Aviation News

May 25, 2017

Forecast for an Air Show: The 14th Annual Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach

Despite some questionable weather forecasts for the holiday weekend, the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach will look to kick things off this Memorial Day Weekend over the skies of Long Island for the 14th straight year. Headlined this year by the United States Air Force Thunderbirds, there is more to this year’s show than purely what’s going on in the sky.

“We are very excited to welcome back home Major Kevin Walsh, Levittown native and Thunderbird # 7, to Long Island,” states George Gorman, Deputy Regional Director, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. In honoring those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will pay tribute to Fallen Warrior Sgt. Anthony L. Mangano of Long Island, who was killed in action in 2006 while deployed in Afghanistan.  As part of the honor, the Thunderbirds will place Sgt. Mangano’s name on Thunderbird Jet No. 1 during their performance over the weekend, while Sgt. Mangano’s family members can watch as special guests of the Thunderbirds.

In addition to the Thunderbirds dedication, Long Island’s own American Airpower Museum will also pay tribute to those who have served.  “This year marks the 75th anniversary of both the Doolittle Raid and The Battle of Midway,” remarks Scott Clyman, American Airpower Museum’s Event Director of Air Operations. “We will fly our B-25 in honor of the Doolittle Raid and our P-40, AT-6 as well as a visiting TBM-3 in honor of the Battle of Midway.  A new addition to the museum and flying this weekend will be the Vietnam era AT-28D that will pay homage to our Vietnam veterans.”

In addition to the Thunderbirds, other military performers include the United States Army Golden Knights Parachute Team as well as Westhampton’s own 106th Rescue Wing. The other civilian acts are among the industry’s best and include Sean Tucker, Matt Chapman, the GEICO Skytypers and John Klatt flying the Jack Links Screamin’ Sasquatch Jet Waco.

The show’s remote venue transforms what is normally a two day show into a three-day event: The 2 main show days, along with Friday’s practice.  “Despite the threat of rain Friday and Sunday, we believe attendance will be significant, as it has been through the years,” remarks George Gorman.  “Coming off the record breaking 453,000 spectators last year, we know what the possibility is.  We have changed this year’s show time from 10AM-3PM to 12PM-5PM due to runway construction at JFK.  In addition, we are not sure if the recent bombing in Manchester will affect attendance since this is one of the first major events in the New York City area. We have reassured the public that we have extensive security in place with the addition of other bomb detection resources including K9 patrols.”

Despite the chance of inclement weather, the show continues to thrive based on the passion of all involved. “One of the best things about the show is the people,” remarks Rob Reider, airshow announcer for the Jones Beach show for the past 13 years.  “Between the show’s organizers, performers and spectators, it’s an event I am grateful to be a part of and one that I wouldn’t miss.”

For more on the airshow, updates and to view photos, please visit the NYCAviation Forums.

Top photo by NYCAviation Senior Editor Ben Granucci.

About the Author

Scott Snorteland



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