If you’re starting to plan your 2022 aviation calendar, make sure to pencil in some of the year’s best warbird events. Here are a few of our top recommendations.
Gathering of Warbirds Reunion: The Gathering of Warbirds Reunion will be hosted on May 21 at Madera Municipal Airport in California. The event is a fly-in and drive-in that educates attendees "on what it took to win World War II," said event organizer Arnie Schweer. The event will feature a variety of unique warbirds, including a Republic P–47 Thunderbolt and several North American P–51 Mustangs. Schweer also stated that "the event is combined with a classic car show so people not only get to watch warbirds take off and land, but they also get to see 80-plus classic cars. You can't beat that for $10."
Thunder Over Michigan: The Thunder Over Michigan airshow will be held on July 16 and 17 in Detroit, Michigan. The drive-up airshow will feature dozens of iconic warbirds and even demonstrations from the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. If you'd like to experience history for yourself, consider purchasing a flight experience in the Yankee Air Museum's Boeing B–17 Flying Fortress or the Bell UH–1H Huey during the event.
Wings of the North AirExpo: The Wings of the North AirExpo will take place July 23 and 24 at Flying Cloud Airport in Minneapolis. The event, which happens to fall the weekend before EAA AirVenture, is the perfect gathering place for warbirds to stop before making their formation and gaggle flights to Oshkosh, Wisconsin. In recent years, the AirExpo has hosted British fighters such as the Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane and even large American bombers like the North American B–25 Mitchell and Boeing B–17 Flying Fortress. The event’s daily airshow, pilot meet and greets, seminars, U.S. Air Force demonstrations, and food court make the event a family-friendly one that showcases past and present foreign and U.S. airpower.
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh: Perhaps the largest and most well-known warbird event occurs during the last full week of July each year at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh. The event, which the Experimental Aircraft Association has dubbed the "world's greatest aviation celebration," is the perfect opportunity to watch, listen, and even smell history. Whether you're looking to get up close and personal with an elusive Hawker Sea Fury or a more common Cessna L–19 Bird Dog, hundreds of different warbirds can be spotted in the skies and on the AirVenture grounds each summer.
Airshow of the Cascades: The Airshow of the Cascades will be held August 26 and 27 at Madras Municipal Airport in Madras, Oregon. The event will feature warbird and general aviation activities, including tours of the Erickson Aircraft Collection, which houses a variety of flying and static warbirds, including a Messerschmitt ME-109, a Martin AM–1 Mauler, and a Grumman F8F Bearcat. Other activities include aerobatic performances, live music, and a car show.
Warbird Roundup: The twentieth annual Warbird Roundup will be held at the Warhawk Air Museum in Nampa, Idaho, August 27 and 28. The two-day event features flybys, food vendors, U.S. Air Force demonstrations, a guest speaker, and "warbirds from all over flying in," stated Heather Moore of the Warhawk Air Museum. Attendees are encouraged to visit the museum's Facebook page to stay updated on event plans.