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New England Air Show: Two Days Of Crack Flying, Fighter Jets, Aircraft Displays

It’s been three years since Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee, Mass., hosted an air show. The drought ends this weekend.
As
many as 300,000 people are expected at the base Saturday and Sunday,
May 16 and 17, to view the 2015 Great New England Air Show, which
features crack aerial demonstrations from the U.S. Navy and the Royal
Canadian Air Force; a demonstration by the Air Force’s newest fighter,
the F-22 Raptor; and static displays of nearly every aircraft in the Air
Force inventory.

The
big event of each day will be a performance by the Blue Angels, the
Navy’s air demonstration team. It will be the first time the Blue Angels
have performed at Westover. They fly the F/A-18 Hornet fighter and
attack jet. Although no schedule is published for the air show, the Blue
Angels are typically the last flight performance of each day.
  The
show will also feature performances by the Snowbirds, the Royal
Canadian Air Force’s flight demonstration team; and the Canadian Forces
CF-18 Demonstration Team, which flies the Canadian version of the F/A-18
Hornet. This year the CF-18 Demonstration Team and Snowbirds are
marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of
Britain. The CF-18 is painted in a scheme reminiscent of the Hawker
Hurricane fighters Royal Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force pilots
flew against the German raids on Britain during the summer and fall of
1940.
The GEICO Skytypers Airshow Team will also perform in six
SNJ-2 aircraft, a World War II era plane used to train pilots. In the
Army Air Force, the plane was known as the T-6 Texan.
The U.S. Army’s Golden Knights parachuting team is scheduled to jump to the air field to open the show.
Although flying is a huge part of the show, modern and historic military aircraft will be on display as well.
Modern
aircraft includes the C-5B, the C-17 Globemaster transport, the B-52
Stratofortress bomber, the A-10 Thunderbolt II attack jet, the C-130
Hercules transport, the F-15 Eagle fighter, the F-15E Strike Eagle
fighter, the F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter and the KC-10 Extender aerial
refueling jet.
Several World War II era aircraft includes a
Corsair fighter, a P-51 Mustang fighter, an Avenger torpedo bomber, a
C-47 transport, a B-25 Mitchell bomber and a B-17G Flying Fortress
bomber. An AC-47 gun ship from the Vietnam War will also be display.
Westover
will also celebrate its 75th anniversary during the show. The base
opened in 1940 and has served as a training base for bomber crews, a
major support base during the Berlin Airlift, a Strategic Air Command
B-52 bomber base during the Cold War and in recent years a key staging
point for shipment of equipment to the Middle East and south Asia. Today
Westover is home to a squadron of giant C-5B Galaxy transport jets.
A few tips and rules:
Expect heavy traffic and to be in the sun most of the day. There is
limited shade available. Backpacks and camera bags are not permitted for
security reasons, but cameras and video recorders are still welcome.
Lawn chairs and blankets are allowed, but not lounge chairs. No pets
except service animals. Coolers are only permitted for special needs
such as medication or baby formula. Only water and food in clear
containers can be carried onto the base.

>>The 2015
Great New England Air Show is Saturday and Sunday, May 16 and 17, rain
or shine. Westover’s gates open at 8:30 a.m. Static displays open at 9
a.m. and the flying begins at 10 a.m. Admission and parking are free. A
shuttle runs from on-base parking areas. For more information, visit greatnewenglandairshow.com

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