NEW WINDSOR, N,.Y. >> Thousands of people gathered to take in the grandeur of vintage and modern military aircraft during the weekend’s annual New York Air Show at Stewart International Airport.
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels, the oldest performing U.S. aviation demonstration team, were the main attraction. The Angels’ demonstrations Saturday and Sunday included the team’s C-130, known as “Fat Albert,” and six F/A-18 Hornets.
Another major attraction was Heritage to Horizons, the flight of three different Air Force planes to commemorate the branch’s 70th anniversary. The North American P-51 Mustang, an airplane introduced in 1942, represented the Air Force’s past; the General Dynamics F-16 Viper, which has been in flight since the 1970s, was there to represent the present; and the future aircraft was the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which was introduced two years ago.
Maj. Casey Manning, the pilot in command of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, shared his thoughts prior to taking flight.
“We want to showcase the F-35 to the public and show just how great it is,” he said.
The wife of one of the pilots weighed in as well.
“I’m extremely proud,” Anna Waters said of her husband, John, who flew the F-16 Viper. “He’s living out his dream.”
The Geico Skytypers, a squadron of vintage World War II aircraft sponsored by the Geico insurance company, also took flight. One of the team’s pilots spoke highly of his experience flying in his hometown.
“It’s a homecoming for us,” Jim Record said.
Other aircraft at the show included the Boeing C-17 Globe Master III, the Lucas Oil Pitts S-1-11B (flown by owner Mike Wiskus) and the Cold War-ear Aero L-39 Albatros.
Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus gave opening remarks on the show’s return to the airport.
“The New York Air Show is a celebration of American military airpower, and we are honored to have it here again,” Neuhaus said.
Next year’s New York Air Show is scheduled for Sept. 22-23, 2018, again at Stewart.