Bethpage Air Show is back with new routines, scripts, music

Skyward, the pilots will go, and down to the beach, the Long Islanders will head to the Bethpage Airshow over Memorial Day weekend, which will feature new aerobatic routines, new scripts and music – and a live alternative for anyone unable to attend.

The US Air Force Thunderbirds – for the first time since 1983 – have redesigned their performance, adding new maneuvers – including two, a heart and a low bomb explosion – will remind Islanders of the stunts performed by their rivals, the Snowbirds. of the Royal Canadian Air Force. and the navy angels of the United States.

A true Long Island Superstar, once built in East Farmingdale by Fairchild Republic – a US Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II – will also soar at the 17th annual airshow at Wantagh’s Jones Beach.

Along with many advanced technological upgrades, “this is still the exact same aircraft that rolled off the assembly line in the late 1970s and 1980s,” said Captain Haden “Gator” Fullam, commanding officer of the team during a telephone interview.

The U.S. Army Golden Knights paratroopers, who can be counted on for one of the most patriotic moments, will plant the American flag in the sand as they stick their landings right outside the Central Mall.

Aerobatic pilot and Bethpage regular David Windmiller from Long Island thinks he has a brand new waterfall, so original it still doesn’t have an official name: “A spiral tower was the best I’ve had. could find. “

The maneuver, when “the plane essentially makes somersaults on itself”, is the one he has been working on for about ten years. “I’ve never seen anyone else do it; maybe I’ll ask for credit.”

Returning after about a decade, aerobatic pilot David Goulian of Plymouth, Mass., Noted the extraordinary discipline required to fly so precisely and safely, comparing his spectacle to piloting a “Ferrari in the sky – and the world is. your scene ”.

The US Coast Guard will show how it finds and rescues swimmers – hopefully in much calmer waters than the 30-foot waves they sometimes face.

The war winning vintage planes will be flown by the American Airpower Museum Warbirds; GEICO Skytypers will describe WWII training maneuvers with messages as tall as the Empire State Building; and the Bayport Aerodrome Society and Farmingdale State College Aviation will present some of the early history of aviation.

Last year’s show, like so many events, was canceled due to COVID-19, and the 2021 show was changed. The parking lots will only be half full and participants, instead of wandering the promenade, must stay on the sand.

Tickets for the Friday rehearsal and the Saturday and Sunday shows sold out quickly; for the first time, Saturday’s show will be broadcast live by abc7ny.com, as well as WABC TV’s connected TV apps on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, and Roku. The rainy day broadcast live is Sunday.

“After a year and a half that we have all been through, we are delighted that the Bethpage Air Show is returning to Jones Beach,” said George Gorman, Long Island Regional Director for the National Parks, Recreation and Preservation Office. historical. “We can feel the excitement of the Long Islanders and the air show performers more than any other year,” added the show’s founder.

Military and civilian pilots, while noting that the shows circuit is both small and comrade, have touted different aspects of their machines and the performance they hope the crowds – which in previous years numbered in the hundreds thousands – will find fascinating.

The A-10 Thunderbolt II, called the Warthog because it was primarily designed as a flying tank, proved its worth by decimating armored ground forces in battles in the Middle East.

Unlike the Thunderbirds’ F-16s, whose engines can be heard long before the jets can be seen – and which fly so fast that participants often rely on the narrator to tell them where to look, the A-10 can stay. in the center of the show because this jet can make extremely tight turns – and descend much lower.

“We do what we think of as conventional aerobatic maneuvers, a lot of things you would see a civilian performer do,” the captain said, which “you wouldn’t think of a big 30,000 to 40,000 plane. pounds, a little awkward. could do. ” He added: “It’s a lot of fun, of course.”

This season, to honor the 93 killed or missing in Vietnam from the original A-10 unit, the 355th Fighter Wing, the jet has been repainted with all their names.

The Thunderbirds recreated their show, cutting their performance almost in half to 50 minutes, selecting new music and inventing new sensations.

One is the heart, a reason the Snowbirds are greatly admired, although the American team has made it their own, said pilot Major Kyle Oliver. “It basically takes the core and turns it on its side; it’s a cool optical maneuver for the crowd,” he said, and can be done even when low clouds prevent vertical stunts.

“The other standout maneuver we do in this show is the low bomb burst; this one we basically stole from the Blue Angels – except we perform it slightly differently,” he said. Spreading out like a fan, the jets start running again: “Looks like you have four planes all going to pass each other at the exhibition center.”

With these perfectly calculated near misses, he said: “You have a perfect demonstration of the trust we all have in each other.”

The F-16 is a veteran; the Thunderbirds started flying it in 1983. Although “it has brand new technology that makes it pretty much up to date,” said the Staff Sgt. Joshua Seda, keeping him ready for the flight, well, “It’s a colossal challenge,” and a challenge that this electrical and environmental technician finds satisfying.

Mainly responsible for oxygen systems, like anti-gravity suits that keep pilots from fainting, he added, “I really like to solve and solve a problem.”

The Coast Guard team, now only scheduled to perform on Saturday, when they descend from Cape Cod, will demonstrate the skills to soar above the waves and lower a swimmer to retrieve a training dummy. Only their arduous training makes it easy, said Lt. Robert Turley.

“Coast Guard bread and butter comes out in conditions where most people don’t want to fly.” He added, “I mean it’s tough, but every pilot in the air station trains every week throughout the year, so we can make it a routine.”

All this dedication, this will and this aptitude is a tribute to the armed forces for the preservation of the nation. The Thunderbird pilot said: “This is a great opportunity for us to reflect on the sacrifices of those who have come before us.”


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