Biggest Little Airshow takes off at Ford Island

An airplane remote control pilot performs a stunt for the crowd. Below, a model of a Coast Guard helicopter flies in the show.

An airplane remote control pilot performs a stunt for the crowd. Below, a model of a Coast Guard helicopter flies in the show.

MC2 Jeffrey Troutman

Navy Public Affairs Support Element Detachment Hawaii

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam opened its gates to the public for the eighth annual Biggest Little Airshow at Ford Island on Aug. 15 and 16.

Hosted by Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor (PAM), this year’s Biggest Little Airshow theme was “Honoring Our Vietnam Veterans,” as part of the PAM’s participation in the national commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

A model airplane flies with the Waianae mountain range in the background.

A model airplane flies with the Waianae mountain range in the background.

On both days, thousands of attendees gathered along the historic Ford Island runway to enjoy full aircraft displays, various kids’ activities and remote-control (RC) aerial aerobatics performed by RC pilots.

“My favorite part of the airshow is when I‘m flying,” said Frank Tiano, pilot of a 12-foot RC plane with “Candy Bomber” painted on the side.

Tiano, 71, said he has been flying model planes since he was 11.

Photos courtesy of Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor

Photos courtesy of Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor


“Sixty years I have been flying model planes, but only 45 years have been RC,” Tiano said.

Tiano’s first model was a Jim Walker “Firebaby.” The event also featured hands-on modeling stations, a kids zone with rides and activities, open cockpits, and open access to hangar 79, home of the B-17E Flying Fortress “Swamp Ghost” for those in attendance.

“Candy bombings” also took place twice each day for children. RC planes flew circles around the runway, opening their doors and dropping various candies for kids in attendance.

Sade Hakes, age 10, a first time attendee of the show, said her favorite part of the show was learning about the history of the planes.

“I like to see the planes and the history that is in the museum,” said Hakes.

Visitors also had the opportunity to meet and take photos with Pearl Harbor Survivor Dick Girocco, who witnessed the initial bombings of hangar 6 on Ford Island during the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

“This year was a success,” said Tiano. “Next year will be bigger. We will be bringing more planes and even larger ones than this year.”

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Category: Life & Leisure