Westfield International Air Show 2017
Westfield International Air Show, Westfield, MA August 11-12th, 2017
Its been 7 years since Westfield had hosted an air show at Barnes Airport. They made some nice changes to the media day which really made the day be the best time I’ve ever dealt with on a media day. From the ease of signing in on Friday, to getting on the ramp to get to be ready for the practices. They had a huge media pit right in between 2 of the large white tents, tons of space unlike what Rhode Island places us and the hot ramp was far to show left so you don’t have anyone blocking your view. It was such a nice change.
They also opened up the Friday practice to DOD families, because of that most of the vendors were open on Friday as well. This never happens at the media day, this allowed us to actually grab food and drinks throughout the day. They also let us walk the ramp since the DOD families were there, this again beats other media days where you’re trapped in such a small area for the entire day.
The weather for this weekend was tough, Friday and Saturday, the 2 days I attended was very humid and muggy with light winds and fighting in and out of clouds. Because of that and all the smoke most of these acts use now it made taking pictures very difficult. If you attended on Sunday you were treated to the best day with blue skies which offered the most amazing pictures.
The show opened on Saturday with 2 F-15’s from the 104th FW and 2 A-10’s from the 122nd FW of the Indiana ANG. The A-10 warthog was a long-time resident of Barnes and the 104th FW. The unit transitioned to the F-15’s back towards the end of 2007. Third Strike Wingwalking with Carol Pilon out on the wings followed the fighters.
A C-17 of the 105th AW from Stewart ANG base performed a sweet demo. It always amazes me how tight a plane so large can fly. It sometimes acts like a fighter up there as it banks to do a 360 at mid field. The P-51 Quicksilver and planes from the National Warplane Museum went up next. That included a C-47 which made static line paratrooper drops to mimic the same type of drops made at Normandy. A P-40 Warhawk, F-4U Corsair II and a B-25 took command of the sky so the C-47 could come and make a safe drop.
Greg Coyler took up his T-33 Ace Maker and who was then followed by the US Navy TAC Demo which uses the F-18C Heritage hornet. The Trojan Horseman AT-28 Tactical demo was next in the show, 6 beautifully restored T-28 Trojan aircraft flew in tight formations.
The sun started to come out and the clouds broke enough for the Black Daggers Special Ops parachute team could finally jump with the American Flag. They were followed up by the Geico Skytypers, Jason Flood, Matt Chapman & Michael Goulian. Closing out the show was the USAF Thunderbirds. It had been 5 years since I last photographed the Thunderbirds. I really wish the clouds and wind would have helped more on Saturday. They put on a great show, I hope to catch them again next year and hope for better weather.
I would like to thank the huge hospitality of the 104th PA unit for the great access on Friday. I look forward to the next air show they host because they got some great feedback from the way they ran this show.