When the display teams announced their 2015 schedules, it was clear that the annual Rhode Island National Guard Open House Air Show was going to be bigger this year with also the Canadians plus the Breitling Jet Team from Europe. Report and photos by Dave O'Brien
On May 30-31, 2015, the Rhode Island National Guard Open House and Air Show was hosted again at the Quonset State airport, North Kingstown. This is one of the premier shows in the North East not only for its line-up, but also the lighting and how close the taxiway and runway is to the crowd line.
The weather gods were very nice to us on Friday and Saturday, beautiful blue skies and warm temps were so much better than the hazy and cloudy skies we had just two weeks ago during the air show in Westover, MA.
This year’s air display program was loaded with three main demo teams; two of them not being from the US military.
Since there was no jump team this year Sean Tucker opened the show with a nice teaser, Sean is always a staple at the New England air shows. C-130J Hercules transports from the 143rd AW at Quonset and four UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters gave a small demo. It wasn’t the Combined Arms Demo that we’re used to be blown away with, but it was a nice show of local airpower.
Next up was a first for me, Ace Maker is a T-33 flown by Gregory Colyer. Another act I had never seen was the Breitling Jet Team from France. This six-ship team of L-39s is on its American tour.
The Geico Skytypers went up next in their T-6 Texans performing WWII maneuvers, taught at the time for evading enemies in the sky. Mark Murphy took off next in this P-51D Mustang “Never Miss” followed by the Canadian Snowbirds. Even though I just saw the Snowbirds two weeks ago at Westover, the show at Rhode Island was so much nicer because they were able to perform closer to the crowd line.
John Klatt went up next followed by The Screamin’ Sasquatch Jet Waco flown by Jeff Boerboon. It’s still difficult to get used to hearing a jet engine under a propeller-driven biplane. Up next was one of two passes made by Les Shockley’s Jet truck. You can feel the percussion when he’s pumping the fuel in 100 ft away from you.
The Air Combat Command’s F-16 Viper Demo is back this year and Rhode Island was lucky enough to also get this act. This year’s pilot is Capt. Craig “Rocket” Baker. After his afterburner-powered demo, he was joined up with a P-51 Mustang flown for the Heritage Flight. What was so special about this show’s Heritage Flight is that John Klatt took off with a WWII vet to watch the Viper and Heritage show from high above.
Sean Tucker went back up for this full show followed by the Royal Canadian Air Force’s CF-18 Hornet Demo; the CF-18 Demo’s paint scheme for 2015 is dedicated to the Battle of Britain 75th Anniversary. This turns the Hornet into just a gorgeous aircraft to photograph in blue skies.
The U.S. Navy demonstration team’s Fat Albert and the Blue Angels closed out the day to a perfect show. You couldn’t ask for a better day.
I would like to thank the PAO of the 143rd AW for their generous hospitality.
Report and photos by Dave O'Brien ( view portfolio )
Last Modified: 14 June 2015