It must be summer now – the air show is just around the corner. It is generally held on the last weekend in June, which falls on the 25th and the 26th in the year 2011. The RI National Guard maintains an up-to-the-last-minute Web site, which they will become even more vigilant about updating as the big weekend approaches. This is New England, after all, and the weather is subject to change without much notice. Several of the aircraft, particularly the fighter jets, need sufficient visibility in order to fly safely. There isn’t much of a margin for error if you are piloting one of those jets!
The Blue Angels perform on alternate years, with fighter jets from countries such as Britain or Canada performing when the Blue Angels are not here. Local residents of the communities near Quonset can hear any of those jets as they arrive, in time to practice the Friday before the air show performance. All of the jets are loud, but the Blue Angels are the loudest. It can be annoying if one is trying to have a cook-out, relax outside, or even inside, but it is only for a few hours each day that you can hear them flying back and forth. As someone once said, “Well, it is not as if they are dropping bombs on us. We ought to be really thankful for all of them.”
The Blue Angels are billed as the highlight of the air show, but there are many other exciting performances scheduled by aerial acrobatic teams. There is one group that flies vintage WWII aircraft, the Geico Skytypers ; another that does amazing precision sky diving and uses very fast and high-tech parachutes, the Red Bull Air Force.
The gates to the Quonset Naval Air Base will open at 9:00 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday; with the show slated to start at 10:00 a.m. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed on the base, nor are coolers (think of how easy it would be to hide something in one of those if you had bad intentions!), although patrons can bring in their own food, and food will be available at the base. Patrons may also leave the base and return at a later time. Parking is free, and so is admission; there will be a voluntary donation taken to benefit Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, RI. For a thorough list of the regulations applying to patrons of the air show, and the most recent schedule, as well as some awesome photographs of past air shows, click hereto navigate to the RI National Guard Air Show Web site.
The author’s own experience living in the nearby town of North Kingstown for over ten years, and her memories of attending the air show as a girl.