Thunderbirds to return to Great New England Air and Space Show - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Thunderbirds to return to Great New England Air and Space Show

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)
CHICOPEE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

The Great New England Air and Space Show returns once again to Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee this summer. 

Today, a pilot with the Air Force Thunderbirds flew into town to get a lay of the land for next month's big show.

"What happens in the next month is a culmination of months and months of hard work by our folks here at the base and it leads up to what we expect is a huge air show with 200, 300, maybe 400 thousand people here," said SMSgt. Andrew Biscoe with the 439th Airlift Wing.

Major Brandon Felker just flew in with his F-16 as part of the Thunderbirds advance team. 

"We are here today to conduct what we call a site survey, so we haven't been to Westover since 2008, so it's been 10 years. 

Biscoe told Western Mass News that the last air show held at Westover in 2015 pumped $14.9 million into the western Massachusetts economy.  He expects that number to rise now that the Thunderbirds are back, not to mention the new line-up.

"On the ground and in the air, yes.  Our hangers, a lot of airplanes on display, we call them static airplanes.  A lot of airplanes flying and of course, our headliners, our elite air demonstration team," Biscoe noted.

Felker said that the Thunderbirds are excited to get back to western Massachusetts.

"Community outreach is what we do.  We want to talk with as many people as possible and we encourage as many folks as we can to bring their children, their teenagers, out to the air show to let us talk to you and let us tell you about what opportunities are available to you out there," Felker explained.

You can bet the T-Birds will not disappoint.

"We have the four diamond pilots who fly very close to each other, about 18 inches apart, and then we have our two solo pilots that will perform a lot of awe-inspiring high-speed passes and they'll take your breath away  several times," Felker said.

Mark you calendars: the Great New England Air and Space Show is July 14 and 15. 

The event is free.  For more information, you can CLICK HERE.

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