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2009 Air Shows

Greater Binghamton Air Show, New York, July 4-5, 2009

Location: Binghamton Regional Airport, Johnson City, New York
Admission: Adult $15, Child $10
Parking: $4.00 off site, transfer by bus
Value: Excellent
Traditionally, Binghamton is not one of the larger air shows in the USA, but one of the better ones in the Norhteast. For this year the Blue Angels, the US Navy’s premier flight demonstration team, in my opinion the best in the USA, were the major headliners.
Even before I got to the Binghamton Air Show, it had an aura that this will be a well organized show. First impressions do count a great deal, as I received my media pass, complete with parking pass, map as how to get to the airport and layout of the air show about a week prior to the start of the air show. This indicated to me that the folks at the Binghamton airport were on the ball. This was refreshing from the previous air show I attended in New York State, where I had to run around in a strange city, without much direction as to where exactly and who to see to receive my pass.
I arrived on Thursday, and saw a small glimpse of the Blue Angels as they were practicing some of their maneuvers. On Friday I wanted to go and see the arriving aircraft, but the weather was far from ideal until about 4 pm, with sudden showers on and off erratically. By the time I got to the airport, most had arrived. To my surprise I did not see any other photographers from the media or otherwise after 4 pm. They are usually hanging around at such events. I asked the operation supervisor of the airport if I could get in to take some static photos, and I was let in, and driven out to the tarmac. About one hour later I was picked up. I appreciated the help; thank you Tom!
The flight line layout at Binghamton is a bit different, see the layout above, than at most air show, perhaps due to the fact that it is an operational airport, on both days there were some slight delays in the event to allow for the regional airliners to land and to take off as per their schedule. This was not an inconvenience, as it gave the crowds time to visit the concession stands or visit the facilities, which were plenty. The refreshments were quite steep, $3.00 for a bottle of water is a bit much folks!
Featured teams besides the USN Blue Angels, were the USAF F-16 West Coast Team, US Army Golden Knights Parachute Team, the USMC AV-8B Harrier II Demo Team. All of them put on a great demonstration of their capabilities. Fat Albert of the Blue Angels demonstrated the JATO take off, which was great, but the view was partially blocked by the static two F-16 and the two Harriers parked in front of the flight line! There was an A-10 Thunderbolt II fly-by too.
There were a lack of WWII Warbirds, essentially there were only three: B-17 "Memphis Belle" (replica), a C-47 both of these from Geneseo, NY, and a B-25 “Briefing Time” from Reading, PA. Only the B-25 flew a short routine on both days. The vintage T-33 Thunderbird was a no show. There were civilian performers, including World Champion Rob Holland. Rob Holland dazzled the crowds with his excellent flying several times on both days! What a performer!!
The weather on Saturday was a bit chilly, with heavy dark clouds to sunny breaks and every variation in between. However, the clouds gave a dramatic backdrop for taking photos of the performing aircraft. On Sunday it was much better and mostly sunny.
My over all expression of the show was very good and well organized. The only consideration for improvement apart from more WWII warbirds: many volunteers applied to receive tickets for their children “as working volunteers” and some were running around on the flight line side of the fence bumping into media photographers or even blocking them from taking proper photos. I believe that children should not be able to do this and there should be an age limit for the volunteers.
I would recommend the Binghamton Air show as an excellent entertainment for the whole family and well worth visiting next year!

The list of some of the warbirds at the show:

F-18 Hornet of the Blue Angels

C-130 Fat Albert of the Blue Angels

F-16 Viper West Demo Team

USMC Harrier II Demo Team

B-25 "Briefing Time"

B-17 "Memphis Belle" static

C-47 Skytrain

Aero L-29 Delfin

KC-135R Stratotanker static

C-5 Galaxy static

A-10 Thunderbolt II fly-by

Rating: 9.6 out of 10
 
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