Fleet Week, NYC 2016

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I spent the Thursday of Fleet Week NYC 2016 on the Flight Deck of the USS Bataan LHD-5, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship. Later that week, my Saturday May 28th was spent at Republic Airport, at the American Air Power Museum ramp, which was the launch point on Runway 19 for all the aircraft participating in the NYC Jones Beach Air Show – about 10 miles to the east of the airport. Some interesting quick notes:

1) Unfortunately there was one aircraft crash and pilot fatality close to the USS Bataan on the Hudson River on Friday. The American Air Power Museum’s Republic P-47D-40 Thunderbolt “Jacky’s Revenge” piloted by Bill Gordon of Ft. Lauderdale crashed into the Hudson River in the afternoon north of the carrier while doing a mid-level pass over the ships in honor of Fleet Week. The NTSB and FAA have begun an investigation to find the cause of the crash. Museum officials told me at Republic Airport that every effort will be made to restore the P-47 to flying condition again. The Museum planned and flew a “Missing Man” formation flyover later in the day on Saturday.

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2) Although there were only two aircraft on deck on the Bataan – the CH-53E Super Stallion and the V-22 Osprey – there was a “little air show” on Thursday going on 500 feet over the Bataan’s flight deck. Three SH-60 Seahawks, another V-22 Osprey in a “helo” configuration and a C-2A Greyhound COD from VRC-40 “Rawhides” did a nice low pass over the Bataan. They were staging out of the nearby Teterboro Airport (KTEB).

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3) Republic Airport had a nice air show going on, on Saturday, right near the Museum Ramp at the start point for Runway 19. All aircraft for the big Jones Beach Air Show were launching from 19 except for the Blues Angels. Between the statics and the flying aircraft, there were 60 aircraft there — not bad! It was a big “Gathering of Eagles”. We had the Breitling Jet Team from France, the Snowbirds from Canada, the GEICO Skytypers based right here at Republic and of course the Blue Angels with Fat Albert

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Interspersed within all of the Team demos were “Yankee Lady”, the beautiful silver B-17G out of Willow Run in Michigan, the Golden Knights Fokker F-27 Jump Plane, various stunt planes including Jack Link’s Screamin’ Sasquatch Jet Waco (always an ear-splitter) and some of the Museum’s flying warbirds. But I have to say the star of the show was the Heritage Flight low pass with the P-51 out of Republic and the F-35 and the F-16 out of McGuire. The -16 and -35 did burner touch and go’s on runway 19 real close to the Museum Ramp, and that caused some temporary loss of hearing – but super fun!!

4) Finally, when I left early, something strange was going on with the Blues. On my departure, when I got to the Whitestone Bridge (which is right on the usual approach for LaGuardia), the six Blues Angels jets were in on low tight final for LGA. That is NOT where they were supposed to be going. Not LGA. I don’t know the reason for that one. I don’t know what was going on.

Bill Sarama

Saturday

5/26/16

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