When the F-22 Raptor demonstrates its awe-inspiring maneuvers during the 9th annual Bethpage Federal Credit Union New York Air Show at Jones Beach this weekend, it will only be showing off about a fraction of its capabilities.
Regardless, spectators will still see “super maneuverability of the airplane and the speed capabilities,” that makes the F-22 Raptor “leaps and bounds more capable against anything else that we have out there,” according to Captain Peter Liggieri of the U.S. Air Force.
Liggieri, who is originally from Garden City, and his F-22 Raptor will be joined by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels military jet team, U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team, and the U.S. Navy F18 Super Hornet, among other aerobatic teams.
“This air show has been a phenomenal success since we started it in 2004,” George Gorman, regional director of New York State parks for Long Island, said on the beach’s boardwalk on Friday. “Each year it gets better and better, more and more people have come here, and more and more people feel so patriotic after they’ve been here.”
There will be demonstrations from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. An estimated 350,000 people are expected to attend the event.
Organizers said visitors should arrive early and bring a blanket or lawn chair for comfort during the five-hour demonstration. Spectators are also urged to cross their fingers because the forecast for the weekend calls for a chance of showers and thunderstorms on both days.
But warnings of inclement weather didn’t temper the excitement of organizers and the pilots one day before the big show.
“The opportunity to come perform for a crowd of this size is fantastic,” said Captain Scott Greenfield of the Canadian Forces Snow Birds.
“It’s great to be home, back on Long Island, and it’s also great to be home and bring the F-22 out to the show,” Liggieri said.
Lt. Commander Todd Royles of the Blue Angels said visitors can expect an hour of precision formations with the C-130 aircraft and 45 minutes from the F-18 Hornets.
Long Islanders were also urged to remember those who have lost their lives defending the country.
Over the weekend, a funeral mass will be held for Air Force Tech. Sgt. William Kevin Colwell who disappeared in a plane crash in 1965. His remains were recently identified at a military lab in Hawaii.