Fox Valley Aero Club presents Top Gun RC Air Show June 16-18

  • Check out the ninth annual Windy City Warbirds & Classics 2022 Event and RC Air Show on June 16-18 in St. Charles.

    Check out the ninth annual Windy City Warbirds & Classics 2022 Event and RC Air Show on June 16-18 in St. Charles. Courtesy of Fox Valley Aero Club

Updated 6/4/2022 10:26 PM

Aircraft of Aces from World War II will fill the skies over St. Charles.

The Fox Valley Aero Club is having their ninth annual Windy City Warbirds & Classics 2022 Event and RC Air Show on June 16-18.


This three-day community air show featuring "Aircraft of Aces" from World War II. Learn more about the historic significance of World War II ace pilots and their airplanes. You will see Giant Scale RC Airplanes and their pilots demonstrate their combat aviation flight skills. You can watch them earn their "Flying Ace Wings" during the three-day event. An ace pilot during World War II needed to shoot down five enemy aircraft to be considered a "Flying Ace Pilot."

During World War II, control of the skies was very important to keep ground troops safe and to know where and what an enemy was doing. There were no spy satellites to keep track of enemy troop movements. There were no drones without pilots. The pilots were the onboard computers for World War II fighter planes. Individual planes flown by highly experienced fighter pilots were how the battle for the skies was fought. These dogfights, as they were often called, were fought within yards of each other with the planes having over 2000 horsepower, the ability to fly over 440 mph, and the ability to do maneuvers of sharp twists and turns.

John Fischer, event chairman, says: "These Aircraft of Aces planes may be radio controlled model airplanes but they are giant and they are loud. We will have over 65 guest RC Pilots and over 120 Giant Scale RC Model Aircraft with wingspans 6 to 15 feet or more. There will be flight demonstrations all day and a noon time air show on Saturday, June 18. Following the air show, we will have a candy drop from an RC airplane for the kids and an open flight line where the whole family can see the airplanes up close. It is very rare to see so many giant scale RC Warbirds and Classics Aircraft gathered in one location."

Planes will be flying from 9:15 a.m. to approximately 5 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 9:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday at Fox Valley Aero Club, 3831 Karl Madsen Drive in St. Charles. On June 18 at noon, there will be an air show with kids candy drop and open flight line following. Food service on site. Event T-shirts, hats, and posters will also be available.

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The entrance fee is $10 or $5 for teenagers; free for kids 12 and under. Tickets are good for all 3 days. Visit

Dale Gathman, Fox Valley Aero Club president, states: "Each day a pilot flies in our event they will receive a Flying Ace 'Kill' sticker from Fox Valley Aero Club for that day of flying. For every two demonstration flights, our guest pilots fly their giant scale aircraft, they will earn an additional WCWC 'Kill' sticker. Once they have earned the official five 'Kill' stickers they will receive an official WCWC 2022 Flying Ace Wings award. The pilots will be competing to see who will be the top ace by earning the most 'Kill' stickers."

The fighter pilot flying the aircraft credited with the five or more victories is called an ace pilot. Although aces only account for an estimated 5% of all combat pilots, they collectively claimed about one-third of all air victories in World War II. The U.S. had over 1,297 ace pilots during this time period.

To feel some of the emotion from flying a giant RC Plane, read what John Fischer has to say:

"I hit the starter button as I leaned into the engine spinner and felt the kick of the prop for the first time. Instantly I knew it was good to start. The reward of years of building giant scale warbirds would soon once again thrill my soul. The endless dust, sanding, and painting were about to delight me beyond words as the giant scale gas engine jumped to life with a deep throated roar and smooth vibration. My fellow RC Pilots held the plane down while the vibration of the engine moved through their bones and nerves. The engine pulled on the firewall and they fought to hold down the beast. We felt great pride as we were about to fly the custom-built scale replica model aircraft flown by one of our favorite Flying Aces we had read about in our youth. I smiled at my friends Dave Cotton and Armin Weber as they held the plane by the wings and I gave it full throttle. They grabbed the wings tighter as I held the throttle control wide open for a few seconds longer just to enjoy the moment. Their hats blew off and I laughed. Damn, I love this hobby I thought to myself. I wondered what it was like to fly a full scale Warbird? I wondered what an ace pilot felt about his aircraft."


