Deke Slayton Airfest
The Deke Slayton Airfest is an event that takes place periodically at the La Crosse Regional Airport (KLSE) in western Wisconsin. The show utilizes Runway 18-36 for performers to launch and recover as well as being the showline for displays. With the crowd located to the west of this, near the threshold of Runway 13, the sunlight for photography continues to improve during the afternoon program.
The Deke Slayton Airfest was back in 2021 after a seven year hiatus. The show featured the F-16 Viper Demo Team and the F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team from the Air Force and was headlined by the US Navy Flight Demonstration Team, the Blue Angels. Organizers chose a drive-in style format due to the coronavirus restrictions that were in place in the months leading up to the event, but due to a relaxation of constraints, the format was relaxed and guests were free to move about the grounds.
On Saturday, June 12, I made a last minute decision to attend and was very happy with my decision to spend the day in La Crosse. While the F-16CM and F-35A were impressive, my main interest was the performance by the Blue Angels in their new Super Hornets. The weather and lighting were perfect at the time of their routine and I was rewarded with an abundance of beautiful pictures of their blue and yellow jets. I also enjoyed the atmosphere at this fairly small event and the only suggestion I would make going forward is an increase in the number of portable toilets. While I would attend the Deke Slayton Airfest again in the future, the rumour is that the next show may not take place until 2024, continuing the irregularity of this event. (previous shows were in 2014 and 2005)