Air show returns this weekend

By Lori O'Brien

Correspondent



WESTFIELD A "Celebration of Freedom" is the theme of the 2005 Westfield International Air Show at Westfield Barnes Airport Aug. 27-28.

Highlights of the air show will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. Air show hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.

The featured event of the two-day air show is the performance by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. The Thunderbirds, a precision flying team, maneuver the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons which reach speeds of 1,319 mph at 39,370 feet.

Plane performances also planned at press time include a P-51 Mustang, Mike Goulian's CAP 232 Unlimited, the Iron Eagles Aerobatic Team, an HH-60 BlackHawk, a C-47 Skytrain, P-47 Thunderbolt, F4U Corsair, and Bob Cipolli's S-300 Staudacher. Performances also include a A-10/OA-10 Thunderbolt II, Boeing/Stearman PT-17, F-15 Eagle, T-6 Texan and Red Bull Mig-17. On Aug. 27 only, a flyover of the B-2 known for its high subsonic speed - is also planned.

Show scheduled include the "Guarding America, Defending Freedom Aerobatic Show," featuring John Klatt and the S-300D, the "Mad Bomber/A-10 Pyrotechnics Show," an F-15 West Coast U.S. Air Force Demonstration Team, and the U.S. Army Golden Knights jump platform demonstration team.

A static display of aircraft inside the spectator area is also a great opportunity to get up close to take photos and meet the aircrew. Static displays scheduled for the air show include a F-15 Eagle, F-16 Falcon, F-18 Hornet, A/OA-10 Thunderbolt II, HH-60J Jayhawk, T-37 Tweet, T-38C Talon, T-34 Turbo Mentor, T-45 Goshawk and T-6 Texan. Also, a C-130 Hercules, KC-135 Stratotanker, C-5 Galaxy and A310 (Fed Ex Cargo). Warbirds also planned for the static display include A-35 Bonanza, C-172 Skyhawk, and RV-8 Nomad.

A ShockWave Jet Truck is also part of the weekend fun. The ShockWave runs more than 300 mph racing airplanes at air shows, and holds the world record in a quarter mile for trucks at 256 mph in 6.36 seconds. The jet truck also holds the world record for full-size trucks at 376 mph as recorded by Guinness Book of World Records. At 36,000 horsepower, the ShockWave has enough power to accelerate at 3 Gs vertical, which is equivalent to the Space Shuttle lifting off. The Shockwave, driven by Kent Shockley, weighs 7,000 pounds, has a wheelbase of 260 inches, and is valued at $500,000.

There is free general admission to the air show with a $5 parking donation requested. A shuttle will be provided from the airport parking areas only. Premium box seating, adjacent to the show center, is available by visiting The Air Show Network which can be accessed at www.airshownetwork.com. Visitors are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on. Handheld umbrellas will also be permitted, however, large beach umbrellas or umbrellas placed in the ground will not be allowed.

Restrictions for all visitors include no coolers, cans, loose ice, glass, alcohol, pets, weapons, tents, cooking equipment, awnings, bicycles, razor scooters, skateboards or roller blades.

Still and video cameras will be allowed at the air show, however, persons should not load film prior to entering the gate since one may be required to open the compartments at security checkpoints. Also, all persons and carry-in items will be subject to search. Surveillance cameras will be used to monitor the facility and metal detectors will be used to scan patrons coming on base.

Concession stands featuring a variety of food and beverages will be provided.

For more information, call (413) 568-9151 or visit www.2005westfieldairshow.org.

Westfield Barnes Airport is the home of the 131st Fighter Squadron and 104th Fighter Wing, currently assigned the Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft. Barnes Air National Guard Base and Otis Air National Guard Base represent the flying units of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, located in Milford. The aerodrome, with two active runways and supporting taxiways, is shared with Westfield Barnes Airport.