Hollister Airshow makes successful sixth flight on Father’s Day weekend

Spectators enjoy annual show at Hollister Airport under clear skies and with warm temperatures

Blue and breezy skies greeted spectators at the sixth annual Hollister Airshow on June 20 and 21.

As pilots and performers gathered for a pre-show meeting, spectators wandered the grounds of the Hollister Airport, viewing static displays of gliders, military aircraft—including an F-18 Hornet—and vintage automobiles.

Mike Chambless, the Hollister Airport director, was on-hand Saturday and Sunday, making sure things ran smoothly. Although he didn't have any final numbers as of Monday, he said attendance was decent.

“The crowd looked a little light (Saturday), but I was running around, so I only got one chance to really look,” Chambless said. "Attendance was good on Sunday."

Hollister’s own Kevin Walker opened the Saturday show, demonstrating his flight skills in a Czechoslovakian L-39C Albatros. As he created streaks in the clear sky, he chatted and answered questions posed from the MC booth.

Following the National Anthem and flag presentation by the American Legion, the flights continued with Vicky Benzing—the only female pilot to perform at the show—showing off her aerobatic skills in her Extra 300S.

“I just love to fly,” said Benzing, who earned a pilot’s license in 1982.

Plane enthusiasts enjoyed the aerobatics of Spencer Suderman—who earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2014 for his completion of 81 inverted flat spins—flight demos by Carl Liepold, a tribute to American veterans by Steve Stavrakakis and motorcycle stunts by Jason Pullen and his crew.

For kids in attendance who needed a little more hands-on fun, there was the kids zone, with a rock-climbing wall, giant hamster-like balls to roll around in and a painting project—a white plane with sections for children to show their artistic skills.

As Bill Newman Sr. and the Supertug brought out onto the runway World War II fighter planes for the warbirds parade to close the show, spectators were treated to a Pitts vs. Harley Davidson race between pilot Suderman and motorcyclist Pullen. When asked by the MC who would win the race that went the length of the runway and back to the starting point, most of the crowd cheered for the Harley Davidson. However, Suderman and his Pitts pulled out the win Saturday.

Closing out the festivities was the warbirds of flight parade, in which six World War II fighter jets took off from the runway and circled the airport in formation.

Chambless was pleased with the weekend overall and was grateful for the support the airshow received.

"I'm very pleased that we had another safe event," he said. "I think families that attended the event enjoyed it very much. I wish to thank my staff, the volunteers, the Hollister Fire Department and the Hollister Police Department for all their hard work."

For more photos from the airshow, visit the BenitoLink Facebook page.


Andrea "Andi" Joseph is a freelance editor, writer and photographer with a journalism degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She was the Lifestyles Editor for the Hollister Free Lance, Gilroy Dispatch and Morgan Hill Times for nearly 11 years, and has also worked for the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian and the Arroyo Grande Times-Press-Recorder. Andi enjoys hiking, traveling and exploring with her dog, Bailey.