Airshows and Aircraft
Airshows and Aircraft
Meet the Performers
The performers in the SUN 'n FUN Aerospace Expo Air Show are truly master pilots. Read below to learn more about each of our extraordinary performers.
In 1946, the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Chester Nimitz, had a vision to create a flight exhibition team in order to raise the public's interest in naval aviation and boost Navy morale. In the 1940's, we thrilled audiences with our precision combat maneuvers in the F6 Hellcat, the F8 Bearcat and the F9 Panther. During the 1950's, we refined our demonstration with aerobatic maneuvers in the F9 Cougar and F-11 Tiger and introduced the first six-plane delta formation, still flown to this day. By the end of the 1960's, we were flying the F-4 Phantom, the only two seat aircraft flown by the delta formation. In 1974, we transitioned to the A-4 Skyhawk, a smaller and lighter aircraft with a tighter turning radius allowing for a more dynamic flight demonstration. In 1986, we celebrated our 40th Anniversary by unveiling the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet, which we still fly to this day.
Mike Goulian doesn’t just fly an air show; he attacks it. Millions of air show spectators around the globe have witnessed the ferocity of a Mike Goulian air show performance. Every roll, pull, and tumble of his flight is a deliberate execution of precision. With his aggressive approach to the air show arena, Mike Goulian has mastered the ability to convey his message of passion through flight. He is also a contender in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. There he competes in the prestigious Master Class, flying at exotic venues in front of millions of people around the world. Despite Mike’s successes he remains humble and accessible to organizers and fans alike. This rare combination has made Mike Goulian an unforgettable air show favorite.
Greg Koontz learned to fly in 1969 getting his Private Pilot Certificate when he turned 17 years old. In his senior year in high school, Greg restored a 1946 Piper J-3 Cub in his mother’s garage and flew the antique plane for 300 hours to gain experience for a flying career. At age 20, Greg got his start in the airshow business when he bought another Piper Cub from Ernie Moser in St. Augustine, Florida. Today Greg is a full time airshow and aerobatics professional. Since 2003 he has been sponsored by American Champion Aircraft which supplies him with new Super Decathlons to demonstrate in front of millions of people each year.
Patty, one of the world’s top airshow pilots, flies thrilling, low-level aerobatic demonstrations before millions of people each year. Her breathtaking performances give airshow spectators a front-row seat view of the precision and complexity of modern, unlimited hard-core aerobatics. Her smooth aggressive style sets the standard for performers the world over.
Patty grew up in and around airplanes. Moving to Japan when she was nine years old where her father was a Captain for Japan Air Lines. Her earliest memories include sitting with her father at the controls of his airplanes. At ten years old when her father let her take the controls of his DC-6, her lifelong love affair with airplanes began.
Class of '45
The “Class of ‘45’s” origins are really quite simple. While watching practice at the Wings Over North Georgia airshow in October of 2013, pilots Jim Tobul and Scott Yoak were discussing the USAF’s Heritage and U S Navy’s Legacy flights.
Jim, owner of the F4U-4 Corsair “Korean War Hero”, and Scott, owner of the P-51D Mustang “Quick Silver” started talking about doing a formation flight of their own to honor the service personnel who flew and maintained these legendary American fighters. Both aircraft were the pinnacle of military technology at the time, technology that helped win the war in the European and Pacific Theaters in World War Two, and went on to continue the defense of freedom in the Korean War.