May 8, 2013

The 2013 Bethpage Airshow at Jones Beach: More Important than Ever

Airshow Performer John Klatt sponsored by the ANG will perform again this year at Jones Beach. Photo Scott Snorteland www.srsimages.com.jpg

There was little mention of sequestration in mainstream media prior to March, so little that I myself had to do some research into what it actually meant. Google the phrase sequestration today and you will find many more hits than just a few weeks ago. Internet chat and rumors among the aviation community early this year outlined the possible impact on military participation at airshows that eventually came true on April 1st when the automated spending cuts better know as sequestration went into effect. While the affects of sequestration extend to the population at large outside the area of aviation, it has started to generate more public attention just recently with the official cancelation of this year’s New York City Fleet Week. In addition to this annual event, cuts have also put an end to all public military events, ballgame flyovers and for the first time in their 60 plus year history has grounded the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds from performing for at least this year or perhaps even longer.

With the lack of military support and no solution in sight many airshows have cancelled their 2013 events. While difficult times often presents with opportunity, Jones Beach is one of several shows that has decided to move forward in holding the event. They will do so again this Memorial Day weekend without military participation celebrating their 10 year anniversary. “We wanted to be proactive as we released a media statement that we were pressing on as soon as sequestration talks began,” states George Gorman, New York State Park Deputy regional director.

“We saw a drop in attendance in 2011 without the presence of the Thunderbirds so we have an idea of what the numbers will be without participation from the military.” Despite securing a jet team in past years, the show has relied on other Navy, Marine and Air Force participation, all of which the 2013 show will be without. “It’s definitely more difficult without the support of the military both financially and practically,” remarks George. “We were able to bring back the Canadian Air Force CF-18 demo team for this year’s show that will help provide variety as well as incorporating modern day jet noise. We also looked at different avenues and as a result have incorporated some new acts for 2013 including the Miss GEICO powerboat racing team.”

Despite changes this years event will once again showcase some of the worlds best including performances by John Klatt, Sean D. Tucker, The GEICO Skytypers as well as an array of WWII aircraft from Long Islands own American Airpower Museum. In addition to the beach, The American Airpower Museum at Republic Airport will once again be providing spectators with an up close and personal view of performing and display aircraft as well as offering flights in various aircraft including a B-17. This year’s show will again maintain the presence of jet noise thanks to our Canadian neighbors up North and if you think the concept of a Memorial Day weekend airshow with no American military participation sounds wrong you’re not alone.

While sequestration is, change is nothing new as it remains one of life’s only consistent factors. In adjusting to the current federal cuts, it is particularly important for airshows to modify and carry on in setting a tone for the future. With a change in the way things are today, The 2013 Bethpage Airshow at Jones Beach will be even more important not only for celebrating American history and honoring our veterans, but also in helping dictate the way things are going to be tomorrow.

For times and detailed information regarding the airshow please visit www.jonesbeachairshow.com. For information regarding flight opportunities at the American Airpower Museum go to www.americanairpowermuseum.com.








About the Author

Scott Snorteland



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