Milwaukee Air & Water Show Performers


As of March 1st, 2017

Many of the world’s top air and water show performers, including aerobatic champions, long-time Milwaukee show favorites, the United States Navy Blue Angels, Army Golden Knights, and military teams and aircraft, have made commitments to fly during the 2017 Milwaukee Air & Water Show, now set for July 15-16, at Milwaukee’s beautiful lakefront. More exciting performers are yet to be announced in the coming weeks ahead!


The Navy Blue Angels perform one of the most recognized air show acts in the country.   Power and precision are apparent in their performances, during which the Blue Angels fly at speeds up to 700 mph and get as close as 18 inches to one another in the air.  Each year the team typically selects three tactical jet pilots, two support officers and one Marine Corps C-130 pilot to relieve departing members.   The Chief of Naval Air Training selects the “Boss,” the Blue Angels Commanding Officer. Boss must have at least 3,000 tactical jet flight-hours and have commanded a tactical jet squadron. The Commanding Officer flies the Number 1 jet. The Chief of Naval Air Training also selects the “XO,” the Blue Angels Executive Officer. XO is a Naval Flight Officer (NFO) and must have at least 1,250 tactical jet flight-hours. Career-oriented Navy and Marine Corps jet pilots with an aircraft carrier qualification and a minimum of 1,250 tactical jet flight-hours are eligible for positions flying jets Number 2 through 7.   Officers typically serve two years with the team. Blue Angels officers return to the fleet after their tours of duty. The mission of the Blue Angels is to showcase the pride and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps by inspiring a culture of excellence and service to country through flight demonstrations and community outreach.


The Blue Angels use a United States Marine Corps Lockheed C-130T Hercules, nicknamed “Fat Albert”, for their logistics, carrying spare parts, equipment, and to carry support personnel between shows. The Marine Corps pilots flying the C-130T Hercules aircraft, affectionately known as “Fat Albert,” must be aircraft commander qualified with at least 1,200 flight hours.   Beginning in 1975, “Bert” was used for Jet Assisted Take Off (JATO) and short aerial demonstrations just prior to the main event at selected venues, but the JATO demonstration ended in 2009 due to dwindling supplies of rockets.[12] “Fat Albert Airlines” flies with an all-Marine crew of three officers and five enlisted personnel.   The workhorse of the Air Force combat airlift fleet, the C-130 Hercules has been in service for more than half a century.


The United States Army Parachute Team, nicknamed and commonly known as the Golden Knights, is a demonstration and competition parachute team of the United States Army. It consists of demonstration and competition Parachutist teams, drawn from all branches of the Army. Members must demonstrate excellence in parachuting.   The two Golden Knight demonstration teams travel the United States(and occasionally overseas), performing for public audiences at venues ranging from relatively small civic events to nationally and internationally televised events (such as Monday Night Football games, NASCAR races, and large international airshows). The two, 12-member teams travel around 240 days per year, and use the team’s two Fokker C-31A Troopship jump aircraft as their primary means of transportation, and sometimes the UV-18C Twin Otter Series 400 made by Viking.



ACC Aerial Events, or ACC/A3TA, is responsible for scheduling the public display of ACC aircraft, most notably the F-22 Raptor, F-16 Viper, A-10 Warthog, C-17, and F-35 Lightning demonstration teams.  Aerial Events also manages the U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight program and coordinates static display and flyover support of ACC aircraft to air shows and other events in the U.S. and abroad. ACC/A3TA provides the Aerial Control Teams that coordinate and execute AF and Joint flyovers in the national capital region.

KC-135 Stratotanker

The Air & Water Show welcomes back the 128th Air Refueling Wing’s Boeing KC-135 – Air Refueling Stratotanker aircraft to perform in the air show, on both days, SAT and SUN! The 128th Air Refueling Wing is “Milwaukee’s Hometown Air Force.” The Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker is a military aerial refueling aircraft. It 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.

PAUL WOOD – Warbird Heritage Museum Foundation
NAVY A-4D Skyhawk Jet Tach Demo

In the photo above, Paul Wood climbs the A-4 with the moon in the background during the 2015 Air & Water Show. The A-4 Skyhawk was a post Korean War U.S. attack aircraft intended to be operated from aircraft carriers. It was designed by Douglas Aircraft to satisfy the U.S. Navy’s need for a jet powered replacement for the A-1 Skyraider. The Skyhawk was successfully used by both the USN and USMC, with the first model entering service in October of 1956.   Skyhawk’s were the Navy’s primary light bomber during the early years of the Vietnam War. A-4’s carried out some of the first U.S. air strikes of the war and a Marine Skyhawk is believed to have dropped the last US bombs on the country. Some of the notable A-4 pilots during the war were Vice Admiral James Stockdale and then LCDR John McCain. The Skyhawk continued in service throughout the war, with a total of 362 being lost. The Warbird Heritage Foundation is a 501(c)-3 not-for-profit foundation created in December, 2003. The Foundation was organized for the purpose of acquiring, restoring, displaying, and demonstrating various antique aircraft of historic military significance.   The Foundation’s focus is on preserving its aircraft in flying condition, demonstrating these aircraft at air shows and other special events, and promoting public interest in historic military aircraft.


