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In the Sky at Jones Beach State Park, Blue Angels Stir Up Awe

Planes Grace Republic Airport and Jones Beach Last Weekend

At just about 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 27, the Blue Angels F/A-18A Hornets came roaring into Farmingdale’s Republic Airport led by Commander Greg McWherter (#1). Their arrival kicked off the Bethpage Federal Credit Union 2010 Air Show at Jones Beach that weekend and the unofficial start to the summer of 2010.

Those of us lucky enough to get a sneak preview of the performance both Thursday and Friday afternoon knew just how great an event this would be. The Blue Angels performed to near perfect skies come show time both Saturday and Sunday.

Flying with precision, speed and agility at Jones Beach, the Navy’s Blue Angels kept the crowd in awe, sneaking up behind the dunes every now and then, surprising with their stealth display.

Flying at 400 MPH, the F/A-18s flew as singles and in formations, amazing viewers with their ability to fly alongside each other in diamond formation; the planes looked from the ground as if they were just feet away from their teammates.

Gasps were heard from the ground as two planes, playing chicken with each other, leaned skillfully away at the last second, avoiding a mid-air collision.

Joe D’Aquila had the opportunity to spend a little time with #6 Lieutenant Ben Walborn (Opposing Solo), alongside his F/A-18A Hornet and asked him, despite all the economic hardships our country has seen in the past two years or so and the many school and local budget cuts right here on Long Island, what words of encouragement could he offer to high school kids just thinking of starting a career in aviation?

His answer was “Simply to never accept a closed door, that when one door closes look for another door to open, and if you continue to look and search you will always find that door, and perhaps they too will find the pot of gold, this F/A-18A Hornet, at the end of the runway as I did.”

The United States Navy Blue Angels performed precision aerobatic demonstrations over the skies of Jones Beach to an estimated crowd of 236,000. All branches of the military were present including the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

Member of the 2010 U.S. Navy Blue Angels Team are:

No.1-Commander Greg McWherter (Commander/Leader)

No.2-Lieutenant James Tomaszeski (Right Wing)

No.3-Lieutenant Robert Kurrle Jr. (Left Wing)

No.4-Major Chris Collins USMC (Slot)

No.5-Lieutenant Commander Frank Weisser (Lead Solo)

No.6-Lieutenant Ben Walborn (Opposing Solo)

No.7-Lieutenant Christian Simonsen (Advance Pilot/Narrator)

No. 8 Lieutenant Amy Tomlinson (Events Coordinator)

This year’s show also included performances by The Canadian Force F-18 Demo Team, United States Army Golden Knights Parachute Team, -10 East Demo Team, United States Air Force Heritage, 106th New York Air National Guard Flight Rescue Demo HC-130/HH-60, Sean Tucker- Team Oracle, Julie Clark, Matt Chapman-Embry Riddle, John Klatt-Air National Guard, GEICO Skytypers, Ed Hamill – Living the Dream, American Air Power Museum Warbirds, Warbirds Over Long Island, David Windmiller, Chuck Aaron-Red Bull Race Pilot.