2017 NEPA Air Show set to soar after 17-year hiatus

By Bill O’Boyle - [email protected] | August 11th, 2017 10:59 pm

About the NEPA Air Show 2017

General admission tickets are $20 for adults (ages 13 and up), and $15 for youth (ages 6-12). Youth (ages 5 and under) are free. In addition, military personnel (active duty and veterans) with a valid ID can get in for $15. You may bring a blanket or a chair to enjoy the Air Show at your leisure. All fees and regular shuttle service are included in the listed ticket prices.

PITTSTON TWP. — With planes and jets flying high above, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport officials hailed the kick-off of this weekend’s Northeastern Pennsylvania Air Show.

Carl Beardsley, airport executive director, said after years of hoping and at least one year of extensive planning, the Air Show is back after a 17-year hiatus.

“Today, we can begin to see the fruits of our labor,” Beardsley said Friday as planes practiced nosedives. “You can call this the wedding rehearsal — tomorrow and Sunday will be the celebration. We are extremely happy to put on this Air Show for the community.”

The show will feature several well-known acts:

• The U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team

• The U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight Team

• An F-22 Raptor demo team

• A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet demo team

Additional civilian attractions, like antique planes and stunt aircraft, will take part, plus a number of food vendors will be set up to feed the crowd.

Gates open at 9 a.m. and shuttle buses will be available to and from the Air Show. Shuttle buses will run continuously beginning at 8:30 a.m. each show day.

“We have an incredible line-up that includes some of the most talented pilots, parachutists, crews, and wing walkers that the world has ever seen,” Beardsley said.

Tim McGinley, chairman of the Bi-County Airport Board, said weather forecasts for this weekend look promising.

“It’s been a long 17 years since the last one,” he said. “So come out and support this great event and the terrific performers.”

Randy Ball, a pilot from Texas, will perform with a rare airplane — a Russian MiG-17PF that was used in the 1960s as an all-weather radar interceptor that also carried missiles.

“This plane is really one of a kind,” Ball said. “We only do a select few air shows and we wanted to come here. Every time I get to fly this plane I get giddy.”

Turnpike closed

The Pennsylvania Turnpike advises motorists that because of the show, the Northeastern Extension (I-476) will be closed to traffic between the Wyoming Valley Interchange, Exit 37, and the Clarks Summit Interchange, Exit 39, during these times:

• Saturday, 12:45 to 4 p.m.

• Sunday, 12:45 to 4 p.m.

Several detours are slated to safeguard motorists from aircraft that will be flying over the roadway during Air Show performances:

• Northbound traffic will exit the turnpike at the Wyoming Valley Interchange onto Interstate 81-North.

• Southbound traffic will enter the turnpike at the Wyoming Valley Interchange.

• Motorists traveling to the Air Show should take the Avoca exit onto I-81.

State Police and Turnpike personnel will be positioned at the impacted interchanges to assist drivers. Motorists are encouraged to plan travel accordingly.

Beardsley said free parking will be available at the Northeast Fairgrounds with free shuttle service to the airport. Luzerne and Lackawanna counties’ transit systems will provide the service.

Tim Chopp fills the gas tank of the "Spirit of Freedom," a C-54 which was converted into a flying airlift museum, at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport on Friday ahead of Saturday's Air Show. Aimee Dilger | Times Leader
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/web1_TTL081217Airshow1.jpgTim Chopp fills the gas tank of the "Spirit of Freedom," a C-54 which was converted into a flying airlift museum, at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport on Friday ahead of Saturday's Air Show. Aimee Dilger | Times Leader
A plane can be seen during practice for Saturday's Air Show at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport. Aimee Dilger | Times Leader
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/web1_TTL081217Airshow2.jpgA plane can be seen during practice for Saturday's Air Show at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport. Aimee Dilger | Times Leader
Air crews readied planes Friday for Saturday's Air Show. Aimee Dilger | Times Leader
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/web1_TTL081217Airshow3.jpgAir crews readied planes Friday for Saturday's Air Show. Aimee Dilger | Times Leader
The U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team practices Friday for this weekend's Air Show. Aimee Dilger | Times Leader
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/web1_TTL081217Airshow4.jpgThe U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team practices Friday for this weekend's Air Show. Aimee Dilger | Times Leader
A bi-plane does flips and spins in the air during Friday practice. Aimee Dilger | Times Leader
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/web1_TTL081217Airshow5.jpgA bi-plane does flips and spins in the air during Friday practice. Aimee Dilger | Times Leader

By Bill O’Boyle

[email protected]

About the NEPA Air Show 2017

General admission tickets are $20 for adults (ages 13 and up), and $15 for youth (ages 6-12). Youth (ages 5 and under) are free. In addition, military personnel (active duty and veterans) with a valid ID can get in for $15. You may bring a blanket or a chair to enjoy the Air Show at your leisure. All fees and regular shuttle service are included in the listed ticket prices.

Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.


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