2015 Bethpage Airshow Takes to the Skies Over NYC

It was that time of the year again for New Yorkers as the Bethpage Airshow at Jones Beach kicked off the 2015 Memorial Day weekend as well as the start of summer. While a cool breeze and low temperatures made it feel more like fall, the return of the United States Air Force Thunderbirds for the first time since 2011 helped draw 116,000 people on Saturday and double that on Sunday as police needed to close the highway before Sunday’s show started.

Those who avoided the traffic entirely chose to get a closer look at Republic Airport where most of the shows performers take off.  “We go to the beach one day and to Republic the other,” said Mike from Massapequa. While the Thunderbirds needed to stage out of MacArthur Airport on Eastern Long Island this year due to runway logistics, spectators who made their way to Republic got a chance to be up close and personal with the France-based Breitling Jet Team which made the trip this year to Jones Beach as part of its American tour. “We are so excited to share our performances with North American fans and show them what we can do,” said Jacques Bothelin, captain of the Breitling Jet Team. As team lead flying the number one jet, Capt. Bothelin took the seven-plane L-39 formation to the skies over Jones Beach for its first New York performance ever.

While Breitling wowed the crowd with fluid aerobatics, Jeff Boerboon in the Jack Links Jet Waco (also known as “Screamin Sasquatch”) had spectators pondering why his red and black biplane sounded like a jet. Jeff returned to the skies a second time during the show alongside John Klatt in their stellar aerobatic routine sponsored by the Air National Guard. While Sean Tucker and Matt Chapman added to the show’s aerobatic performances, the American Airpower Museum flew an array of WWII aircraft that helped to remind spectators what Memorial day is really all about. Additional performances by the United States Army Golden Knights Parachute team and hometown favorite Geico Skytypers helped the show keep its tradition as both have performed each year since its start 12 years ago.
Though the Thunderbirds staging out of MacArthur this year really left something to be desired at the airport, those who made the trip to Republic were treated to the sights and sounds of the commemorative Air Force’s B-29 Superfortress (“Fifi”).  While not a part of the airshow, Fifi (the only flying B-29 in the world) flew rides this holiday weekend in conjunction with the American Airpower Museum.
The American Airpower Museum will be open till 6 PM Monday where fans still have time to get a look at a number of participating aerobatic performers and warbirds before they depart. After that, it’s all talk and speculation as New Yorkers await and anticipate next year’s show.

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