2016 Event Review

New York Air Show, September 3-4, 2016
Location: Stewart International Airport, New Windsor, New York
Admission: Adult:
$30, Child: $15 for children under 13, Photo Pit ($88), and Flight Line VIP ($131)
Parking: Free, Reserved parking $15, $20 for VIP Parking.
Value:: Very Good
Rating out of 10: 8.5
 

 

For the second consecutive year, Stewart International Airport located in New Windsor, New York, hosted the New York Air Show. After the success of their 2015 air show - the first since 2003 - the organizers were excited for another opportunity to show off their beautiful airport while showcasing many of our finest military airplanes, their pilots and crew.

On a picture-perfect weekend, September 3rd and 4th, thousands and thousands of delighted spectators packed the grounds to take pictures of their favorite displays, talk with U.S. Air Force members eager to answer questions, and watch the spectacular maneuvers of our amazing pilots.

Headlining the event were our Thunderbirds consisting of six F-16 Fighting Falcons piloted by the best-of-our-best U.S. Air Force pilots. The Thunderbirds, also referred to as Vipers, were introduced in the the U.S. Air Force in 1978 as all-weather, multi-role aircraft focusing on air superiority as fighters equipped with an internal M61 Vulcan cannon and 11 locations for mounting weapons and other mission equipment. Their 65-person entourage consisting of 8 pilots, 4 support staff and dozens of maintenance personnel, traveled from their home at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada via a C-17 Globemaster III. Despite a grueling 6 day-a-week schedule for a 9 month season of 72 performances, the Thunderbirds were fresh and flawless. They wowed the crowd with their precise formations while maintaining wing distances that appeared non-existent and cross-over maneuvers that appeared like a guaranteed collision until the masterful pilots passed one another with ease. While several Thunderbirds distracted us with their performance, a few skirted behind the crowd to stun us all with their roaring flight overhead. After shocking us all with their sudden appearance you could hear wow's, laughs and applause from the delighted crowd.

The GEICO Skytypers aerobatic team was on-hand to perform stunts using SNJ-2 World War IIera planes. They are called Skytypers because they perform low-level maneuvers while creating aerial smoke messages.
A fan favorite, the F/A-18 Hornet jolted the crowd with its maneuvers and high-speed pass. This twin-engine supersonic, all-weather, multi-role combat jet was designed as both a fighter and attack aircraft (hence the F/A designation) and serves the US Navy and Royal Australian Air Force from aircraft carriers and bases ashore. It has a top speed in excess of Mach 1.8 and can carry air-to-air misses and air-to-surface weapons, supplemented by a 20mm M61 Vulcan cannon. The fighter's primary missions are fighter escort, fleet air defense, Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD), air interdiction, close air support, and aerial reconnaissance.

The size of a whale, the huge C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft seemed to effortlessly glide of the runway. The C-17 is the home-town aircraft, flown by Stewart's 105th Airlift Wing of the National Guard. Developed for the U.S. Air Force performs tactical and strategic airlift missions, transporting troops and cargo throughout the world. The first C-17 squadron, the 17th Airlift Squadron, became operationally ready on January 17, 1995. Since that time, the C-17 has broken 22 records for oversized payloads and was awarded the Collier Trophy, the U.S. aviation's most prestigious award. The C-17 accompanies the President of the United States on domestic and international trips. It is used to transport the Presidential Limousine and security detachments. There have been several occasions where the C-17 has been used to transport the President, himself, temporarily being assigned the Air Force One call sign. In addition to providing service in the United States, the C-17 is also used by the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, NATO Heavy Airlift Wing, India, and Kuwait.

The Black Knights, West Point's Parachute Team, provided a precision free-fall demonstration. During their performance the Team worked together to build various formations then separated to deploy their canopies to demonstrate their accuracy skills by landing on a target placed on the ground. The Black Knights participate in the National Collegiate Parachuting Competition, winning the title in 2013.

The pristine B-25 "Panchito" performed at the air show - its twin 1700 horsepower to Wright R-2600 engines rumbling in the sky. The B-25 was designed as a medium bomber, built to operate at altitudes between 8,000 and 12,000 feet. While the basic configuration remained the same throughout its production over 9,800 aircraft, there were many changes to its armament depending on the squadron's mission. The armament variations included 75mm cannons, rockets, and up to eighteen .50 caliber machine guns. Some B-25's were modified to carry torpedoes. While the B-25's most famous mission was the Doolittle raid, B-25's played a much larger role throughout World War II. They were used in all theaters of the war from Alaska to North Africa, China, Europe and he Southwest Pacific. B-25's wee flown by the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps, as well as the air forces of Britain, Canada, Australia, Russian, China, Brazil and the East Indies. The "Panchito", whose crew consisted of combat veterans and recent trainee graduates, was assigned to the 41st Bomb Group - the first unit to attack the Japanese home islands since the Doolittle Raids. The crew was preparing for their August 13, 1945 mission when at 5 o'clock in the morning when a loudspeaker announcement was made "Mission for today cancelled - and all planes will leave for Manila at dawn." Japan had surrendered.

