WESTFIELD — While the 2017 Westfield International Air Show featured powerful planes flown by expert pilots, there were other highlights that were just as special.
From the vintage airplanes to the men and women of the 104th Fighter Wing who were present at the event to talk to spectators, the air show had plenty to offer.
“People were able to get out here, walk around the aircraft, meet our airmen. They could meet the pilot and meet the crew,” said Col. Peter Green, vice commander of the 104th Fighter Wing stationed at Barnes Air National Guard Base.
More than 50,000 people were expected to attend Sunday’s show, which was free to the public and featured 18 aerial acts. The Westfield International Air Show, was last held in 2010, and in 2005 and 2006 before that. The 104th Fighter Wing’s first Westfield air show took place in 1949, according to Green.
Johnathan Malo and his mom Michele Haymes, both of Westfield, attended the air show Saturday and Sunday. At just 14-years-old Malo has already flown a plane twice, through the Western Mass. Wright Flight Program, an aviation STEM program provided to students in Westfield, Southwick, Granville, and Tolland.
“It was a great experience. I really wanted to do the program so that I cold fly a plane,” Malo said, adding that he would like to go into the Air Force when he grows up.
Haymes said the highlight of the air show is the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration.
“I remember seeing them when I was growing up, and it’s just incredible to watch,” she said.
For retired U.S. Marine Robert McRobbie and his wife Michelle McRobbie, of West Springfield, the air show was a chance to spend time with their grandchildren Josiah Feliz, 9, and Jaxon Sanford, 2. Jaxon, in particular, loves planes.
“We didn’t want them to miss an opportunity to see the planes. The base has done a great job in organizing the show,” Robert McRobbie said.
Besides all of the excitement in the sky, there were many vintage World…