The 15th annual Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach will be bringing out a who’s who of airborne civilian and military performers, including the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, well-known stunt flyer Sean Tucker making his last solo run and a Flying Fortress in its air show debut, all to give the crowd on the beach a roaring, zooming, free-falling flying start to a Long Island summer. A larger than usual crowd is expected to show up to be dazzled by the Blue Angels, one of the world’s oldest flight demonstration squadrons, and a perennially popular part of the air show’s display of military might. “Long Islanders have a special connection with the Blue Angels due to their history of flying Grumman aircraft,” says George Gorman, state parks deputy regional director. Gorman says that “more Long Islanders come to see the Blue Angels than any other performer.” Their last appearance two years ago drew a record-breaking 453,000 spectators. Here’s this year’s line-up of magnificent women, men and their vintage to state-of-the-art flying machines.
AIRCRAFT The U.S. Air Force's newest fighter aircraft has a 44-foot wingspan and state-of-the-art technology, and is designed "to project air dominance, rapidly and at great distances," according to the Air Force website.THE SHOW Precision aerial maneuvers.
The Blue Angels
AIRCRAFT: Six FA-18 Hornets. THE SHOW: The six jets fly in a diamond formation, close formation and in perform breathtaking Top Gun-style head-to-head maneuvers.
Boeing B-17 Yankee Lady
AIRCRAFT: The Boeing B-17, nicknamed the "Flying Fortress," is a four-engine heavy bomber aircraft developed in the 1930s for the United States Air Force, which is visiting the American Airpower Museum through Memorial Day. THE SHOW: Low level passes over the water in front of the audience. The ship's bomb-bay doors will be opened, and its wings tipped so the crowd can take photographs of the topside.
United States Army Golden Knights Parachute Team
AIRCRAFT: A C-31A Friendship modified with two large doors for jumping, and a UV-18 deHavilland Twin Otter short take-off-and-landing aircraft that can accommodate 14 parachute jumps quickly after take off, according to the U.S. Army official website. THE SHOW: A Golden Knights aerial demonstration usually includes sky-divers passing a baton and flying the U.S. flag.
The Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds
AIRCRAFT: CT-114 Tutor, a bright red-and-white student pilot trainer with a roaring turbojet engine, now flown primarily by 431 Squadron's Snowbirds. THE SHOW: Active duty Royal Canadian Air Force pilots perform low-level acrobatic flying.
AIRCRAFT: Custom-built Oracle Challenger II biplane. THE SHOW: Tucker is a Bethpage Air Show veteran who performs a range of aerobatic stunts.
American Airpower Museum "Warbirds"
AIRCRAFT: In addition to the Yankee Lady Flying Fortress, the aviation museum at Republic Airport is showing off a WWII B-25 Mitchell bomber, a Curtiss P-40 Warhawk single engine fighter and a Grumman Avenger torpedo bomber. THE SHOW: Flight demonstrations and formation passes up and down the beach, slow enough to Instagram.
AIRCRAFT Extra 330LX two-seat low-wing, aerobatic monoplane. THE SHOW Solo pilot Matt Chapman performs aerobatic moves.
The Geico Skytypers
AIRCRAFT: Six World War II-era North American SNJ fighter trainers. THE SHOW: Low-level precision formation flying and skywriting.
106th Rescue Wing, Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base, Westhampton Beach
AIRCRAFT: HC-130 military transport aircraft, HH-60 helicopter. THE SHOW: Members of the New York Air National Guard's 106th Rescue Wing perform a flyby demonstration.
AIRCRAFT: Zivko Edge 540, a 1,100 pound single-engine competition airplane equipped with a custom-built 400 HP Penn-Yan engine. THE SHOW: Windmiller, a Melville real estate executive and longtime civilian pilot, performs high-speed aerobatics including rolls, gyroscopic maneuvers, somersaults, tumbles and loop-the-loops.
Farmingdale State College Flying Rams
AIRCRAFT: Five single-engine Piper PA28 Warriors training aircraft, the college's aviation workhorse since 2003. THE SHOW: Recent Farmingdale State College aviation alumni fly single file along the beach and then in an oval pattern over the ocean. Michael Canders, Aviation Center Director, narrates from the ground.