The Seneca Indians called the valley jo-nis-hi-yuh meaning beautiful valley, and it was the name of a small Native American settlement. Over time the name evolved to Genesse and was applied to the river running through the valley. In 1790, two brothers James and William Wadsworth, purchased land from the Seneca nation, and the village of Geneseo was established. A portion of the village has been designated a National Landmark. Today, the population is around 11,000. Geneseo is generally considered to be a college town, the home of SUNY -Geneseo which has about 5,000 students. Geneseo even has its own airport. Owned by the Wadsworth family, the airport has no commercial flights, a grass runway, and during the summer months is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm. The rest of the year, it is open 3 days a week. It is, however, the home of the National Warplane Museum. While the village of Geneseo does deserve its own photo essay, this one is about the National Warplane Museum and its annual airshow.
National Warplane Museum
Copied from Wikipedia: The National Warplane Museum is a warbird and military history museum currently located on the grounds of the Geneseo Airport in Geneseo, New York. Founded in 1994, the museum restores, flies, and displays vintage military aircraft from the Second World War and Korean War eras. In 1998, after a split developed in the membership with two-thirds of the group wanting to move to a modern airport and grow, the National Warplane Museum moved to the Elmira-Corning Regional Airport near Horseheads, New York. In 2010, the Horseheads museum reinvented itself as the Wings of Eagles Discovery Center. In 2013, the National Warplane Museum name was reacquired by the 1941 Historical Aircraft Group which remained in Geneseo. The museum hosts the annual Geneseo Airshow, billed as the “Greatest Show On Turf.”
- Douglas C-47 “W7” – Restored and airworthy
- Beechcraft C-45 – Restored and airworthy
- Douglas B-23 Dragon – Stored, awaiting restoration
- Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar – Undergoing restoration
- Fokker DVII – (Replica) airworthy
- Antonov An-2 “Natasha” – Undergoing maintenance, on display
- Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star – On display
- North American AT-6 – Undergoing restoration
- Grumman F6F Hellcat (Replica) – On display
- Beechcraft UC-43 Staggerwing – Airworthy
- Aeronca L-16 – Airworthy
- Piper L-21 (Replica) – Airworthy
- YO-55 Ercoupe – Airworthy
- Ryan Navion – Airworthy
- Aero Commander 100 – Airworthy
- Lockheed C-130 Hercules “Saigon Lady” – Undergoing restoration
National Warplane Museum Airshow2023-NWM-AIRSHOW-MAP
I saw a news article about the then-upcoming airshow in an online article. I went two years ago and was a little disappointed, however, in fairness it was while things were just coming out of COVID lockdowns. I decided to grab my camera and head out there for a photo excursion and to enjoy the aircraft. The village and college is built on a slope and in the valley floor is the airport. As I drove down towards the airport, I was surprised by the number of cars that were parked there. I should have done a little more research before I arrived, as they had a “tailgate” entrance fee. The general admission fee is $35 per person, which was a bit high I had thought. However, after seeing some of the flights and walking around. I felt it was worth it. You could bring your own chairs or blankets and sit in a section for GA to watch the show. I did notice one section on the showline where no one was sitting, however, there were many photographers. I will apologize now for the quality of some of my photos. I did use my zoom lens for some of the photographs. However, it is a manual focus, and it was hard to keep some planes in focus. Also, it is time for me to get a new lens as the zooming collard is not reacting right.
There are two other options. One is a reserve seat, that includes a chair in a covered area by the showline. They also have their own bathrooms. The other option is the “tail gate”. The fee depends on the location and ranges from $100 to $150. There are three zones and within each zone spaces are marked off. Each space allows room for your vehicle and chairs or blankets. The fee also includes admission for as many guests as your vehicle can legally hold.
Enjoy the Planes
Too Much Wind
I arrived a little later than I had planned to, so I did not see all the flights. When I did arrive, they were talking over the loudspeakers about W7 and its mission on D-Day 79 years ago (a day short). One of the items mentioned was the accuracy of the pilot of W7 that day and the expertise of the paratroopers. The pilot placed them exactly on target for their release and the paratroopers landed all within close proximity of where they should have been. They were credited with the most accurate jump of the operation.
One of the men in that conversation was from an organization named ROUND CANOPY PARACHUTING TEAM – USA. They do parachute jumps WWII style. They use parachutes of the same design as those used by the paratroops that jumped into D-Day. They had a team loaded into W7 and they were aloft waiting for a go for jump.
However, at the time there were wind gusts that prevented them from jumping. The team also has some members in Europe who will be jumping in D-Day celebrations on the 79th anniversary. That would have been very interesting.
There was a small section with Vietnam and WWII reenactment. The Vietnam era was around, a couple of Vietnam-era planes and had a range of military items from the time. Most I recognized and even used. The first thing that got my attention was the tents that were also ponchos, or where they ponchos that were also tents.
The top photo shows a Mermite container in the background. They were used to bring food to field sites. They did work really well all things considered. They could keep a hot meal hot or cold meal cold for hours. The mess kit was your plate. They also had a few C-Rations. The ones from around Vietnam were basically the same as soldiers in WWII ate. Many would say we ate rations made for WWII. The MRE– Meal Ready to Eat — replaced the C-ration, it was an improvement. Later MREs were better and in fact even edible.
The Saigon lady has an interesting history. As Saigon was falling to the Viet Cong, a pilot “borrowed” the C-130 to fly his family and others out of the country. It was possibly the last plane to escape. The Museum’s webpage has the story. While not my favorite military aircraft, I have more time aboard C-130s than any other aircraft