The Rhode Island Nation Guard annual airshow at the Quonset Point air base could not have asked for better conditions. They treated families, aviator’s, plane enthusiasts and photographers to an action packed weekend with some of the world’s best aviators in action. The planes ranged from F-16 Vipers to vintage WWII aircraft circling the skies over Narragansett Bay in a spectacular display of daring and skill.
The United States Special Operations Command Parachute Team opened the show jumping out of a Lockheed Martin c130 and trailing a 30 foot American Flag held by the lead jumper as they passed a baton in mid air and trailed smoke as they showed off their precision landing skills in front of the crowd. The Para-Commandos are representative of the Special Operations Forces and represent the Navy SEALS, Army Rangers, Air Force Combat Controllers and Marine Raiders.
It was a kid friendly event that was perfect for families and as an extra bonus all the proceeds from the vendor’s profits goes to the Hasbro Children’s Hospital and other local charities. Patrons got to enjoy a world class airshow, eat, drink visit various displays and support local charities all in one afternoon.
The USAF F-16 Viper Demo Team streaked through the sky performing precision feats and high performance rolls. They showcase the capabilities of the jet and the expert pilots of the USAF.
Mike Goulian put is EXTRA 330SC Unlimited through a thrilling aerial aerobatic display of daring climbs, barrel rolls. Goulian is one of the top performers in the sport and it was evident in this performance. The high tech carbon-fiber and rugged steel plane is the world’s most high performance aerobatic airplane. He flawlessly swooped down low and upside down just feet above the runway before driving his craft straight up skyward and then tumble back toward earth. He showed his world class skills before a cheering crowd.
The military brought out the Rhode Island National Guard Dynamic Military Display with soldiers giving a demonstration of troop deployment from a variety of aircraft. They used Apache helicopters and medical helicopters to show deployment of personnel and equipment including cannons, and vehicles as well as evacuation of personnel.
John Klatt piloted The Jack Link’s Screamin’ Sasquatch Jet Waco plane powered by dual power plants. It has a Pratt & Whitney 985 radial engine and a General Electric CJ610 jet engine with 3,000 pounds of thrust for a combine rate of 4,500 lbs. This jet can accelerate while climbing straight up and were both on hand to thrill the crowd with aerobatics and screaming jet powered antics.
Of course no Jack Link’s event would be complete without the Jack Links Sasquatch on hand to mingle with the crowd much to the delight of the kids on hand bringing smiles from toddlers and adults alike. I think I spied a dinosaur ambling through the spectators too.
The AV-8B Harrier V/STOL strike aircraft was brought out to show it’s capabilities in all conditions. It can take off and land on short runways and pitching aircraft carrier decks. It provides close air support, intermediate range intercept and attack missions. The versatile aircraft performed takeoffs, landing and was able to turn 360 degrees while staying in the same spot in front of the crowd. It was then able to rise up and take off to speed in seconds.
A 1940’s F4U Corsair piloted by Mark Murphy performed stunts and was put thru her paces. This was a popular aircraft from WWII and was proven in both the british and US military. The planes were flown off aircraft and were successful in downing 2,140 enemy aircraft during the war.
Sean D. Tucker took to the skies in the bright red Team ORACLE Challenger III. The legend of the air performed awe inspiring daredevil feats in the air. He is amazing in his ability to maneuver the plane into seemingly impossible positions. He dove down and went under, cut through and back under 3 cables strung across the airstrip just 30 feet above the ground. He spoke from the cockpit while performing and entertaining the spectators with enthusiasm and his trademark yell of “Yeah Baby!!” while screeching across the sky rolling and pitching his plane in amazing twists and turns.
The Shockwave Jet Truck showed up and blasted its 36,000 horsepower down the runway. They even had a race between the Shockwave Jet Truck and Rob Holland in his MXS-RH Nano Pro plane. Holland and his Ultimate Airshows is the three time defending World Freestyle Aerobatic Champion raced the Shockwave Truck upside down down the track in a amazing feat of both skill, daring giving the spectators a visually stunning loud and fast jet race from ground and air.
Randy Ball brought out his 26 years of airshow experience by wowing the crowd with an exceptional performance of the capabilities of the MIG-17 jet fighter. He powered his machine past the crowd at a screaming pace with low level runs to shoot straight up skyward at a breakneck speed. The spectacular aircraft looked like a couple wings hooked onto a huge engine.
The Geico Skytypers Air Show Team performed precision flight maneuvers with six aircraft simulation war time flight scenarios and amazing stunts. They performed low level flights in the WWII American SNJ-2 1940 and 1941 vintage trainers surrounding the crowd with beautiful precision flight from the world renowned team.
All in all it is a great weekend event that changes it’s talent each year. Next year the Blue Angels are scheduled to appear again. So mark your calendars for May 2018 in Quonset, RI for a memorable weekend event.