Like countless local kids of a certain generation, Joe Breymeier always looked forward to the flights of fancy that awaited him at the Northeastern Pennsylvania Air Show.
The Old Forge native loved the live demonstrations, as well as the static displays that gave him an up-close look at the fancy gadgets that make a plane go. It only further enhanced his dream of one day becoming a pilot.
It’s funny how things come full circle. This weekend, Breymeier, now a 32-year-old Army helicopter pilot, will be back in the area as a participant at the revived air show, which will take place Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 12 and 13, at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport in Pittston Township.
Tickets to the air show are $20; $15 for military personnel and kids ages 6-12, and free for kids 5 and younger. For additional information, visit the official website: nepairshow.com.
From 1983 to 2000, the air show was among the more popular annual events in NEPA before substantial airport renovations put an end to it. Not surprisingly, the news of its return has excited thousands of area residents.
Over its two days, the event will feature numerous performers, with the Army’s Golden Knights parachute team and the Air Force F-22 Raptor Demo Team serving as the headliners. Also sure to produce a thrill or two will be the Air Force Heritage Flight, Navy F/A-18 Hornet Demo Team, Lee Leet’s RAF Short Tucano, Rob Holland Ultimate Airshows and Greg & Ashley Shelton Wingwalking.
Meanwhile, there will be static displays of numerous types of aircraft, including: Aeronca L-16, Boeing Stearman PT-17, E-2C Hawkeye, MC-130J Commando II, Stinson L-5 Sentine and UH-60 Blackhawk.
Breymeier, a first lieutenant currently stationed with the Army’s 628th Aviation Support Battalion at Fort Indiantown Gap, will be manning a static display spotlighting his aircraft, the CH-47 Chinook – “the largest helicopter in the Army inventory.”
“The static displays are nice because they give the public the chance to go inside and tour the aircraft. And they get to talk to the pilots,” said Breymeier, the son of Joe and Lenette Breymeier.
Breymeier vividly remembers going to the air show back in its ’80s and ’90s heyday with his dad, a former Air Force mechanic.
“My father worked on C-5 planes and they would always be displayed at the air show,” said Breymeier, a graduate of Old Forge High School and Albright College. “I basically got the dream of becoming a pilot at this same air show 15-plus years ago and now, at 32 years old, I’ll have the opportunity to participate and literally look at someone and tell them I was there in your shoes, and encourage them to chase that dream.”
In recent years, Breymeier has participated in numerous air shows. For the military, “it’s good for recruiting and for educating the public,” he said.
Of course, this particular air show carries an extra bit of resonance for Breymeier. He expects a large number of family members and friends to come out and support him this weekend.
“A lot of them haven’t seen the aircraft I fly, so it’ll be nice for me to show them what I fly and all its different bells and whistles,” he said. “It’ll be a nice reunion. I’m looking forward to coming back to support the community.”
If you go What: 2017 Northeastern Pennsylvania Air Show
Where: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport, Pittston Township.
When: Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 12 and 13.
Details: Tickets to the air show are $20; $15 for military personnel and kids ages 6-12; free for kids 5 and younger. For additional information, visit the official website: nepairshow.com.