Along the East Coast, air shows fill summer event calendars. The biggest shows feature military troupes like the Navy’s Blue Angels or the Air Force Thunderbirds. You’ll also see precision aerobatics by professional civilian teams and parachute acts. Some air shows focus on vintage and antique plans with displays by biplanes and historic military craft. Stunt flying acts have planes landing on top of moving pick-up trucks and other “hold your breath” tricks.
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Plan to get to the show early to find a good spot near the runway. Bring a lawn chair, lots of sunscreen, a hat, water and a camera. Consider ear plugs too, if you’re concerned the roaring jets will be too loud.
Here are some of the most notable shows this season:
July 11–12: National Warplane Museum, Geneseo, New York
Billed as “The Greatest Show on Turf,” it honors WWII and Korean War bombers, fighters and cargo planes. You’ll also see aerobatic performers, parachutists and a demo by the Harrier vertical take-off jet. In keeping with the historic theme, there’s a reenactment camp, and there’s also a kids’ activity zone
July 18–19: Thunder of Niagara, Niagara Falls, New York
With the Air Force Thunderbirds, Army’s Golden Knight Parachute Team, and Coast Guard Search and Rescue Unit, this show has a heavy focus on today’s military. The massive Hercules, Galaxy, and Globemaster cargo planes will be on display.
Every Sunday through October: Flying Circus Airshows, Beaton, Virginia
This is a weekly airshow recreating the Age of Barnstormers with lots of biplanes, WWI replicas, wing-walkers, and the “flying farmer” stunt act. You can even sign up for an open cockpit biplane ride. On July 12, there’s a classic car show. August 15–16 is the annual hot air balloon festival.
August 14–16: Greenwood Lake Air Show, West Milford, New Jersey
Expect a mix of civilian and older military performers and demonstrations. Highlights are a B-25 demo flight, precision formation flights by Cold War-era Soviet CJ-6s and Yaks, and civilian aerobatic teams. Friday night is bikers night for motorcycles. Saturday and Sunday also feature a car show with classic, vintage and muscle cars.
September 5–6: Great State of Maine Air Show, Brunswick, Maine
The Blue Angels and Air Force Raptor F-22 are the stars here, along with the Marine Corps’ C-130 Fat Albert cargo plane sharing the billing. Civilian precision formation and aerobatic performances are also on the schedule.
September 19–20: NAS Oceana Air Show, Virginia Beach, Virginia
The Blue Angels, GEICO Skytypers, Hornet, air power demonstration fleet fly-by, hang-glider show, and parachute demonstration team keep the sky filled with action. On the ground, there’s a jet-powered truck roaring down the runway.
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