AirFest 2017 has something for everyone


People who know the AirFest have loved it for 18 years for its breathtaking performances, opportunities to get up close and personal with living history and a day to share with family and friends that is just a great deal of fun.

Dan Haug is founder and CEO of Washington, D.C. based Cohere Technology Group. He’s also an avid aviation aficionado and this year’s chairman of the AirFest. He said the success of the airshow directly reflects the quality of the Culpeper Regional Airport and the organization that has gone into presenting the popular Airfest each year.

“It has to do with the legacy of how this got started with chairman emeritus Mike Dale,” Haug said. “It’s the friendliness of the airport. We have a very friendly airport and they work very hard on the type of people we bring to the Airfest. We’ve been successful because of the type of people we have.”

In an effort to honor Dale’s contributions, this year will feature two British fighter jets – recognizing Dale’s home country of England.

The Spitfire and the Hurricane are, with the possible exception of the Wright Flyer, the two most significant aircraft in the history of Civilization. If they had not existed in 1940,and won the Battle of Britain, Hitler’s Nazi hordes would have defeated Great Britain, controlled over half the Earth’s resources and the United States would have been isolated between Japan in the Pacific and Germany in the Atlantic with Canada, at best, neutral.

“This is unique to this year,” Haug said. “We see it as a tribute to Mike. There is no more gorgeous airplane than a Spitfire. We all just wanted to do something for him to show what we could do.”

The Spitfire and the Hurricane will be performing with the always popular British Aerospace Sea Harrier piloted by Art Nalls. The only privately owned harrier, the  single-engine, single-seat Vertical, Short, Takeoff and Landing (VSTOL) fighter was designed specifically for service with the British Royal Navy and operations aboard ship.

“Everyone loves to see it hover,” Haug said. “It’s very noisy and at the end of the day everyone loves the noise. It’s truly a fan favorite.”

Another fan favorite is the MXS acro piloted by Scott Francis. The Redbull Air Racing Championship plan is a high energy act, Haug said.

Other notable aircraft will include the “Albatros,” the “Panchito,” the North American Aviation “T-28 Trojan,” and the North American “P-51 Mustang.”

“People love to see the Warbird formation,” Haug said.

In addition to familiar faces and planes at this year’s airshow, second-year performer Manfred Radius. The recipient of the Bill Barber Award for Showmanship, his act, titled “The Ultimate” is graceful and elegant as his craft glides paired with classical music.

Potomac Flight is back!

On Oct. 13, approximately 20 T-6 “Texans” will launch from Culpeper Regional Airport, led by the famous B-25 “Panchito” and a Grumman HU-16 “Albatross”, and will soar in formation with the C-47 “Placid Lassie” in trail. Due to restrictions in the Washington DC airspace, the FAA has redirected our flight to the south this year.

The flyover in the skies over Charlottesville, Luray, and the majestic Shenandoah Valley will be in honor of our American Veterans as a visible and fitting tribute to the services and sacrifices veterans have made for our freedom. The roar of dozens of radial engines between the peaks of the Blue Ridge mountains will be something you’ll remember for the rest of your life!

Welcome to the Drone Zone

Once again, Germanna Community College will demonstrate their course offerings focused on training for commercial UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) use. Students will demonstrate their UAV capabilities. As with most airports, drones would be prohibited to approach within five miles but an exception is made on this day for these demonstrations.

The Airfest will begin at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 14 with multiple drone demonstrations from RC Buddy Box Flights, Quad-Copter Races, Hobby Hangar: RC Jet Performance, RC National Champion demostrations and the AMA Flight School Traveling Exhibit.

Did you say big screen?

This year’s AirFest is partnering with Culpeper Media Network to provide all that award-winning live aerobatic flying with choreographed music on a super large screen…as in jumbotrons.

The jumbotron will add another aspect to the Airfest, Haug said, allowing visitors to see multiple angles and views of the event.

It’s an airshow but what would vintage airplanes be without their counterparts in vintage classic automobiles. The members of Crusin’ for Heroes will be back with their display at the entrance of the show.

This free, day-long event is a visual treat for the entire family. The Bealeton Flying Circus is always a crowd pleaser and there’s plenty to do for the kids between games and airplane rides.

Plans for wet weather

In the past, rain has dampened the Airfest so the committee came up with a plan to deal with soggy weather. In years past, the Airfest was only scheduled for one day – Saturday – but this year the event has a built in rain day. If inclement weather threatens, the Airfest Committee will make an announcement on Oct. 12 moving the Airfest to Sunday. Haug said they will be watching the forecast and radar carefully to ensure the event is able to take to the skies this year.

“The Airfest has been paid for whether it rains or not,” Haug said. “Ninety-five percent of the money has already been used by the day of the event. This is a free event but it still costs a lot and we have many generous sponsors. This is only possible through our sponsors and a lot of volunteers. We took decided that if we had to move it to Sunday, we would, to deliver the air show for the public and for our sponsors.

Check out for further information.



Air Fest Highlights

Check out our static displays and more!

Events starting at 9AM

RC Buddy Box Flights

Quad-Copter Races

Hobby Hangar: RC Jet Performance

RC National Champion Demos

AMA Flight School Traveling Exhibit

Amazing Vendors and Food

Performances from 12:30PM to 4PM

Flying Circus Opening Act

TBM/Val/Pyro (Capital Wing)

Stearman Acro (Dave Brown, Flying Circus)

L39 Demo Flight (Art Nalls)

Pitts #2 (Adam Messenheimer)

Heavy Iron (Grumman Albatross, C47, Beech 18, B25)

Christen Eagle (Paul Daugherty)

T6 Acro (Kevin Russo)

Glider Acro (Manfred Radius)

Chef Pitts (Clemens Khlulig)

Stunt Helicopter (Steve Nixon)

T28 Acro (Joe Edwards)

Wing Walker (Flying Circus)

MXS Acro (Scott Francis)

Warbird Singles

Parachute Demo (3rd Dimension)

Hurricane/Spitfire (Military Aviation Museum) Yak

Heritage Flight (Harrier/Hurricane/Spitfire)

Harrier Demo (Art Nalls)

Warbird Formations (T6/T34/T28)


About Jeff Say 287 Articles
Jeff Say is the editor for the Culpeper Times. He can be reached at