An appearance was made by an Aero L-39 Albatros. This high-performance jet trainer was designed during he 1960's in Czechoslovakia Aero Vodochody. In order to minimize damage caused by inexperienced crew, this aircraft was designed with simplified onboard systems. Its low landing speeds and rugged design of its landing gear enabled this aircraft to be flown from difficult airstrips such as frozen lake beds. Several display teams, such as the Breitling Jet Team, use the L-39.

A U.S. Coast Guard Search and Rescue (SAR) Team provided a demonstration of their rescue techniques. SAR is one of the Coast Guard's oldest missions, involving multi-mission stations, cutters, aircraft and boats lined by communication networks. To meet their responsibilities, the Coast Guard maintains SAR facilities on the East, West and Gulf coasts; in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and Puerto Rico, as well as on the Great Lakes and inland U.S. waterways. The Coast Guard is recognized by the world as the leader in the field of search and rescue.

Kent Pietsch performed an aerobatic routine in his 800-pound, Interstate Cadet Jelly Belly plane. Kent fell in love with flying when he was four years-old. While growing up in North Dakota every day after school he would find his way to the airport and do whatever he could to get into an airplane. One of his unique stunts includes landing on the rooftop of a moving RV.
David Windmiller and his Zivko Edge 540 performed gymnastics in the sky executing gyroscopic tumbles, spins, aerial cartwheels, torque rolls and soaring feats of precision. The maximum aerobatic weight of the aircraft is 1,550 pounds. It can climb 3,700 feet per minute, roll 420 degrees per minute and is strong enough to withstand 20 Gs. Buck Roetman has been flying for over 35 years, experienced in more than 105 different types of airplanes, from Cubs to corporate jets, logging more than 13,500 hours of flight time. At the airshow, he flew his modified Christen Eagle with a Lycoming IO360 4 cylinder, 250 HP engine.

On display were many planes including a B-1B Lancer Bomber, a MH-53E Sea Dragon Helicopter, a C-130J Hercules airplane, and a F-16 from Vermont's Air National Guard Fighter Wing. The B-1B Lancer is a four-engine supersonic, variable-sweep wing, jet-powered, heavy strategic bomber used by the U.S. Air Force. It was manufactured as a low-level penetrator with long range and Mach 1.25 speed capability at high altitude. It entered service in 1986 with the USAF Strategic Air Command as a nuclear bomber. However, in the early 1990's it was converted to a conventional bomber. It served its first combat missions during Operation Desert Fox in 1998 and again during the NATO action in Kosovo in 1999. The B-1B has supported the U.S. and NATO in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is expected to continue to serve in the 2030's.

MH-53E Sea Dragon

The MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter currently has two missions - the Airborne Mine Counter Measure mission and the Navy Vertical Onboard Delivery mission. It incorporates GPS, Doppler Radar, and an Approach/Hover/Tow Coupler. Its overall length is 99 feet and stands at 28 feet, 4 inches. It weighs 69,750 pounds and can fly at speeds up to 172 miles per hour. It can fly up to 10,000 feet without supplemental oxygen and has a range of 770 nautical miles. Its crew consists of two pilots and 1-6 aircrew, depending on the mission.

The C-130J Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military aircraft capable of using unprepared runways. Although it was originally designed as a troop, medevac, and cargo transport aircraft, its versatile airframe has enabled it to be used in other roles, including as a gunship for airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refueling, maritime patrol, and aerial firefighting. It is now the main tactical airlifted for many military forces worldwide.

Vermont's Green Mountain Boys displayed one of their F-16 Fighting Falcons. The Green Mountain Boys originally started in the late 1760's as a militia to protect the settlers moving into Vermont. In 1775 the Green Mountain Boys became part of the Continental Army and defended our border with Canada. The 158th Fighter Wing was formed in 1946 and have used F-16's since the late 1980s. They have played an important role in protecting our country and interests. Most recently, following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Green Mountain Boys performed missions in support of Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Iraqi Freedom.

Performers included:

USAF Thunderbirds

GEICO Skytypers

USN F/A-18 Hornet

C-17 Globemaster

The Black Knights, West Point's Parachute Team

B-25 "Panchito"

L-39 Albatros

U.S. Coast Guard Search and Rescue (SAR) Team

Kent Pietsch - Interstate Cadet

David Windmiller - Zivko Edge 540

Buck Roetman - Christen Eagle

 

Report and photography by Brian R. Veprek for The Aviation Magazine

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