(Reading time: 4 - 7 minutes)

RaptorWhere? Nellis AFB, Nevada
When? 10-11/11/2007

Aviation Nation 2007 was announced as the capstone event of the US Air Forces's 60th anniversary and the largest Air Force event of the yearlong celebration. Under the theme "Heritage to Horizons" the Nellis AFB - Las Vegas Air Show commemorated that year 60 years of air & space power.
The airshow is held annually in November at the Nellis AFB near Las Vegas and also forms the final event for the North American airshow circuit combined with the homecoming of the Thunderbirds.

Showgirl"Heritage to Horizons" draw a bow from WW I up to the operation of modern UAV's in the flight display, that was completed by an extensive static exhibition.
According to their website Aviation Nation did also "celebrate the history of American aviation and salute the recent accomplishments of America's military in operations around the globe" and "more than 100 military and civilian aircraft" were to be expected to be on display. With this advertising and the 50th anniversary airshow in mind that had flying displays of the Japanese "Blue Impulse" or of the since then retired SR-71 Blackbird to offer, the expectations for this week-end were high. The show was visited at the end of the trip to the south-western part of the USA.
Unfortunately these expectations could not be met as the "military operations around the globe" were clearly reflected in the reduced flying activities of USAF aircraft, as the main part of the flying until late afternoon was mainly completed by privately owned aircraft.

In retrospective of the USAF's history the flight displays followed a virtual timeline highlighting wars and special events during so called "re-enactments" or by showing video presentations.

At first the pre WW II era was reflected by replica World War I Aircraft Flybys and a Pre World War II Air Parade consisting out of the trainer aircraft Ryan PT-22 and a formation of T-6 Texan II that was also part of the Opening ceremony and flew when the National Anthem was played.

WW I & post-war displays

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The WW II era was as a matter of course a bigger part and it was planned to start off with the American Volunteer Group (Flying Tigers) P-40 Warhawk vs. a Japanese Zero and the Pearl Harbor Remembrance with a P-40 and a Japanese Zero. Unfortunately the P-40 was not available and Zero had to fly together with the Spitfire... The Pacific Theatre would of course not have been complete without a Doolittle Raiders B-25 Reenactment. Another welcomed act for this era was also the appearnace of the recently restored and repainted B-24 Liberator of the CAF.
As a real B-29 Superfortress was also not available for the flying display, a B-29 Video Tribute was followed by a questionable "re-enactment of the atomic mushroom cloud" of August 6th, 1945 at Hiroshima and Nagasaki three days later, when some fuel barrels were brought to an explosion…
The Western front World War II Reenactment featuring a P-51 vs. Me 109 dogfight also had to be reduced due to the lack of availability of a 109 to a Mustang and a Spitfire.

World War II Reenactment

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Bombers: B-24, B-17, B-25

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Fighters: Mustang, Zero, Spitfire & a T-6

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