Geneseo Airshow 2010 – A War Bird Gathering
Upstate New York is an area that has miserable winters, lakes, mountains, poor farmers, vineyards, wineries, and the greatest airshow on turf. The greatest airshow on turf happens each summer in Geneseo, New York which is a small college town south of Rochester. It’s the home of the 1941 Historical Air Group and a museum which has the Memphis Belle (OK, USAF Museum, it’s the “Movie Memphis Belle”, but then this one flies) as well as a variety of airplanes and a lot of hardworking volunteers. Their runway is grass with trees in the background which makes for awesome pictures.
Parking for the show is close with most cars within a few hundred yards of the flightline. You get to be around the airplanes. They taxi through the crowds, you get to experience and seem to be a part of the show. There are no people scolding you for getting too close to some imaginary line. This is what an air show should be like. There is camping, food, other vendors. They have re-enactors living out WWII fantasies and spending a few days as a soldier; be it American, German, or even a Russian.
The airplanes that show up every year are great. Along with the B-17 Memphis Belle, there were two B-25s, four P-51s, a Sea Fury, Corsair, Firefly, Lysander, Helldiver, Dauntless, a group of T-6s, Stearmans, L-Birds and more. There was a whole WWI flying circus on the field. World Champion Rob Holland did an acrobatic show in his MX-2.
The Viper West Team shows up with an F-16 and tears up the skies over New York. The NY ANG brought in one of their LC-130Hs (of which only 7 exist and they have them all), which is a C-130 on skis. They fly to Greenland and to Antarctica every year to support operations there. For as great as a C-130 is, the LC-130H is better. The Blue Angels may be out of JATO bottles, but these guys use them all the time. On skis, they cut over 5000’ off the takeoff slide. What an airplane.
The Fighter Factory sent up the new Dragon Rapide which I think was probably the coolest airplane that I have seen in my life. Coming from a country which gave us Triumph cars (fun to push around town) and mad cow disease; they hit a home run with the Rapide. It’s a cabin biplane with a single pilot, the inline engines are in the nacelles with the landing gear, and has about six seats in it. This particular one was built in 1935 and was the personal airplane of England’s Prince Phillip. In its day it was the Gulfstream 550, the ultimate in personal transportation. Like fine wine and Army coffee you need to experience it in person to appreciate it.
The airshow starts at about 10AM and goes nonstop to past 5 PM. There are no dead spots, something is always going on. It’s well planned and that shows. This is an entertainment value. You get a lot here, I’ve been going for several years and I’ll be going for a lot more. You can contact the author at TNMark@Me.Com