Robert S. Johnson, a World War II ace pilot who destroyed 27 enemy aircraft, comments regarding his first time in a Thunderbolt Aircraft:

"I hit the starter switch. Deep inside her belly the Thunderbolt groaned, a straining rumble sounding for all the world like a giant dynamo coming alive. Ahead of me the four propeller blades turned slowly, then began to move faster as the Pratt & Whitney gained in power. The rumble increased in pitch, the blades became a blur. Suddenly the cranking and rumbling vanished, to be replaced by a tremendous, throaty roar, a bass of power such as I'd never heard. I cracked the throttle forward a fraction of an inch and the fighter sang of power, a symphony of thunder, alive and ready to howl at the slightest movement of my fingers."

When Robert S. Johnson first saw a Thunderbolt, it was love at first sight. The P-47B was a giant with a 2,000 horsepower engine; not very pretty on the ground, but every inch a powerful machine, rugged and sturdy with all the mass of a tank. He scrutinized the tremendous four-bladed propeller. In each wing rested four 50 caliber machine guns, giving the Thunderbolt the ability to throw 7,200 rounds of lead per minute!

During World War II, the United States had 1,297 ace pilots and the United Kingdom had 753 aces. On the opposing side Germany had more than 2,500 aces, Italy 166 aces, while Japan had only 335. These numbers are quite deceptive as many ace pilots shot down more than five planes (the requirement to become an ace), but many American pilots shot down fewer than five. However the United States and Britain had so many planes and pilots in the air our plane loss overall was less than the Axis Powers.

Basically there were 11 planes used by American ace pilots during World War II: P-38 Lockheed Lightning, P-39 Bell Airacobra, P-40 Curtiss Warhawk, P-47 Republic Thunderbolt, P-51 North American Mustang, P-61 Northrop Black Widow, P-63 Bell Kingcobra, F2A Brewster Buffalo, F4F Grumman Wildcat, and F4U Vought Corsair.

Tom Flint, public relations director of Fox Valley Aero Club, states: "As I read about the different aircraft used by World War II aces and their personal commentary about their airplanes, I noticed a personal commitment to each aircraft and often repeating comments and thoughts about their aircraft. Almost every ace pilot spoke of the durability of the plane and how it could get them home after receiving many direct or indirect hits. Many talked about the power, speed, guns, and range."

Here are some pilot comments about four famous World War II aircraft.

P38 Lightning

Richard Bong was a skilled gunner and because the P-38 had a steady gun platform he had superior firepower compared to the Zero and Oscar.

He advised his squadron mates "to put the gun muzzle in the … (enemy's) cockpit"

Richard Bong was the country's top flying ace of World War II, credited with shooting down 40 Japanese aircraft, all with the Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter.

F4U Corsair

Pappy Boyington states: "Months of preparation, one of those few opportunities, and the judgment of a split second are what makes some pilots an ace, while others think back on what they could have done." Pappy would often pick the Corsair in the worst shape and fly it to assure his new recruits the dependability of the F4U Corsair.

Pappy Boyington shot down 25 planes during his career.

P51 Mustang

Bud Anderson on the P-51: "Take-offs and landings were a bit tricky, but in the air, the Mustang was pleasant and forgiving to fly. Best of all, it went like Hell. The Mustang carried fuel enough to pursue and destroy the enemy once you'd flown to the target, and it could turn on a dime. We sensed it was special, even before we measured it against what the enemy pilots were flying."

Bud Anderson shot down 17 enemy aircraft and flew in World War II and Vietnam.

P47 Thunderbolt

Robert S Johnson about his P47 states: "There are twenty-one gaping holes and jagged tears in the metal from exploding 20mm cannon shells. Every square foot it seems is covered with holes. There are five holes in the propeller. Two cannon shells blasted away the lower half of my rudder. The airplane had done her best. Needless to say, she would never fly again.

Robert Johnson had great success with the rugged dependable P47 Thunderbolt, shooting down 27 German planes over Europe.

Armin Weber, the FVAC event CD follows up with: "These Aircraft of Aces airplanes represent a time in history when the pilot was the onboard computer and his flight skills were admired by all of America. Our RC Pilots are again the onboard computer and will showcase the best in RC flight skills. This part of our American History is slowly being lost. It is important to bring your whole family to share this historic time of airplanes from World War II as well as warbirds from other eras and classic civilian planes. Our Windy City Warbirds & Classics event has much to offer and is our main fund raiser each year. Come join the fun and educational side of a great hobby."


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