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Air Show Narration & Sound Services

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Anderson, South Carolina 29625

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hugh@proairshow.com

 

The Skyhawk Aerobatic Team

 

The Skyhawks, a group of Carolina pilots, formed a unit airshow that existed from the late '70's through the 80's.

 

(Click on the pages to read the article published in 1985)

 

The Team consisted of (left to right):

Hugh Oldham, Wayne Parrish, Danny Byrum, John Stone, Kim Pearson, Tam Byrum.

 

The four pilots, Wayne, Danny, John and Kim, flew 5 different acts, add some local skydivers and you had a full show:

 

 

Lead by retired USAF LtCol. Stone, the opening act was a three-plane Pitts formation aerobatic routine.

 

The John flew an S-2A while Kim is in an S-2B and Danny, in an -2A kept asking John to throttle back and give him the extra power necessary to keep up with Col. Stone who had flown both F-4's and B-52's over the unfriendly skies of North Viet Nam.

 

 

 

Stone's leadership and experience made the threesome a great team - light hearted and fun but serious aviators who drove for perfection.

 

 

Not bad for an Eagle and two Spring Chicks is it!

 

After the three-plane landed, Wayne Parrish flew a wild solo act in one of the first modern mono-planes on the airshow circuit.  He consistently snookered his narrator with his impromptu  maneuvering, low level triple snaps, and highly entertaining routines.  His Russell Acro is on the left in this photo.

While Wayne was tearing up the sky, Danny changed in to scrubs and assumed the persona of "Mad Murdock" a character from the "A-Team," a popular TV show at the time. 

The announcer, Hugh Oldham, set-up the crowd with announcements that "Mad Murdock" has escaped from the nearest VA Hospital and was planning to steal an airplane (a common plot line of the TV show) and was last seen headed to whatever town the Team was playing.

Pure vaudeville but it worked every time: "Murdock" would burst from the crowd, seal the J-3 and perform some outlandish maneuvering before cutting on the Cub's smoke system and performing a graceful aerobatic routine.  Danny was one of the best "stick and rudder men" ever seen, a real natural with an airplane.

As Byrum's routine wound down, Tam would fire up a specially modified pick-up truck and head for the runway.  Danny and Tam would then coordinate (no radios) a truck top landing, making sure Danny "missed" at least once to add more excitement.

On days with a high wind Hugh's son Clif, starting when he was about 10 years old, would ride in the back of the pick-up and grab the tail of the J-3.  His extra weight would hold down the J-3's tail as Tam drove downwind.  He was billed as "The World's Youngest Professional Tail Catcher."  Again pure Vaudeville!

 

When the Car Top Landing act was over, it was time for the headliner: a young Kim Pearson from Sumter South Carolina.

Kim had flown right wing in the three ship act but now he got to really strut his stuff!

Hard charging, intense and highly self-motivated, Kim consistently took his aircraft to the fine feathered edge of the performance envelop.

You get an idea of that intensity is this photo, taken out the Ops Shack at a small southern town's airport:

Kim always dressed in black and white, just as the paint scheme on his airplane.  Never a hair out of place nor a grease stain on him or his plane, the Team always joked that Kim was coated with Teflon.  Tom Cruise could use him as a role model for Top Gun.

Kim performed the lowest, flew the fastest and always gave 110% at every performance.

Kim's "Tricks In Mid-Air" on YouTube

With Kim's inverted ribbon cut, the show was over and the crowd left well entertained.

As with all things, after several years the Skyhawks drifted apart, They each went their own way: Kim to the airlines, Wayne to test flying some exotic airplanes we can't talk about, Danny to towing banners along Myrtle Beach SC, and Hugh - he's still running his mouth.

Each Skyhawk surely looks back on those years as their personal "Golden Age of Airshows."

Maybe the most amazing thing is that they are all still alive - Col Stone taught them well: have fun and live to tell about it.

 

 

In the early 1980's the Skyhawks appeared in a PM Magazine segment.  To view that program click on the link below:

 

http://youtu.be/rZNJHl9VAYI

 

 

 

 

 

More Airshow History? Click here.

 

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