.
The West Coast Ravens team: A1-Tank, A2-Axel, A3-Sunblock, A4-Condor, B1-Shifty, B2 Rosie,  B3-Nordo, B4-Zen, C1-Turbo, C2-Tailwind, C3-Deuce, C4-Brick, 
D1-Spike, D2-Goose, D3-Shadey, D4-Cobra
Scott “Spike” Randolph led the Delta flight, shown here in diamond formation.
Delta flight in a 360 degree turn.
The opposing pass.
Big Diamond. The guys are all flying Vans RV aircraft–kit planes that most of them built themselves!
Young volunteers patrolled the flight line.
The KC-10 made a pass. It’s an airliner turned fuel tanker that’s used for air-to-air refueling.
I admit, I enjoyed hanging out in the Performers’ area with the free food and big umbrellas.
Announcer Rob Reider and Air Boss Ralph Royce
A little victory walk! From left: Nordo, Axel, Sunblock, Condor and Goose. Yes, one day I will explain these call signs.
Eddie Andreini in the Super Stearman! Eddie flies out of Halfmoon Bay and also performed in his P-51 Mustang.
Heritage flight with the F-16 and Steve Hinton in the P-38 Lightning
USAF Thunderbirds!
The littlest fan.
The Thunderbirds put on a spectacular show.
Thunderbird family.
I can’t even imagine how much practice (and prayer) this maneuver takes.
Close quarters!
Future aviators?
Bomb burst!
After the show, we did a little photo shoot near the Thunderbirds. It boggles me how young some of them are!
RVs and F-16s.
After hours at the airshow.
Tank and Tankerbelle (aka me and Mr. T)
RVs and F-16s at Mather Airport.
West Coast Ravens!
Static displays. The yellow Stearman on the end belongs to Mr. T’s flying group.
Republic Seabee
Ravens pre-flight briefing.
Sunday’s opening ceremony with national anthem and parachutist.
Always a poignant moment in the airshow.
One day T may get a smoke system.
A contingent of Ravens will be flying at the Wendover Airshow in a couple weeks.
Ravens recovering to the front parking area.
On Sunday a local dignitary gave the engine shut-off signal.
U-2 Dragonlady
B-25 Mitchell
Kent Pietsch in the Interstate Cadet racing the F-16. Perhaps the funniest moment of the airshow.


On the flight line.
Sean Tucker’s incredible aerobatic routine.
Updside-down and 15 feet off the ground, no big deal.


More flying things:
EAA Oshkosh: The 40-ship Vans RV arrival
The Daily Pixel: The mostly airplane edition
My favorite wingman will be on Mythbusters!
Green gills and formation flying skills
Formation flying: A photo montage and interview with my hot pilot husband

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