Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Greatest Show on Turf, 2016 - Now with 100% More Flying Bears

For several years, I have wanted to bring The Bear to the annual airshow put on by the National Warplane Museum in Geneseo NY, colloquially known as "The Greatest Show on Turf".

But I worried.

What if it was too crowded?

What if it was too hot?

What if it was too loud?

What if it rained?

What if it was too long for her?

What if she hated it and never wanted to go again?

The best part about this show is that it is a small affair, so not usually densely crowded. Unlike big city airshows, one does not spend their day wandering acres of concrete (or ANY concrete for that matter) in the summer heat, so that helps. A large hangar on property offers convenient shelter from any rain.

It seemed as good a year to take her as any. With The Bear along, I saw the show through a completely different lens. To say the least, the weather was dynamic. Sun, clouds, and occasional rain showers cycled throughout our time in Geneseo. The Bear only had patience to stay for half the airshow, but enjoyed much of what she saw and took many photos with her own camera (though the photos on this page are all mine).

The Bear and I had a discussion about how the belly turret on the B-17 is similar to the one underneath the Millennium Falcon.

Bounce houses were not something that I would have explored in prior trips. The Bear was particularly enamored with this Space Shuttle inflatable slide.

" mean this airplane is called a 'wacko'?" I did my best to correct her pronunciation, explaining that the airplane was not named after one of the Animaniacs.

I absolutely loved this beautiful red Stearman.

The Bear and I had a great vantage point to watch Whiskey Seven start her radial engines and taxi out with skydivers.

I was amused by the nose art on the massive Russian Antonov AN-2 biplane. Where's Boris?

World-renowned aerobatic pilot Rob Holland took a moment to pose with The Bear, just like he did with me at Le Roy a few years ago. Rob's many accomplishments are listed on the rudder of his customized MXS-RH aerobatic aircraft. Among many others, they include: World Freestyle Champion (2011, 2013, 2015), 2015 World Air Games Freestyle Gold Medalist, and US National Aerobatic Champion (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015).

The Bear's favorite part about Rob's airplane was the rubber chicken pitot cover.

The thing that impressed me the most was that, when it came time to fly, Rob wheeled the aircraft out of the hangar with a single hand on the empennage. I suspect that all the mass in this airplane is in the engine.

The Bear had never seen skydivers before. She was astounded.

I tried to explain Whiskey Seven's role in the battle that finally ended World War II in Europe. She struggled to relate to this information, but she was impressed by the age of the airplane.

Lots of junk for lunch made for a happy kid; the milkshake was a big hit.

The Bear absolutely loved that this C-46 was named "The Tinker Belle".

"Look, Daddy, I am almost as tall as this wheel!". OK, so it was actually the other way around, but the point remained that same. That's a big tire!

The Bear thought it was cool that the B-25 had a top turret like the Ghost in Star Wars: Rebels.

The Bear was very taken with this militarized Beech 18. She has a good eye; it's an elegant ship. I told her that Ray from the Le Roy Airport used to fly cargo in one of these many years ago and that it's one of his favorite airplanes of all time.

No airshow would be complete without a phony Japanese bomber. An enthusiastic Asian fellow approached us while this ship was strafing the field in a mock attack. "The Japanese are coming!" he exclaimed, laughing. "That's a Japanese airplane!"

I did not have the heart to explain to him that it was a replica.

The Bear learned a new airplane name today: Corsair. She even used it correctly in referring to the aircraft later.

She also learned about Mustangs. When I mentioned Mustangs later in the day, she asked, "which kind? The horse, the car, or the airplane?"

With a bit of searching, we were able to locate the Lego fantasy airport exhibit.

I was impressed by the accurately-proportioned B-17 Flying Fortress.

The Bear used the word "cool" several times in reference to the exhibit.

"Look at this!" I said to her, pointing to the Lego P-38, then pointing to the P-38 silhouette on my hat.

Our time in Geneseo ended as it began, with "The Movie" Memphis Belle. The Bear was tired by the time we departed. Will she ever want to go again? Only time will tell.


  1. Great pic's as always! You're a lucky man, sharing flight time and the love of aviation with your daughter. She looks like she had fun, have to love that smile.

    Ask bear how was the burger...I was waiting to read her review. They grow up so fast...making special memories is what it's all about.

    1. Hey, if a thumbs up review is good enough for Roger Ebert, it's good enough for The Bear!