Check out highlights from the Millville Air Show where daring pilots zipped through the skies and the Blue Angels wowed thousands. Video produced by Justin Odendhal
MILLVILLE – The U.S. Navy Blue Angels thrilled spectators with aerobatic maneuvers on Saturday during the first day of the Millville Wheels & Wings Airshow.
“I absolutely loved it,” said Bettina Beard of South River who came to the show anxious to see the Blue Angels. “I couldn’t get really good pictures because of the rain, but I have my memories,” she said.
The Memorial Day weekend air show is the marquee event for the Millville Army Air Field Museum. It continued the museum’s year-long celebration of the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Millville Airport as America’s first defense airport shortly before the U.S.A. entered World War II.
“We’re proud of the role Millville played in defending our nation during such a critical time in history,” said Chuck Wyble, president of the Millville Army Air Field Museum. “We remind everyone that 10,000 servicemen trained here and went out to defend our nation overseas. As a museum, we will recognize this important history as we honor all of America’s military and our veterans at the air show.”
Crowds poured into the airport throughout the day. Gates opened at 9 a.m., and flight demonstrations kicked off at noon along with many other activities. Children enjoyed inflatable rides; visitors admired hundreds of cars at the South Jersey Cruisers car show and spectators took a trip back in time as they inspected the older military aircraft on display.
“I really like the cars, and I want to go check out the museum,” said Michael Rodgers, 11, as he strolled through the car show with his grandfather, Francis Rodgers.
For others, it was all about the aircraft aerobatics. The spectator area quickly filled with people, everyone anxious to get the best view.
“I love it. We come every year,” said Jen-Na Hollis of Millville who attended with her husband, Marlon Hollis.
“I like to see the old planes and the modern ones,” said Lou Durham of Lindenwold. This year he had the opportunity to talk to a crew chief. “I had to get a picture because his T-shirt matched my hat,” he said. Durham was wearing a hat that read “Lincoln AFB B-27E Crew Chief.”
The show was produced by David Shultz Airshows LLC. The line-up included Greg Shelton in a PT-17 Stearman and an FM2 Wildcat; a New Jersey National Guard UH-60 SPIES demonstration; an SNJ Flight demonstration; Scott Francis MX2 Aerobatics; Paul Dougherty Christen Eagle Aerobatics; Jacquie B Airshow; a U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 Dauphin search and rescue demonstration; Warbird demonstration flights and a parachute demonstration by Skydive Cross Keys.
U.S. Navy Blue Angels member Lt. Brandon Hempler landed his F-18 Hornet at the Millville Airport Wednesday afternoon. Video produced by Justin Odendhal
It started to rain on Saturday afternoon just as the U.S. Navy Blue Angels were preparing to perform, but the thrilling show went on.
“Today has been wonderful,” said Robert Trivellini, vice president of the museum’s board of directors. “I have met people from many states and have seen nothing but smiles. There are so many people wearing U.S. Navy Blue Angels hats and shirts. They bring an audience from far and wide.”
The 2017 Millville Wheels & Wings Airshow continues Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.MillvilleAirshow.com.