The Aerostars are a precision aerobatic demo team whose aerial ballet captivates air show audiences large and small. The team is composed of Team Lead Harvey “Boss” Meek, who currently flies for a major international airline, American Airlines Captain David “Cupid” Monroe in the Right Wing position and Left Wingman Paul “Rocket” Hornick, who currently flies for a privately-held corporation. They fascinate the crowd with a combination of graceful aerobatics flown in tight formation, spectacular breakaways followed by breath-taking opposing passes and awe-inspiring inverted maneuvers. The team performs in the Yak 52 TW, a former Soviet designed, Romanian built, WWII-type aerobatic trainer. The deep roar of their 400 horsepower, supercharged, nine cylinder radial engines singing in harmony is a true crowd-pleaser. The Aerostar’s performance is the embodiment of teamwork, professionalism and commitment to excellence.

North American AT-6 Texan

The AeroShell Aerobatic Team is a familiar name in air show lineups, having performed in the industry for more than 25 years. Alan Henley founded the team after meeting Steve Gustafson at an air show in Mississippi and flew with the team until 2008, when a non-aviation related accident left him paralyzed from the chest down. Now his twin brother Mark Henley, team lead; Bryan Regan, right wing; Steve Gustafson, left wing; and Gene McNeely, slot; perform a series of loops, rolls, and bomb bursts in close formation for a classic aerobatic routine. The T-6, nicknamed “The Pilot Maker”, was originally introduced as a basic trainer for the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1938.

Air Show Formation Team

The Firebirds Xtreme are a Nationally and Internationally renowned Aerobatics team. Members Bill Stein, Jack Knutson, Matt Chapman, and Rob Holland thrill crowds from around the world with their breath-taking stunts, and precision formation flying. The Firebirds flight demonstration combines the precision of formation aerobatics with radical gyroscopic tumbles and heart stopping head-on madness guaranteed to keep you on the edge.


Bill Stein puts on a thrilling performance in his unique Edge 540, the paint scheme of which changes color dependent on lighting and the location of the airplane is respect to Bill’s spectators. Bill began flying aerobatics while he was still a student pilot, and has since logged more than 5,000 hours of aerobatic and formation flight. He has been part of the air show performance scene since 1995, and enjoys mentoring new air show pilots as a way to give back to the aviation community Bill Stein has logged over 5,000 hours of aerobatic and formation flight. Bill began flying aerobatics when he was still a student pilot and has been dedicated to perfecting his skills ever since. Since 1995 Bill has performed at air shows all across the United States and has entertained millions air show fans.

Eclipse Aviation E-550 Jet

The Air & Water Show welcomes One Aviation’s – Eclipse Jet Demonstration Team! Local Milwaukee favorite pilot Eric Whyte, who is now the demonstration pilot for One Aviation Corporation, will fly the Eclipse 550 both days of the Air & Water Show. ONE Aviation was formed in 2015 to merge aircraft manufacturers Eclipse Aerospace and Kestrel Aircraft. The Eclipse 550, which had been in production at Eclipse Aerospace, is being planned for future certification as the Kestrel K-350.  The company has a unified management and business operation along with a single supply system and marketing and sales team, but the two previous manufacturing lines continue at their current locations: Albuquerque, New Mexico, Chicago, Illinois for the Eclipse, & Superior, Wisconsin, for the Kestrel.


Over the years, he completely immersed himself in aviation, spending time as a corporate, commuter, and ferry pilot, a banner tower, and a flight instructor, all while running his own aerobatic school. He is the only pilot to ever have achieved the titles of three-time, consecutive World Four-Minute Freestyle Champion and seven-time U.S. Four-Minute Freestyle Champion, making him one of today’s decorated air show pilots. In his 15th year performing at air shows full time, Rob continues to push himself in his one-of-a-kind MXS-RH to develop maneuvers never before seen.


Mike Wiskus has been performing airplane stunts for 26 years, and flies a Lucas Oil Pitts Plane and said stunts will include loops, rolls, hammerheads and other visually appealing tricks. Wiskus was also was a 2002 U.S. National Aerobatic Champion and a member of the 2004 U.S. Aerobatic Team. Like many of the show pilots, Mike’s passion for aviation started when he was very young. Mike’s Dad took him to his first air show at their hometown in Iowa at the age of 10. That show made an everlasting impression so deep that at 14, Mike rode his bike to the airport for two weeks straight and bugged the owner for a job washing airplanes and cleaning hangars just to be around airplanes. In school, Mike had a teacher tell him he would never be a pilot. His grades weren’t great and he got into trouble. Later that year a tutor gave him the book The Little Engine that Could, by Watty Piper. It changed his attitude and it helped Mike believe in himself. He traded his work of washing airplanes for flying lessons and received his Pilot’s License on his 17th birthday.

HH-60J – Jayhawk Rescue Helicopter

Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City was established in 1946 and is a part of the United States Coast Guards Ninth District, and is situated on the southern end of Grand Traverse Bay in northern Michigan. Since 1995, Air Station Traverse City has controlled and manned Air Facilities throughout southern Lake Michigan The Coast Guard completed upgrades to its fleet of 45 MH-60J Jayhawk medium range recovery helicopters in August 2016. Redesignated as MH-60Ts, the upgraded helicopters received new flight instruments and avionics, communications and navigation equipment. Air Station Traverse City is now transitioning back to the HH-60J this summer of 2017. The Milwaukee Air & Water Show is once again proud to feature U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich.