Airshow draws record crowd this weekend in West Milford

Airplanes looped through the sky, pilots signed autographs for thousands

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  • Photos by Don Webb Tuskegee Airman Eugene Richardson Jr. Richardson signs autographs at the Greenwood Lake Airport Air Show.

  • The tarmac was filled with show planes and spectators this weekend at the Greenwood Lake Airport Air Show.

  • Show planes amazed visitors with their loops.

By Don Webb

The skies over Greenwood Lake Airport were filled this past weekend with looping planes, while the tarmac became the scene of thousands of visitors, unique aircraft and performing pilots.

The Greenwood Lake Airport hosted its 10th Anniversary Air Show June 8 through 10. The air show is one of the most popular weekend events here in West Milford and one of the most regarded aviation events in the state.

The Air Show’s 10th anniversary show was bigger both in size of the show and the numbers of people who attended the event, according to organizers.

Thousands of ticket holders came to this year’s event.

The show offered a one-of-a-kind opportunity for families to enjoy a sunny day together outside while enjoying the high energy and high-quality performances. Such as top-tier performers, Gary Ward, Greg Koontz, and Jerry McCart took to the skies. Historical aircrafts such as the P51 Mustang and B-25 Mitchell where parked at the event. There was even active military aviation performance from the U.S. Coast Guard.

One of the special guest of the Air Show was Tuskegee Airman Eugene Richardson Jr. Richardson entered active duty into the Army Air Corps in October 1943, serving our country during WWII and a P-51 fighter pilot helping escort bombers safely to their bombing sites and back to base.

“I love coming here and speaking with people especially the children about that history,” Richardson said. “It’s so very important that people learn what actually happened in our history.”

Gary Ward one of the shows major performers at age 76 is one of the oldest in the nation. Ward who was soloing aircrafts at the age of 16, has been entertaining crowds since 1998 with his death-defying stunts.

“I had no aspirations to do air shows, until a good friend encouraged me to try it, so I learned how and he helped me get started," he said. "I flew my first Air Show in 1998 at age 57. That lit the fire under me and it’s been burning since,” Ward said.

The organizer of the Air Show Tim Wagner took a moment to speak to The Messenger.

“I want to say a special thank you to all the many volunteers that came to help make this show work, and also the West Milford Police, Fire and EMS departments, without all your support this show would not of been possible,” Wagner said. “We are currently working on the next air show which is already scheduled for June 7 through 9, 2019."

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