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Blue Angels Grace Long Island Skies At Jones Beach

Skywatchers get previews through week leading to air show

On Friday, May 25, many air show enthusiasts gathered on the boardwalk at Jones Beach State Park for the official announcement of the performance lineup for the Bethpage Air Show that took place over the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Representatives were on hand for a meet-and-greet from the Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds, the United States Air Force F-22 Raptor team, the GEICO Skytypers, and perhaps one of the most fascinating and most inspiring teams, the United States Navy Blue Angels.

Blue Angels pilots serve in the demonstration team for two-year tours, before they return to operational assignments in the Navy’s fleet. Lt. Mark Tedrow of the Blue Angels team was on hand, speaking to guests of all ages attending the preview. Tedrow has been flying in total for eight years, but only since September with the Blue Angels team.

“No one ever really knows if they are going to [become] a Blue Angel; it’s more of a goal,” shared Tedrow. “The fact that I belong to the team is a dream come true.” This was his first year flying, and aannouncing, at the Jones Beach air show.

“It’s an incredible place to do an air show,” said Captain Thomas Edelson, public affairs officer for the Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds. The Canadian demo team had performed at the Jones Beach Air Show several years ago and is excited to be back this year to perform for Long Island. The Canadian team performs more than six shows throughout the United States each year. The Snowbirds use nine planes in their showcase. Similar to the Blue Angels, the Snowbirds join the team for two-year rotations.  

Bethpage Federal Credit Union President and Chief Executive Officer Kirk Kordeleski shared why this air show is so important for Long Island, saying, “It’s part of our history, it goes back to the days of Roosevelt Field and certainly to the defense contracting days; aviation history is here.”

Behind the scenes, some may wonder what it takes to pull off such a gigantic event, year after year. Anton Newspapers caught up with Linda Armyn, senior vice president of corporate strategy and government relations of Bethpage Federal Credit Union, whose job is to orchestrate the details of the show.

“It’s a part-time job, all year,” said Armyn. “This air show is a true private-public partnership, everyone works so hard to make it all happen.” She explained the process for planning and organizing such an event; next year’s show planning almost begins next week with a recap and analysis of this year’s event. Then applications and organizing begin in September, followed by inter-agency collaboration at the Air Show Conference that is held in December.