GENESEO — An annual tradition is taking place this weekend in the skies over Geneseo. The 1941 Historical Aircraft Group is hosting “The Greatest Show on Turf” air show Saturday and Sunday. one WWII veteran has made the show for the past 20 years.
Kenneth Weber, 89, a World War II veteran, flew with the 362nd Fighter Group of the 9th Air Force from 1943 to 1945 and coninues to enjoy the Geneseo skies for the airshow.
The air show features aircraft from World War I, World War II, civilian aerobatic acts and current military aircraft. Featured this year is the AVRO Lancaster bomber (one of only two remaining flying in the world), the B-17 “Memphis Belle” that was used in the filming of the movie by the same name, and a FW (Focke-Wulf ) 190 German fighter from WWII.
The Geneseo air show is unique since it is held on a grass airfield. This allows spectators to see the historic aircraft exactly as they would have been during WWI and WWII. Spectators can walk right up to aircraft, many of which will perform in the show throughout the day, and see, hear and smell the warbirds and interact with their pilots.
The American Airpower Museum (AAM), based in Farmingdale, New York, has sent a P-40 Warhawk fighter and a B-25 Mitchell bomber to the show. Dan Dameo of Jupiter, FL is the pilot of the P-40. Mr. Dameo has been flying for the AAM for 12 years and is 1 of 2 pilots in the country certified to perform in the United States Navy Legacy Flight program. Of the 11,000-12,000 P-40s manufactured, only 8 remain in flying condition today.
The B-25 sent by AAM was used by General Hap Arnold and carries the nickname “Miss Hap” in his honor. General Arnold had the bomb bay of the aircraft converted into a sleeping area for use during long flights around Europe. The aircraft was previously owned by Howard Hughes.
World War II veteran Kenneth Weber, 89 of Wyoming County, NY visited the airfield today. Mr. Weber flew with the 362nd Fighter Group of the 9th Air Force from 1943 to 1945. Mr. Weber has been attending the Geneseo air show for over 20 years. He met Steve Socolosky of East Hartford, CT in 1991. The pair have been attending the show together ever since.
Many of the pilots spent time speaking with Mr. Weber about his experiences. Quentin Marty of Hightstown, NJ who owns a 1941 Boeing B75, better known as the Stearman, asked Mr. Weber to sign his pilot log book. The log book is used to record every detail of a pilot’s flight career. Mr. Marty used his book to log his meeting with Mr. Weber.
Mr. Marty has been performing in the Geneseo air show for 10 years. “I love coming here. It is something I look forward to ever year” he said. The Stearman, a bi-plane (two winged) aircraft, that Mr. Marty flies was one of the primary training aircraft used by the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. The aircraft is built to withstand the bumps and jolts that student pilots would exert upon it.
Also attending the show is Roger Schlueter of Winterset, Iowa. Mr. Schlueter is the owner of a North American AT-6D training aircraft. Mr. Schlueter purchased the aircraft from Frank Glover Jr. in 2003. Mr. Glover found the aircraft in Spain and restored it to flying condition in 1986. He chose to register the aircraft as N107FG paying tribute to his father Frank Glover and his father’s unit the 107th construction battalion (the Unite States Navy Seebee’s).
Mr. Schlueter stated that his instructor, Doug Rozendaal, constantly talked about the amazing experience performing at Geneseo. Mr. Rozendall regularly attends the Geneseo air show with his P-51D Mustang fighter honoring the Tuskegee Airmen. For the past two year’s Mr. Schlueter has planned to attend Geneseo, and this year he was able to bring his AT-6D with him.
The flying portion of the show will take place between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM both days. Admission is just $20 per person ($17 pre-sale at Wegmans) and children 12 years old and younger are admitted free.