2020 PERFORMERS

The Chippewa Valley Air Show was proud to present a first class line-up of performers during the 2020 show. This page will be updated as performers are confirmed.

 
A total of 16 officers voluntarily serve with the Blue Angels. Each year the team typically selects three tactical (fighter or fighter/attack) 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.

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. The Events Coordinator, Number 8, is a Naval Flight Officer (NFO) or a Weapons Systems Officer (WSO) who meets the same criteria as Numbers 2 through 7. 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.

Career-oriented officers specializing in maintenance, administration, aviation medicine, public affairs and supply fill support positions. The Blue Angels base their selection of officers on professional ability, military bearing and communication skills. Blue Angels officers are well-rounded representatives of their fleet counterparts.

Demonstration pilots, the Events Coordinator, Maintenance Officer and Flight Surgeon serve two years with the squadron. The other officers typically serve three years with the team. Blue Angels officers return to the fleet after their tours of duty.

 

Lucas Oil Aerobatics

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.

Thirty eight years later, Mike has accumulated more than 24,000 flight hours and is qualified in more than 40 aircraft. He keeps a very busy schedule flying for Corporate America as well as keeping a full time air show schedule flying the Lucas Oil stunt plane April through November. “It is incredible to be part of the Lucas Oil Team. Their products as well as their integrity make what I do even more rewarding.”

It wasn’t easy getting where he is today, and as Mike would attest, he fought battles every day. Things didn’t always turn out the way he planned, but with each year he believes that one of the biggest impacts in his life and the lives around him was his attitude.

With everything he has experienced as a Pilot, Businessman, Husband and Father, Mike still admits to making mistakes every day. But he doesn’t want to miss the opportunity to pass on the same gift of encouragement and attitude that had been given to him by his Parents, Grandparents, 2nd Grade Tutor and all who believe in him and the dreams he still chases. That is why Mike started the “I Can” program in conjunction with his air show.

Mike’s air show career is a testimony of how dreams really can come true. As a 2002 U.S. National Aerobatic Champion, and a member of the 2004 U.S. Aerobatic Team, Mike has traveled the world with the same aircraft you will see him performing in at your air show. His excitement for aviation and willingness to share his experience with people around the country is nothing short of contagious in his attempt to help encourage kids of all ages, to not only dream, but to live their dreams and never give up!

You can live big adventures, follow your passions and do the impossible!

It simply begins with two words....... "I Can."

Aftershock Jet Fire Truck

 
As driver/pilot of the World's Fastest Jet Powered Truck, Neal Darnell has been performing at airshows for 10 years.

With a long career producing various types of motorsport events Neal and wife Marilyn made the decision to turn over that business to son John in 1999. Neal then turned to real estate development building a luxury subdivision in Springfield, Missouri, but missing the adrenalin rush from the various types of racing he'd been involved in, it was time to jump back in.

Always interested in jet engines, he thought why not put a military fighter jet engine in a Chevy pickup truck? With a little magic, a lot of money, a little luck, and lots of hard work, the Flash Fire Jet Truck was born. A Jet Truck with over 12,000 horsepower and capable of speeds approaching 400 mph.

After licensing with NHRA and a short drag racing stint, Neal decided it was time to start performing at airshows and soon he was developing a reputation racing and beating some very fast airplanes, even an F-16 in 2011 at Andrews AFB in D.C.

With over 20 years in the Show Promotion Business as the Producer of over 400 major events, Neal understands the importance of showmanship in everything he does.

In 2005 Neal set an airshow speed record of 375 mph at Tyndall AFB in Florida. This record still stands today making Flash Fire the "World's Fastest Jet Powered Truck."

In 2011 and 2012 Neal performed with the Air National Guard Max Adrenaline Air Show Team. Neal and son Chris will be sharing the driving duties of the Shockwave and the Flash Fire Jet Trucks.

 

Precision Exotics

Precision Exotics - Where precision meets performance.

Greg Shelton Airshows

 
Boeing PT17 Super Stearman Solo and a Wing Walking Performance.

The 2018 recipient of the Bill Barber Award for Showmanship is Greg Shelton, someone known across the airshow industry for his various acts and performances.

Shelton, who began performing in airshows in 1990, had an interest in aviation from an early age. In 1982, Greg began flying lessons in a J-3 Cub, but traded in the Cub for a Starduster Too so he could persue aerobatics. That decision certainly paid off!

Today, Greg is well known for his 450 Super Stearman act and FM-2 Wildcat aerobatic performances. In 2017, Greg and his wife/wing walker Ashley Shelton added a nighttime wing walking act to their plethora of performances, once again bringing creativity to the world of airshows. Greg’s 2018 show season includes 12 airshows in both the Super Stearman and Wildcat.

 

Grant Nielsen Airshows

Grant Nielsen grew up in an aviation loving family. His father was a pilot and his brother was a career Air Force officer. After taking his first aerobatic ride, Grant was “bitten by the bug.” He started taking flying lessons within a month, training in airplanes and gliders concurrently. After getting his private rating in both classes of aircraft, he knew he wanted to learn more and become a better pilot. Grant joined a club in Minneapolis that had a Decathlon aerobatic training airplane.

While learning aerobatics Grant continued to train in other areas and received his Instrument ratings in single and multi engine planes, his Commercial rating in gliders and airplanes, Instructor ratings in single engine, multi engine, and instrument flight, Airline Transport Pilot rating, Flight Engineer rating for turbojet airplanes, and Pilot in Command (Captain) Type Ratings for the Boeing 757, 767 and Airbus 318, 319, 320 and 321 families of airplanes. In 2000 Grant changed careers from design and engineering work to aviation. He now flies Airbus aircraft for a United States Legacy airline.

Grant’s aerobatic background started with a lot of great instruction in the Decathlon. After gaining some proficiency, he began flying aerobatic competitions. Nothing shrinks your ego and grows your skill like having 7 judges pick apart every detail of your flying. Eventually Grant also started giving aerobatic instruction, and learned more from his students than he thought possible. After 14 years of competition, Grant’s mentors thought he was ready to dip a toe into the air show water in 2012. Flying air shows has been a lifelong dream for Grant and he feels incredibly blessed to be able to accomplish it. With over 6400 hours in the air, he still looks forward to every flight.

Some of the maneuvers you will see include Hammerheads, Torque Rolls, Cuban 8s, the Avalanche, Tailslides, the Shark’s Tooth, Snap Rolls, Tumbles, Rolling turns and of course Loops and Rolls.