One of if not the oldest running East Coast airshows, Reading has had a long reputation as one of the finer airshows in the US.
Each year they stack the deck with big name performers and draw huge crowds.
Those same crowds all try to leave at once via a 2 lane road with terrific traffic tie-ups.
There are ways to avoid this.When the show ends few stay to watch the performers and ground display aircraft depart. I used to grab dinner in the airport restaurant and then go watch departures. Because the airport is closed to commercial traffic many do low level fly-bys. One year the display C5A was lined up to scorch the runway when they lost power to an engine and decided to limp home to Delaware instead. You do get to see some of the most unusual aircraft pass you at eye level & high speed.
The other trick is to watch the show from the nearby mountain. The Blue Angels love to hide behind the mountain till they crest it by mere feet and then dive on the airshow. Fantastic place for a camera and there are miles of ridge road to watch from.
Every year in June, the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum transforms one end of the Reading Regional Airport into somewhat of a time machine, taking you back into 1943-1944, both on the home front and on the war front. Thus World War II Weekend is born, as re-enactors come in droves with the fashion of the time, the vehicles of the time, the weapons of the time, the music of that time period, and we can't forget the airplanes, since the airplanes represent a huge part of the show.
World War II Weekend is actually one of the few shows that I will attend this year where I arrived AFTER the gates opened. The gates actually opened at 8 am, and getting to Reading requires a drive that's approximately two hours. It's not a bad drive but its a drive that should really take a little over an hour and a half, if it weren't for the tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the amount of local driving I have to do between the various highways. I did not want to get up at 5 and leave at 6, so I got up at 6:30 and left at 7:15 and arrived on show site at around 9:15. I had chosen to attend the Sunday show, not because of the historical aspect (it was 60 years ago that D-Day occured), but because one airplane that was attending was going to fly that day only.
There were no modern aircraft on display this year, but that was expected considering the size of the aircraft that were in attendance and parked where the modern aircraft would be parked. The Commemorative Air Force brought in several aircraft, representing the various wings that comprise the CAF. The representative aircraft included a C-60 Lodestar, B-24 Liberator Diamond Lil and the B-29 Superfortress Fifi. The Yankee Air Force were represented with a C-47 Skytrain, the B-17G Flying Fortress Yankee Lady, and the B-25 Mitchell Yankee Warrior. The Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation had their C-54E Skymaster, the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum had their P2V-7 Neptune, HH-52, and Fairchild 24G on display, along with their new TBM Avenger and the B-25 Mitchell Briefing Time, who joined the ramp with a third B-25 Mitchell - Panchito. Fighters included the Planes of Fame P-38 Lightning, the AMPHA's FG-1D Corsair Skyboss, P-51D Mustangs Glamorous Gal and Bald Eagle (who was parked on the actual hot ramp with the Cessnas and Pipers), a Hawker Hurricane, Supermarine Spitfire, a Val replica, another TBM Avenger, and an FM-2 Wildcat. No less than eight AT-6/SNJs were on display, with the MAAM's SNJ giving rides on Saturday (it was grounded Sunday due to mechanical problems). Trainers were in abundance, and included PT-17s and their various designations, a pair of BT-13 Valiants, PT-19, PT-23, and two PT-26s. L-birds were also in attendance with about seven various L-birds. A Percival Provost, a Maule, and a pair of Stinson Reliants rounded out the warbird lineup. The CAF's Red Tail P-51C Mustang was supposed to attend, but it was destroyed in an emergency landing the week before World W
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