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The Great New England Air Show

Updated on August 31, 2017
bdegiulio profile image

Traveling has always been one of my passions. It exposes us to new cultures, experiences, and makes the world a better, more tolerant place.

The Osprey
The Osprey | Source

The Great New England Air Show returns to the Barnes Air National Guard Base on August 12-13, 2017

After a four year hiatus, the Great New England Air Show returned to the Westover Air Reserve Base here in western Massachusetts for an August, 2012 engagement. The two day event drew over two hundred thousand visitors during a hot and sultry summer weekend. Despite the high temperatures visitors flocked to the tarmac to get an up-close and personal look at some of this country’s finest aviation hardware.

If you love the roar of an airplane engine, the scent of jet fuel in the air, and seeing some of the country’s top pilots showing off their skills then a trip to the air show can make for a fun and entertaining day.

The Air Show in western Massachusetts takes place every two years and alternates between the Westover Air Reserve Base located in Chicopee, Massachusetts and the Barnes Air National Guard Base located in Westfield. Both bases are set amongst the rolling hills of western Massachusetts and offer a beautiful backdrop for this very popular event.

The Iron Eagles in Action
The Iron Eagles in Action | Source
T-6 Texan WW II vintage trainer
T-6 Texan WW II vintage trainer | Source

It had been a number of years since I attended an air show so I was looking forward to this day with great anticipation. I was initially disappointed to learn that neither the Thunderbirds nor the Blue Angels would be performing this year but that did not deter from the amazing aerial displays that took place over the sky’s of western Massachusetts.

The Iron Eagles and the Geico Skytypers both put on an amazing acrobatic aerial display that had the crowd looking skyward in amazement. In addition to the aerial performances there were a number of high performance aircraft fly-bys that wowed the crowd.

The B-1 Bomber
The B-1 Bomber | Source

“A Salute to the Greatest Generation” was the theme of this year’s air show and it was evident by the number of World War II era airplanes that were present at the show. Watching the B25 bomber make a simulated bombing run must have brought back memories for any veterans in attendance. The B25 Mitchell Bomber, named for aviation pioneer General Billy Mitchell, was made famous as the bomber used in the 1942 Doolittle Raid which was the first US attack on the Japanese mainland following Pearl Harbor. The B25 was also on static display at the show giving visitors an opportunity to get an up-close look at this famous aircraft.

B25 Mitchell Bomber
B25 Mitchell Bomber | Source
The AC-47 Gunship, nicknamed "Spooky"
The AC-47 Gunship, nicknamed "Spooky" | Source
C-5A Galaxy Transport Plane
C-5A Galaxy Transport Plane | Source

On the ground was an impressive display of static aircraft that visitors could check out, and in many instances climb into.

Representatives from both the Air Force and the Air National Guard were on hand to answer any questions and proudly showoff their equipment. It really is amazing to get up close and personal with a giant C-5A Galaxy transport plane and its sheer size makes you wonder how on earth that thing gets airborne. The C-5A was one of the planes that visitors were allowed to walk through and I must say it was impressive and very, very big.

Another happy visitor.  Also happens to be my grandson with his favorite toy airplanes.
Another happy visitor. Also happens to be my grandson with his favorite toy airplanes. | Source
The Great New England Air Show
The Great New England Air Show | Source

Among the numerous aircraft on display in addition to the C-5A were the: B1 Lancer, B52 Stratofortress, KC135 Tanker, F15 Eagle, C17 Globemaster, A10 Warthog, MV22 Osprey and the Blackhawk Helicopter in addition to numerous other vintage airplanes.

Attending an air show is the general public’s chance to check out some of the military’s latest hardware as well as some of the premier aircraft from years gone by. It is clear that getting the chance to poke around in one of these airplanes appeals to members of all generations as kids and elders alike explored these planes inside and out.

The B-52 Bomber
The B-52 Bomber | Source
The new 8-bladed composite prop for the C-130
The new 8-bladed composite prop for the C-130 | Source

Throughout the weekend visitors were treated to a number of aerial performances that had eyes glued to the skies above Chicopee. One of the more anticipated displays was the flight demonstration of the Osprey which put on quite a show as it hovered above the runway and flew in every which direction including sideways and backwards.

For those who love the roar of an afterburner the F15 Eagle and the F18 Hornet both flew solo demonstrations which had everyone in awe of their abilities. There is nothing quite like hearing the roar of an F15 as the pilot points his plane vertically, hits the afterburner, and accelerates straight up into the sky. Another highlight to the weekend was the fly-by put on by the B2 Stealth Bomber. The B2 flew all the way from its home at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to grace us with its presence.

B-2 Bomber Fly-By

Next air show in western Massachusetts scheduled for August 12th-13th

The next air show in western Massachusetts will be upon us soon as the Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield, Massachusetts prepares to host this years event. The 2017 edition of the Great New England Air Show welcomes the Air Force Thunderbirds as the main attraction. This is great news for western Massachusetts as it’s been a number of years since they have made an appearance here.

show route and directions
A markerWestover Air Reserve Base, Chicopee, MA -
Chicopee, MA, USA
get directions

B markerBarnes Air National Guard Base, Westfield, MA -
Westfield, MA, USA
get directions

© 2012 Bill De Giulio

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    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Sally. We did have a wonderful time and we are looking forward to the next show in 2014. Thanks so much for stopping by, appreciate the read and comments. Have a great day.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      I really enjoyed this hub. Your pictures are fantastic and your narrative made me feel like I was right there watching the show.

      I haven't seen an air show since the last-ever Willow Grove Naval Air Station show in 2006. That year, my daughter and I volunteered with one of our local Lions clubs to park cars in a huge field across from the NAS. As it turned out, we quite possibly had the best spot to see the Blue Angels, who flew directly over our heads on their approach to the field. They were so close we could see the pilots' faces!

      It looks and sounds as though you and yours had a wonderful time. I'm very glad you'll be watching another show in 2014.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Cassy. They are great fun, I think you would enjoy it. I had not been in years since I lived in California but really wanted to go this year. We took our grandson and he had a great time. Thank you for the vote and share.

    • CassyLu1981 profile image

      CassyLu1981 5 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      I'm 30 years old and have NEVER been to an air show! Ugh, I promise, this coming year, I WILL get to one! Your hub makes me wish we had one this weekend. Voted up and shared :)

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Prakash. Thanks for reading and commenting. Glad you enjoyed the Hub and photos. Have a great day.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Carol. We are heading into my favorite season with all the Fall colors. Glad you enjoyed the Air Show pictures, it was a great day. Appreciate the comments, vote and share. Have a wonderful day.

    • Prakash Dighe profile image

      Prakash Dighe 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas, USA

      Enjoyed reading the Hub and the pictures. Thanks for sharing!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      Loved the hub and really enjoyed photos. We lave lived many places in the US but never Northeast. I know the season is coming with the changing of the colors. Voted UP and am going to share.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. Yeah, we are getting to my favorite season soon. I just love Fall. Not just for the colors but also the cool, crisp days. Didn't know you spent a few years in Vermont? That's great.

      Thank you as always for the support and comments. Have a great day.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      The pictures were great and I'm green with envy as you approach Fall in New England. I spent two years in Vermont and I have missed it now for thirty years. Wonderful hub my friend; thank you for sharing.