Skip to main content

The Great New England Air Show

Traveling has always been one of my passions. I love the joy of experiencing new cultures and the excitement of exploring our amazing world.

The US Air Force Thunderbirds

The US Air Force Thunderbirds

The Great New England Air Show Returns to the Barnes Air National Guard Base

If you love the roar of an airplane engine, the scent of jet fuel in the air, and seeing some of the country’s top pilots showing off their skills then a trip to the air show can make for a fun and entertaining day.

After a ten-year absence, the US Air Force Thunderbirds returned to the Westover ARB in 2018 and it was a memorable experience.

The Air Show in western Massachusetts takes place every couple of years and alternates between the Westover Air Reserve Base located in Chicopee, Massachusetts, and the Barnes Air National Guard Base located in Westfield.

Both bases are set amongst the rolling hills of western Massachusetts and offer a beautiful backdrop for this very popular event.

Geico Skytypers in action

Geico Skytypers in action

T-6 Texan WW II vintage trainer

T-6 Texan WW II vintage trainer

2018 Air Show

It had been a number of years since I attended an air show so I was looking forward to our visit in 2018 with great anticipation. I was excited to learn that the Thunderbirds would be performing and gracing the skies of western Massachusetts with their amazing aerial displays.

The Geico Skytypers also put on an amazing acrobatic aerial display that had the crowd looking skyward in amazement. In addition to the aerial performances, there were a number of high-performance aircraft fly-bys that wowed the crowd.


“A Salute to the Greatest Generation” was the theme of 2018’s air show and it was evident by the number of World War II-era airplanes that were present at the show. Watching the B25 bomber make a simulated bombing run must have brought back memories for any veterans in attendance.

The B25 Mitchell Bomber, named for aviation pioneer General Billy Mitchell, was made famous as the bomber used in the 1942 Doolittle Raid which was the first US attack on the Japanese mainland following Pearl Harbor. The B25 was also on static display at the show giving visitors an opportunity to get an up-close look at this famous aircraft.



C-5A Galaxy Transport Plane

C-5A Galaxy Transport Plane

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Skyaboveus

On the ground was an impressive display of static aircraft that visitors could check out, and in many instances climb into. Representatives from both the Air Force and the Air National Guard were on hand to answer any questions and proudly show off their equipment.

It really is amazing to get up close and personal with a giant C-5A Galaxy transport plane and its sheer size makes you wonder how on earth that thing gets airborne. The C-5A was one of the planes that visitors were allowed to walk through and I must say it was impressive and very, very big.

Army Golden Knights

Army Golden Knights

Among the numerous aircraft on display in addition to the C-5A were the: B52 Stratofortress, KC135 Tanker, F15 Eagle, C17 Globemaster, A10 Warthog, MV22 Osprey, and the new F35 in addition to numerous other vintage airplanes.

Attending an air show is the general public’s chance to check out some of the military’s latest hardware as well as some of the premier aircraft from years gone by. It is clear that getting the chance to poke around in one of these airplanes appeals to members of all generations as kids and elders alike explored these planes inside and out.

The B-52 Bomber

The B-52 Bomber

The new 8-bladed composite prop for the C-130

The new 8-bladed composite prop for the C-130

Throughout the weekend visitors were treated to a number of aerial performances that had eyes glued to the skies above Chicopee. One of the more anticipated displays was the flight demonstration of pilot Bill Stein who put his acrobatic Edge 540 stunt plane through an incredible series of maneuvers.

For those who love the roar of an afterburner the F16 Fighting Falcon that the Thunderbirds fly had everyone in awe of their abilities. There is nothing quite like hearing the roar of an F16 as the pilot points his plane vertically, hits the afterburner, and accelerates straight up into the sky.

In addition to the Thunderbirds, there were impressive flight demonstrations of the enormous C5A Galaxy and the C17 Globemaster III.

B-2 Bomber Fly-By

2021 Air Show

The next air show in western Massachusetts was scheduled to be in 2021 at the Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield, Massachusetts, but was cancelled due to the COVID pandemic.

The 2018 edition of the Great New England Air Show was an amazing event as we welcomed the Air Force Thunderbirds Back to the area. This was great news for western Massachusetts as it had been a number of years since they graced our skies.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Bill De Giulio


Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on October 13, 2012:

Hi Sally. We did have a wonderful time and we are looking forward to the next show in 2014. Thanks so much for stopping by, appreciate the read and comments. Have a great day.

Sherri from Southeastern Pennsylvania on October 12, 2012:

I really enjoyed this hub. Your pictures are fantastic and your narrative made me feel like I was right there watching the show.

I haven't seen an air show since the last-ever Willow Grove Naval Air Station show in 2006. That year, my daughter and I volunteered with one of our local Lions clubs to park cars in a huge field across from the NAS. As it turned out, we quite possibly had the best spot to see the Blue Angels, who flew directly over our heads on their approach to the field. They were so close we could see the pilots' faces!

It looks and sounds as though you and yours had a wonderful time. I'm very glad you'll be watching another show in 2014.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 11, 2012:

Cassy. They are great fun, I think you would enjoy it. I had not been in years since I lived in California but really wanted to go this year. We took our grandson and he had a great time. Thank you for the vote and share.

CassyLu1981 from Spring Lake, NC on August 11, 2012:

I'm 30 years old and have NEVER been to an air show! Ugh, I promise, this coming year, I WILL get to one! Your hub makes me wish we had one this weekend. Voted up and shared :)

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 10, 2012:

Hi Prakash. Thanks for reading and commenting. Glad you enjoyed the Hub and photos. Have a great day.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 10, 2012:

Hi Carol. We are heading into my favorite season with all the Fall colors. Glad you enjoyed the Air Show pictures, it was a great day. Appreciate the comments, vote and share. Have a wonderful day.

Prakash Dighe from Dallas, Texas, USA on August 10, 2012:

Enjoyed reading the Hub and the pictures. Thanks for sharing!

carol stanley from Arizona on August 10, 2012:

Loved the hub and really enjoyed photos. We lave lived many places in the US but never Northeast. I know the season is coming with the changing of the colors. Voted UP and am going to share.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 09, 2012:

Hi Bill. Yeah, we are getting to my favorite season soon. I just love Fall. Not just for the colors but also the cool, crisp days. Didn't know you spent a few years in Vermont? That's great.

Thank you as always for the support and comments. Have a great day.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 09, 2012:

The pictures were great and I'm green with envy as you approach Fall in New England. I spent two years in Vermont and I have missed it now for thirty years. Wonderful hub my friend; thank you for sharing.

Related Articles