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John Bowman Passes

Air Show Hall of Fame Inductee John Bowman Passes

A native of Long Beach, California, John is best known as the lead pilot of the Red Baron Stearman Squadron. Earlier in his life, he served in the army as a paratrooper and in the army choir.  He was a man of many talents and interests, including a love of music and woodworking.John Bowman

John moved to Colorado where he became a pilot and CFI at the Boulder Municipal Airport and also flew the traffic report for a local radio station. He eventually learned aerobatics and was hired by Red Baron Pizza to barnstorm, tow banners, and give rides in an antique Stearman biplane. As Red Baron Pizza became larger, they formed an aerobatic team, with John flying lead pilot at air shows across the country for 25 years. The Red Baron Stearman Squadron received the Art Scholl Memorial Showmanship Award and was inducted into the Air Show Hall of Fame. After leaving Red Baron, he continued his love of teaching and aviation by returning to flight instruction and became known as the local authority on mountain flying.

One of his closest friends, Bill Stein, said “John Bowman was a great friend and a consummate Air show professional. He was proud of what he did with the Red Baron‘s squadron from the very early banner towing to help Red Baron‘s Gibbs campaign to leading the team for over two and a half decades. The years that I spent flying around the country with John spreading the word of Aviation and Pizza were some of the favorite times of my life. He loved the industry and everyone in the industry loved him.”

Throughout his aviation career, John was a member of ICAS.  He served as a board member and volunteer for the ICAS Foundation, which helps to support aviation training, preserve history, and assist families of those in the air show industry in times of need.  His deep-seated love of aviation and strong commitment to helping young people was the driving force of his involvement with the ICAS Foundation’s Scholarship Programs for many years.

John's generosity of time and talent knew no bounds.  He donated several of his original, hand-made guitars to some of the Foundation’s auctions and participated in all of the “ICAS Has Talent” shows.

John passed away on July 9, 2021, at the age of 76.  He is survived by his wife of 15 years, Karen (nee Pilzner), son Alan (Altrecia), daughter Summer (Roger), and two grandchildren: Alana and Emmaline.  A Celebration of John’s life will be held this fall.

It was John’s wish that memorial donations should be made to the ICAS Foundation. 

You may make your gift in memoriam or with a gift sent via:

Traditional Mail

ICAS Foundation
205 Van Buren Street
Suite 120
Herndon, VA  20170

Online - PayPal

Upcoming Dates


December 6-9, 2021 • ICAS Convention in Las Vegas
December 31, 2021 • Scholarship Applications Due
August 31, 2022 • Hall of Fame Nominations Due

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