Come Fly with Us

Meaghan Haire

If you’re tired of the typical Colgate weekend of working and just hanging around the dorm all day, try getting out of the rut and checking out nearby Oneida County this weekend. The Oneida County Aviation Association is presenting the 2006 Oneida County Regional Air Show on September 16 and 17 at Oneida County Airport in Oriskany, NY. This is going to be a truly rare event, as air shows are becoming harder and harder to find these days. Oneida’s will be one of only three air shows to be held in New York this year.

The air show will have events for people of all ages and interests. There will be a number of air acts and performances with some of the biggest names in the business. Besides the performances, the air show will also have aviation exhibits, a NASA Educational Exhibition, an Aerospace Education Bus, a Waco bi-plane providing rides to visitors throughout the day and many refreshment booths. The NASA exhibit is a definite must-see for anyone planning to attend the show. The NASA crew will be bringing with them a national treasure, the nation’s largest moon rock, and they will also have a very interesting space shuttle display. Joyce Oster Palmer, the Air Show’s Chairman, said, “It is becoming rare that you can go to an air show these days, and it really is an experience that everybody should have.”

If you know anything about aviation and the air show industry, you will surely have heard of the line-up of aerial acts that will be performing in Oneida this weekend. The highlight of the air show will be the MOX Team (“Masters of Extreme”). This includes world famous Jim “Bulldog” LeRoy, who Palmer said called “one of the most extreme performers in the world.” Palmer said, “His professionalism is unsurpassed, and he has been judged by his peers to be ‘the best of the best’ in the industry.” Another name to look out for at the show is stunt pilot John Mohr, who will be flying his 1943 Stearman biplane. Mohr “does things he just shouldn’t be able to do” in his plane, according to Palmer. Kent Shockley’s ShockWave Jet Truck is another must-see performance. Shockley will appeal to Nascar enthusiasts, because as Palmersaid, this performance will be “the fastest, most visually awesome thing you will see in your life.” The last performance worth mentioning, even though there will be many other great acts to look for, is the U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight. This will be an emotional event with the performance of an F-15 Eagle fighter jet and a World War II-era P-51 Mustang fighter.

This will be a great opportunity for Colgate students to get out and learn about the history of aviation, space travel and the future of the industry. According to Palmer, the air show is “ideal for college aged students because aviation and air space offers a number of job opportunities that students can go into.” It can be a tremendous learning opportunity, and there will also be representatives from every military branch present at the show to talk to visitors.

It is important for students in the area to get out to events like these in the community, Steve Perta, who is on the Air show Planning and Organizing Committee, said, “Students from the area’s colleges and universities are part of the Central New York family and this is an important community event. This event is for people of all ages and no prior aviation experience is needed.”

An important detail to mention is that this year, the Oneida Air Show will be dedicated to all those who serve in the armed forces. The air show will be a truly fabulous experience for students no matter their experience with aviation. The airport is located off Thruway Exit 32 (Westmoreland). Tickets at the gate will be $9 for adults and $7 for children. The gates open at 10 AM, and the show runs from 12 to 4 PM both Saturday and Sunday.