The First State Air Show 2024

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Story and photos by Shawn Byers

Dover Air Force Base held an air show over the weekend of May 18th and 19th, 2024. Due to a family event in Western New York, I could only attend the Friday practice session and catch some arrivals on Thursday.

The weather was not ideal. This was unfortunate because Dover has very good lighting on the show runway. It did not rain but with low clouds, some performances were scrubbed. Otherwise, we were treated to a good show.

One thing I noticed on Dover’s enormous ramp was that there were almost no big chalet tents or paid seating. This left a lot of open space at the fence for spectating, something that has been disappearing over the last decade and a half at other air shows.

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As mentioned, I arrived on Thursday to spot some arrivals. The winds were strong and a lot of aircraft arrived on Runway 01, which has few areas for photo opportunities. Others landed on Runway 32 which offers more spotting freedom. On this day, I caught the B-52, F-15Es and the F-35s.

Once flying got started, the Golden Knights were the first to scrub although they did get airborne on their DeHavilland Dash 8.

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Rob Holland performed a brief practice in his MXS-RH and Patrick McAlee performed a practice display in his Pitts S1S.

The B-25 “Panchito” performed and showed up real nice under the cloudy conditions. I also saw her arrive on Thursday.

The Hot Streak II Jet Truck performed a solo run.

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Randy Ball’s Mig 17 was there but flown by a different pilot whose name I did not catch. This silver bird also showed well under the cloudy conditions and the afterburner looked great.

The C-5M Galaxy performed an awesome demo featuring a quick takeoff, a photo pass, and a short field landing.

The KC-135 from MacDill Air Force Base performed a Demo, taking off and recovering on Runway 01 but flying by with the boom deployed.

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Finally, the F-35A Demonstration Team performed a low show and it was a vapor fest. This was an exciting end to the day of flying.

A few scheduled performers did not fly. This included the C-17 Demonstration, the F-15s from New Orleans, Scooter Yoak in his P-51 “Quicksilver” and the TBM Avenger, which arrived on Friday.

Other expected performers that were no shows as of Friday were the US Coast Guard Dauphin Helicopter, the Heritage Flight P-51, a P-40 Warhawk and The Jersey Jerks in their T-6 Texans.

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Notable Statics included the B-29 “Doc”, the Air North C-47, a T-28 and T-34 in Navy colors, 3 F-15Cs from New Orleans and 2 F-15Es from Seymour Johnson AFB, an F-16 from the South Carolina Air National Guard, a B-52 from Barksdale AFB, and the Home Team C-5 and C-17.

Although I was only there for a day, the Media Team at Dover made things smooth. I wish to thank Lt Trevor Wood and his team for their coordination and assistance.

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