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Great New Air Show bringing Blue Angels, more to Chicopee

A Navy Blue Angels advance jet landed at Westover Air Reserve Base in
Chicopee to scout out the terrain and logistics for the upcoming 2015
air show in May. Here, Captains Corrie Mays and Jeff Kuss talk to
members of the media gathered on the tarmac. (Don Treeger / The
Republican)
The U.S. Navy’s renowned Blue Angels air demonstration team will headline the 2015 Great New England Air Show at Westover Air Reserve Base on May 16-17.
The appearance will mark first time the team has flown at Westover. This year’s event will also be first air show at Westover in three years. Other well-known aerial demonstration teams that have visited Westover have included the Air Force Thunderbirds, the Canadian Snowbirds, and the Italian team, Frecce Tricolori.
The Canadian Snowbirds Jet team will return this year, along with the Canadian Forces CF 18 Demo Team, F-22 Raptor, and the Geico Skytypers.
The Blue Angels squad is made up of 16 officers who volunteer to serve with the team. Each year the team typically selects three tactical (fighter or fighter/attack) jet pilots, two support officers and one Marine Corps C-130 pilot to relieve departing members. The Chief of Naval Air Training selects the “Boss,” the Blue Angels Commanding Officer. The Boss must have at least 3,000 tactical jet flight-hours and have commanded a tactical jet squadron. The Commanding Officer flies the No. 1 jet.
The 2015 show will also be part of marking Westover’s 75th anniversary. The Saturday portion will be held on Armed Forces Day.
Of course, a big part of the event is the Air Show Kick-Off Breakfast, which has been a tradition at the Great New England Air Show for years. On friday, May 15, at 7:30 a.m. a hot breakfast buffet will be served followed by speeches by the Westover Commander, Col. Albert Lupenski and other civic and military leaders. After breakfast, the hangar doors open and attendees are welcome to enjoy the show as the performers practice in the air above.
The Galaxy Community Council held a raffle fundraiser to support the Great New England Air Show. The six winners will get a ride on an AC-47 Gunship, which was used extensively in Vietnam in support of U.S ground forces. The Galaxy Community Council is an all-volunteer 501(c)3 charitable corporation that supports the Great New England Air Show. It is responsible for raising funds to support the non-military participants, such as civilian aerobatic acts and vintage aircraft at the air show.
Connie Foster of the Galaxy Council said that she was pleased with the raffle, which raised around $2,500 for the show.
“We’ll be sending six winners up and their ages range from 7 to 80,” she said. “We were delighted by the age range. The 80-year-old was over the moon when he found out he won.”
Gates for the show open at 8:30 a.m., with show itself beginning at 10 a.m. There will be no schedule of the timing of each team, but planes flying all day long.

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