By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com
A capacity crowd of 181,000 turned out at Jones Beach State Park for the 2022 Bethpage Air Show on Sunday, May 29 (after the Saturday show was all but cancelled due to poor weather).
Viewers were thrilled to see The United States Army Golden Knights Parachute Team making their 16th appearance at Jones Beach, military performers including the Air Combat Command F-22 Raptor, the U.S. Navy F-35C Tac Demonstration Team, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the 106th Rescue Wing NY Air National Guard HC – 130 / HH 60 Demonstration Team.
They witnessed the daring do of Jessy Panzer, a renowned female aerobatic pilot, flying for her second time at Jones Beach in a bi-plane; three of the American Air Power Museum’s flying fleet of Warbirds; the SUNY Farmingdale State College Flying Rams; Long Island’s own David Windmiller; and Mike Goulian, the most decorated aerobatic pilot in North America.
Also, the world-famous Skytypers, who are based at Republic Airport (and basically invented and patented skytyping) demonstrated thrilling combat maneuvers in their flight squadron of five vintage WWII aircraft.
The US Air Force Thunderbirds headlined the 16th Annual Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, flying the thrilling red, white and blue F-16s. The event over Memorial Day Weekend draws almost 400,000 in the course of three days.
Most thrilling at this year’s Memorial Day weekend
Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach, Long Island, were the number of women doing
the most daring feats: US Air Force Thunderbirds pilot Michelle Curran,
commanding the “Opposing Solo”; Jessy Panzer, the only civilian woman aerobatic pilot in the
country, mimicking the astonishing stunts of Sean D. Tucker, a “living legend”
of aerobatics; Golden Knights parachutist Maj. Marissa Chierichella and the Red
Bull Air Force sky diving team had Amy Chmelecki.
This was the 16th
annual Jones Beach air show – I’ve seen almost all of them – and though many of
the performances repeat year after year, or follow a two-year cycle, this show
was particularly exciting with the infusion of new energy.
The headliners, the US Air Force
Thunderbirds, are a team of
six F-16 Fighting Falcons that roar through the skies, to demonstrate the power
and dexterity of these fighting crafts. Most thrilling is when the two opposing
solos race at each other at combined speed of 1000 mph.
We were treated to the final appearance of Sean D. Tucker’s specially-engineered plane that enables him to do feats never before imagined, the Oracle Challenger 3, will be donated to the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum in Washington, where it will be part of a new Thomas W. Haas We All Fly gallery, opening in 2021.
This year, for the first time, Tucker flew in tandem
with Jessy Panzer, the only female civilian air show pilot in the USA. Together,
Team Oracle performed the most
exquisite, thrilling pas de deux in flight, with incredible precision at 200
miles mph, at bone-crushing G-forces, with Panzer magnificently following the
smoke trails of Tucker. Her skill is all the more apparent since she is flying
a different plane from the Oracle Challenger 3 biplane. And the back-story –
that each were afraid of flying initially, he because his father was an
aviation lawyer who knew all too well the risks, and she because her father
died in an airplane crash.
GEICO Skytypers, a team of advanced training aircraft used in World War II, are
fascinating because they demonstrate actual fighting techniques – an implosion
run where they evade the enemy by actually flying into each other to create
confusion, missing each other by mere feet; opposing craft which come at each
other at incredible speed.
traditionally kicks off with a ceremonial parachute drop by a representative of
the US Army Parachute Team, the Golden Knights, delivering the
American flag to a tiny target on Jones Beach. The whole team then returns for
a demonstration performance. They barrel out of their plane from an altitude of
12,500 ft, at a speed of 120 mph before pulling the cord to release their
parachute; in one demonstration we see what happens when a chute fails at just
5,000 ft. (they have a spare chute). We learn that the parachutes they use, use
the same aeronautical techniques as the original Wright Brothers plane in 1903.
Red Bull Air
Force launch out of a plane from 13,000 feet, speeding like
a cannon ball at almost 200 mph, crossing in flight, before releasing the
parachute, and sailing down at 60 mph to the target. The helicopter is the only
aerobatic helicopter in the US.
The F-18 Super
Hornet, traveling at 700 mph, nearly breaking the sound
barrier, where the pilot experiences bone-crushing Gs. The fighter is flown by the United States Navy and Marines
flying for Embry Riddle, performs maneuvers in which he experiences as much as
9 positive Gs and 6 negative Gs.
John Klatt Airshows
and Jack Link’s Beef Jerky teamed up to create a one-of-a-kind plane, the Screamin’
Sasquatch, powered by dual powerplants: a Pratt & Whitney 985 Radial
Engine and a General Electric CJ610 (J85) Jet Engine with 3,000 lbs of thrust.
This system allows the plane to achieve feats other stunt planes are unable to
do. During his performance, Ret. USAF Lt Colonel John Klatt experiences forces
of plus and minus 4Gs, which means a 200 lb. man would weigh 800 lbs. He
travels at 250 mph. Considering the ridiculous aerobatics Klatt performs in the
plane, it is astonishing to learn that the plane is a Taperwing Waco made
famous by the barnstormers of the 1920s and 1930s, and is based on a 1929 Waco,
modified and “beefed up” big time.
Windmiller, Long Island’s
hometown hero (from Melville), thrills spectators in his Zivko Edge 540
aircraft, built especially for aerobatics, with seemingly impossible feats at
speeds of up to 220 mph that keep his peers and his fans in awe. Windmiller has
been flying since 14 year old, soloed at 16 year old and started aerobatic
flying before he got his license and has accumulated 18,000 flight hours,
including 8,000 doing aerobatics. He performs snap rolls, inverted flat spin
(where the plane falls from the sky), 4 knife edge tumblers, inside-outside
US Coast Guard demonstrated a rescue by helicopter into churning seas – on a typical
day, the Coast Guard, with fewer members than can fit in Yankee Stadium, save
15 lives, patrol some 96,000 miles of coastline through the US, as well as
South China Seas, Pacific, Persian Gulf and wherever the US has forces.The air
show also pays homage to aviation’s heritage.
Bayport Aerodrome Society, formed
in 1972 ands composed of aviation professionals, recreational pilots, and
people interested in preserving aviation history, flies aircraft from the 1920s.
As a “living museum” they have a variety of antique aircraft flying on the
field including Bi-Planes, Champs, and Cubs. One of their pilots, is 92-year
old pilot who served in World War II, who flew with his grandson.
World War II vintage aircraft from the American Air Power
Museum, at Republic Airport (flights available over Memorial
Day weekend) were flown, including the B-25 Mitchell Bomber used in the “Catch
22” series on Hulu.