Air Show Report : The Great New England Air Show 2018
The Great New Island Air Show 2018 - Westover ARB
The Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee, Massachusetts, opened its gates in July 2018 for The Great New England Air Show.
Report by Dave O'Brien with photos from both air show days and Friday arrivals for the static display.
On July 14-15, 2018, the Great New England Air Show returned. It had been three years since the previous air show at Westover ARB.
It was the third show in a row for Westover where the weather was a factor. Clouds won out most of the day on Saturday, and on top of that humid air with very little wind made for some tough photo shooting conditions as the performer’s smoke did not clear.
The Golden Knights opened the show with the National Anthem jump. Their C-31A jumpships will soon be replaced by the Dash-8, designated C-147A.
The KC-135R from Altus AFB followed. I wish there was a single ship jet demo in attendance that could have gone up with the KC-135R to show a mock air refueling. He made a few passes and demonstrated a long low approach over almost the full length of the runway.
The 439th AW home unit with their C-5M Super Galaxy was next. It is amazing how different the M model sounds over the original C-5A, that distinctive “C-5 whine” is no longer audible. In fact, the PAO I know said he rarely receives any noise complaints about their C-5Ms working the pattern at bases, so he is very happy about the conversion. On Friday morning they did a dedication for the last C-5 to convert, which was named the “Spirit of Chicopee”.
The next display was the P-51 Mustang together with the Spitfire. The civilian parachute team Fast Trax jumped with the largest US Flag. It’s easily the biggest American Flag that I have ever seen and I can’t imagine what it was like to have that below you as you float to the ground.
The C-17 took off next for its display, the demo bird belonged to 437th AW from Charleston SC. It still amazes me how such a large plane can be almost as nimble as a fighter and how it can perform such tight 360s.
The “Prowlers of the Pacific” was the next act to fly, this formation display by the Commemorative Air Force consists of aircraft types that flew during the battle of Pearl Harbor. It is made up of an SBD Dauntless, a B5N “Kate” which was the Japanese Navy’s torpedo bomber during much of WWII, the FG-1D Corsair, and for this show TBM-3E Avenger 'Doris Mae' instead of the SB2C Helldiver. They made multiple passes by the tower doing mock dogfights, which allowed great photo opportunities.
A new act for New England filling in for Rob Holland was Bill Stein, who is from California. His airplane is the Edge 450 and its colors were amazing. It is coated in a paint that continuously changes colors depending on how the light hits it. It reminded me of a mood ring from the early 80’s. After his demo, he ended up racing “Shockwave”, the world’s fastest semi-truck equipped with three P&W J34-48 jet engines that came out of Navy T-2 Buckeyes. The engines combined offer up to 21,000 lbs of thrust, making it a 36,000 horsepower truck.
The U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds closed the show. Due to the cloud cover they had to perform their low show, but it was still an amazing show to witness.
One thing the Great New England Air Show always brings is a tremendous static line up. Each time when Westover host the show, Friday is almost as exciting to watch as the air show itself, as the static jets that are coming in like they want to rip up the sky before they park their jets.
Thanks so much to the 439th AW PAO for providing the media access on Friday and for putting on the great show.
Report and photos by Dave O'Brien ( view portfolio )
Last Modified: 2 September 2018