F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team Headlines Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival

Story and Photos by Kenn Potts

The Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival returned to the Battle Creek Executive Airport at Kellogg Field in 2021. The Air Show and Balloon Festival was cancelled in 2020 due to Covid 19 restrictions. This was the first time in the history of the event that it was cancelled. The 2021 event ran for five days beginning Wednesday, June 30 at 5 p.m. and concluded Sunday, July 4 with fireworks at 10:30 p.m.

F-22 Raptor

The Airshow featured the US Air Force F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team. This is the only F-22 Raptor demonstration in the State of Michigan this year. The F-22 Raptor is the Air Force fifth generation fighter aircraft. The Raptor performs air to air and air to ground missions. The F-22 Raptor demonstration team is stationed at Langley-Eustis in Hampton, Virginia. The demonstration team has 19 members.

World Champion Rob Holland performed in the MXS-RH. Mr. Holland has 28 International Competition Medals, an eight-time, consecutive, U.S. National Aerobatic Champion, four-time World Freestyle Aerobatic Champion, nine-time U. S. Freestyle Aerobatic Champion and has received many other awards. Mr. Holland had been a professional airshow and aerobatic pilot for the last 18 years. 

The Misty Blues, the all-Female Parachute Team made up of 13 women, performed several jumps during the event. The Misty Blues have been performing since the early 1980’s.  

Kyle Franklin with the Flying Circus Comedy Act provided laughs for the crowd, and the Wall of Fire (several of them) made by Fire Walkers International Pyro, drew plenty of oohs and ahs.

Mark Smith performed in the AFTERSHOCK Jet Fire Truck. The truck is a 1940 Ford Fire Truck with twin Rolls-Royce Bristol Viper Jet engines totaling over 24,000 horsepower. This truck holds the Guinness speed Record for fire trucks at 407 mph. (See below)

Chachi “Rocketman” Valencia being shot out of a cannon at 55 mph and heights over 65 feet! The Rocketman Valencia has 23 years of Human Cannonball experience.

Other acts included Ken Rieder Redline Air Shows RV-8, Patrick McAlee Blue Demon Pitts, Bob Carlton with Jet Powered Sailplane, and Mark Vaknin in the Extra 300.

A Twilight and Night Air Show with Pyro were held on Friday, July 2.

Balloon launches and balloon illume were scheduled on Wednesday, June 30 and Saturday, July 3.

Other events included music bands, Skerbeck  20+ carnival rides and games, food and craft vendors, and Firework shows.