Barnes Air Show Review

Yesterday my friend Tony and my coworker Stephen set off to Westfield, MA for the Barnes Air Show. It was a grand schedule, with many warbirds and the Air Force Thunderbirds coming by to perform. Alas, the weather forecast had predicted it to be sunny. Unfortunately, it kind of went south in the afternoon and turned cloudy. Boo! This is the third show in a row where preview day winds up having the better weather. Alas, I can never make it to those things. Plus, when I do show up to the show, something happens to the weather. I must be bad luck.

The morning was good in terms of WX, but around 12:00 the clouds started rolling in. This was in complete contrast to the Friday evening forecast which said sunny all day long.

The performers in the show were all excellent. Have to say the highlight of the show was the F-100 Super Saber. Never seen one of those in person in flight before and it was just as good as I expected it to be.

I was disappointed at two things. One, the situation on the westbound Mass Pike in the morning. The State police were having air show goers turn off from the State Police station instead of exit 3 itself. It turned out to be a complete mess of traffic jams and long waits. I would have expected better from the state police and the turnpike since the traffic jams can be a safety issue. At least have the parking donation guys inside the fence like they do at Quonset to keep one of the delays out. While things might be slow going initially when going to Westover, it’s never completely stop and go.

Second, I am also disappointed at whoever decided outside food was a no-go. The show’s website was perfectly clear with a reasonable outside food policy (No cans, alcoholic beverages, or coolers). Then, on the day of the show, they go and toss it out for a complete no food or drink policy? I couldn’t even bring in a Nalgene water bottle full of water. Of course, this didn’t stop people from smuggling in food. I can’t tell if they were doing this for a safety (unlikely) or revenue (far more likely) perspective, but it felt cheap. If the airshow is really that hard up for revenue, think of some other way that doesn’t inconvenience picnickers or people who just want to bring in a quart of water on what was predicted to be a hot, sunny day.

Incidentally, leaving was not really a problem for us. We left after the Thunderbirds finished. Sure, we had to wait ten minutes in stop-and-go on the dirt road until we got to East Mountain road, but once we got on to it, we drove right down to Route 20 to head to West Springfield for dinner with zero problems. Plus, we ran into the F100 demo team at Longhorn Steakhouse, which was a neat surprise.

It was refreshing to have no PA equipment at all where we were sitting (intersection of TWY A and B at Runway 15), but I should have brought my scanner, as there was no way to tell what was coming. Plus, the other showgoers were very friendly. Had several good conversations with the people sitting around us. Overall, a good day.

Pics to come later. I unloaded all of my memory cards last night to the tune of 1500 frames and didn’t really have the heart to start messing around with them. They’ll take more work due to the cloudiness of the afternoon.

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