Wings over Houston 2023

Airshow Photography from the UK and around the world
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Roger_Over
Posts: 231
Joined: Tue 02 Jul 2019, 6:44 pm
Location: West Midlands

Wings over Houston 2023

Post by Roger_Over »

I did a little pilgrimage to Ellington Field recently to check out the Commemorative Air Force Wings over Houston airshow, it’s been on my ‘to do’ list for a while, looked like an interesting alternative to the season finale at Duxford, and was subsidised by a small win on the Premium Bonds!

I went for a Photo Pit ticket on Saturday and a Prime View ticket on Sunday, costing £92 and £62 respectively, expensive compared with most US airshows but worth it if you want more elbow room and a space at the front. The photo pit included lunch and unlimited soft drinks as well. I also managed a bit of time outside the wire to catch a few arrivals and departures, and got chatting to some local spotters and others from further afield, a really nice bunch of folks who made me very welcome and shared some good intel.

There seems to be a running joke locally about the display aircraft listed by the organisers being more like a wishlist, and from the time I booked my flights three weeks before the show until it started I lost count of the aircraft that dropped off the website with no explanation but assume they weren’t fully confirmed. Some last minute military cancellations were understandable given the latest crisis in the Middle East, and static B-52/E-2/C-5/EA-18G/T-45 didn’t show up, but notable warbirds listed as display aircraft such as the Airacobra were also absent and the Helldiver was in a hangar minus engine so having that on the website as a display aircraft was a tad misleading. They had some bad luck as well though, apparently their Avenger would have flown but the magneto failed just before the show.

Access was well organised and fairly quick, leaving is easy if you use the correct gate but involves a hike if you leave from the north end and have to get to the shuttle buses near the south end as there are a lot of security fenced units to navigate around. All of the CAF volunteers were very helpful and friendly, the show had a nice relaxed vibe and didn’t feel overcrowded.

Overall the show was good, nice mix of aircraft, most of which can be found flying in Europe still but great to see some different variants and colour schemes. Warbird fighters were conspicuous by their absence, and given the ticket cost I’d much rather have seen more military displays rather than the ubiquitous jet car / Extra 300 aerobatics, to me the flying schedule seemed a bit thin and could have done with a couple more acts. Saturday was punctuated by a B-52 flypast (single pass very high as usual) and an annular solar eclipse which was pretty cool. The C-17 demo cancelled, so the only current military display was the F-35A. I love a good ACC demo with a charismatic USAF jet, but unfortunately the A-10 and F-22 were elsewhere so the F-35 had to suffice, brilliantly flown as ever by Maj. Wolfe. The statics were widely dispersed and mostly not too bad for photos, the warbird ramp was the highlight with opportunities to walk around all of the flyers without cones and rope in the way. NASA’s KC-135A zero gravity ‘Vomit Comet’ makes an interesting gate guardian to see on the way into the airfield, although could do with a bit of TLC.

For photography the show wasn’t great in the mornings but fine PM apart from heat haze, for arrivals and departures the best sites AM were outside the wire at the Cemex quarry entrance on Farley Rd NE of the main runway, or at the sewage farm at the SE end, depending on which end of the main runway was in use.

Enough talk, here are some photos!

ImageWoH01 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH02 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH03 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH04 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH05 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH06 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH07 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH08 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH10 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH12 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH13 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH15 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH16 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH20 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH21 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH22 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH24 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH25 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH26 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH27 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH28 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH29 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH30 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH31 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH32 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH33 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH42 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH35 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH36 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH39 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH43 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH44 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH45 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH46 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH47 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH48 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH49 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH50 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH51 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH52 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH53 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH54 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH55 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH56 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH57 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH59 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH60 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH61 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH63 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH66 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH67 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH73 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH78 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH80 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH81 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH84 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH85 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH87 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH88 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH89 by Aquila427, on Flickr

ImageWoH90 by Aquila427, on Flickr

If you got this far you did well, thanks for looking!
Last edited by Roger_Over on Thu 02 Nov 2023, 7:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Alpha Delta 210
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Re: Wings over Houston 2023

Post by Alpha Delta 210 »

Great set with some interesting participants. The F-35 top-side with the sun glinting on it is beautiful.
Last edited by Alpha Delta 210 on Thu 02 Nov 2023, 12:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Tuckat
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Re: Wings over Houston 2023

Post by Tuckat »

#73 is exceptional! Interesting report and a good selection of photos, thanks for sharing 👍
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Skylinerworld
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Re: Wings over Houston 2023

Post by Skylinerworld »

Lovely photos! Is the Phantom still airworthy? I've not seen any videos of it flying for a long time now.
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Wrexham Mackem
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Re: Wings over Houston 2023

Post by Wrexham Mackem »

That's a nice set!

Domvickery
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Re: Wings over Houston 2023

Post by Domvickery »

The camo B-25 & Skyraider are lovely
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Roger_Over
Posts: 231
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Location: West Midlands

Re: Wings over Houston 2023

Post by Roger_Over »

Thanks for the comments, from what I was told the Phantom will fly again when they source replacement ejector seat cartridges for it. Let's hope so :fingers_crossed: :fingers_crossed:

Mike
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Joined: Sun 31 Aug 2008, 5:08 pm

Re: Wings over Houston 2023

Post by Mike »

A very nice set of photos there. Thanks for posting
Alpha Delta 210 wrote:
Tue 31 Oct 2023, 11:34 pm
The Raptor top-side with the sun glinting on it is beautiful.
It’s an F-35

FarnboroJohn
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Joined: Tue 28 Aug 2012, 6:57 pm

Re: Wings over Houston 2023

Post by FarnboroJohn »

Terrific! Lovely weather.... Like the eight-gun Mitchell.

Stagger2
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Joined: Thu 16 Jun 2011, 8:46 am

Re: Wings over Houston 2023

Post by Stagger2 »

That'll be the CAF B-25J 'Devil Dog'. Some great shots here & good subjects too.
That TA-4 Skyhawk, F-4 & F-100 line-up was worth the visit alone! :smile:

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