Greatest Show On Turf 2015
Article and Photographs by Bruce Vinal
Ask me which airshow I will not miss and the answer is simple……. Geneseo. Is it because they have more warbirds than any other show in the country? Not typically. Is it because they have the rarest planes in the world? Sometimes, but not always. When I was a little kid, I’d ride my bike a few miles down the road to our local airport and watch the airplanes. No fences or gates, no TSA, no security saying “Hey kid what are you doing? You can’t be here!” Just a kid and his bike sitting in the grass at the end of the runway watching the miracle of flight.
Every year, on the second weekend in July, as I drive down Big Tree Lane past Austin’s Farm I’m that kid again pedaling a little faster as the runway comes into view. It’s hard to convey the feel of Geneseo to someone who’s never been there, I guess because there’s no other place like it that I’ve found to compare it to. A laid back celebration of aviation with no gates and no fences.
Over the years I’ve made some very dear friends at Genny and keep in touch as best I can ’till July rolls around and we can all sit together in the grass watching the miracle of flight. On arrival day when I hear Charlie Lynch on final in the TBM I always make my way down the line to greet him as he, his wife Elisabeth, their three kids and two dogs pile out of the airplane. It always makes me smile, just another thing that makes Geneseo what it is. Or there’s Kent Pietsch endlessly circling the corn field looking for his missing aileron (Get a GPS tracker for that thing Kent!) This year my Son flew into the show and in the spirit of Geneseo gave someone their first airplane ride just because the expressed an interest.
In addition to the regulars, like Mark Murphy, Rob Holland, Charlie Lynch and Skipper Hyle there were a few new aircraft on the field. Andrew McKenna brought his Mustang as did Scooter Yoak, Gregg Shelton’s Wildcat was a nice addition as was Art Nalls’ Sea Harrier. Yes some of the anticipated aircraft didn’t show but that’s to be expected with 70+ year old airplanes. I think a Sea Harrier landing on the grass took a little of the sting out of the no-shows.
If you’ve never been to “The Greatest Show on Turf” I highly recommend you put it on your calendar for next year, drive or fly in even drag the camper out and stay right on the field. If you have a passion for aviation Geneseo is a show not to be missed. A big thank you to all the volunteers at The National Warplane Museum for their dedication to the airplanes, the show and for making us all feel at home see you next year!