Rhode Island Airshow, North Kingstown RI
2006 Rhode Island Airshow, heald at Quonset Point, North Kingstown RI. June 24-25 featuring the USAF Thunderbirds
I was able to see the Thunderbirds close out the 2005 Airshow season last year so I had chosen to visit Quonset for their Sunday show. Because I wasn't coming down for my normal Friday arrival day I asked about coming down for the Thunderbird Arrival on Monday the 19th. They had just done their show at Willow Grove PA the weekend before so it would be a short 1/2 hr flight up and allow them to have an extra day off with family.
They were scheduled to arrive around 1pm, a C-130J-30 had flown out with some photographers to meet them over the water for photo ops with Sean D. Tucker and Michael Goulian. The Photo ship coming back announced that the Thunderbirds were near. They came in for a few passes and then came in their Support C-17 from McGuire carrying all of their ground crew. All 7 of the Thunderbirds taxied in to their parking spots and while the C-17 taxied off to the hot ramp so the ground crew could climb out and receive their directions.
The Public Affairs Officer came over to talk to us to see which media wanted interviews, and which were there for pictures. I allowed the 2 local newspaper media people to interview the 2 available pilots while I took shots of the ground crew preping the planes. We were allowed 1/2 hr and then they had to start moving the planes and the pilots had to debrief. I was looking forward to Sunday as this show is always a great time.
I arrived in North Kingstown around 7pm Saturday evening and the weather wasn't very promising for Sunday. I talked to one of the security personnel who mentioned that the Thunderbirds didn't have a chance to go up Saturday due to the weather. I was hoping that maybe it would at least clear for a little while to allow some of the jets to fly. When I arrived Sunday morning the forcast was for a break in the rain, but it never came. The Air Boss had talked about gaps arriving but more rain kept coming in off the ocean and never getting the ceiling above 1800 ft.
Les Shockley's Jet Truck came out for the crowd a few times and put on some light shows with his 3 engine rig. A C-130J left for a fly over to Barnes and then 3 Blackhawks from the RI Army National Guard flew in for a demostration. After some more light showers Sean D. Tucker took to the skies for a low show. The RI AANG had come out again to simulate a rescue of a soldier on the ground in a Huey. Mike Mancuso came out in his Klein Tools Extra 300L and performed a low show as well. After that I had called it a day as the Air Boss didn't think it was going to clear enough to get any of the fighters off the ground.
Even despite the weather, the Rhode Island National Guard had scheduled a great show and I appreicate all the hospitality they had given me.